Shake, Grapple & Roll 2

Grappling & Groundwork Seminar: 7.30pm, Thursday 4th November (Studio 1 downstairs)

We continue our monthly seminars with the second instalment of the grappling and groundwork seminar. Juho waza (soft techniques or grappling) and ne waza (groundwork) are an essential part of the Bushin syllabus. Juho is learn from beginner level while ne waza is generally taught to intermediate level students and upwards, after a firm grounding in stand-up fighting is established.

Many stand-up fighters would often argue “don’t get taken to ground” is the best self defence. While many grapplers would argue that “all fights end up on the floor”. The reality is both are true. In self defence its best not to be on the ground. It’s a very vulnerable position to be in, particularly if you have more than one opponent. Groundwork is extremely effective in MMA cage fighting but far less practical in a bar. You may do well against the guy you’re grappling but there is always a danger his mates can step in and give you a kicking.

However, in 1 to 1 fights, groundwork is absolutely essential. Fights do often end up on the floor and if your opponent is bigger (and slower) than you they may decide to grab you and dump you on your back. Thus it’s vitally important to be able to prevent being taken to ground and, more importantly, know what to do to defend yourself if and when you end up there. The worst situation you can find yourself is on your back with your opponent mounted over you where they can either pound your face or sexually assault you.

In the seminar we shall revise some of the basics of grappling…learn the basic control methods particularly with head clinch work and defence against body/leg tackles. We shall try and spend some more time going through the basic groundwork positions with escapes and a few submissions. The focus, as always, will be on the basics of grappling and groundwork from a self defence standpoint, not traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) rolling. The seminar will draw in elements of BJJ, Japanese Jujutsu, Thai and Filipino boxing put into a context of self defence. Hard work, but great fun so don’t miss it!

Poke in the Eye, Slap in the Face

Thanks to all of you that attended the self defence seminar on Thursday. It was one of the most successful ones I’ve run so far, with a great turnout, lots of useful techniques and damn good fun. I had loads of good feedback.

Something we always practise for self defence basics is our two most important strikes: me uchi (eye strike) and harite uchi (palm strike). me uchi is a devastating strike using loose fingers to whip the back of your fingertips into your attackers eye area. While the body structure is similar to a normal choku zuki (straight punch), the hand action is very different. Not a hit, but more like a whip…similar to a flick by a twirled up wet towel. The result is not a knock out or bruise but a horrible stinging action over the surface of your face. It causes your eyes to water, your nose to run and face to sting like crazy. This creates a perfect set up for a more powerful finish such as kinteki geri (groin kick), kage zuki (hook punch), or even just to turn tail and run away.

harite uchi is another favourite of ours. haru actually means “to stick or pin something”, so a better translation might be “stick-hand strike”. This is something similar to what sumo wrestlers use, with a fast volley of blows. Again, using a similar body action as a punch, but this time you keep an open hand to smash your palm into your opponents face. The hand action should make a load cupping sound from the centre of the palm, rather than a slap from the fingers. Generally the idea is to hit straight down the centre of the face, targeting the jaw (ago), under the nose (jinchu) or tip of the nose (sankaku). If the attackers face is turned, you can target the side of the jaw (mikazuki). The result is not so much to k.o., but more to stun/shock and push the attackers head backwards, putting them off balance. This again allows a more powerful follow up, with the obvious target being the exposed neck or opened up solar plexus. It also works well as a chain attack like, kusari zuki, which you can use to flow into other fast combinations.

When applying more footwork and distancing, particularly for weapons, harite can also be turned into hirate uchi, an open hand slap across the face, which also has a similar effect of stunning your attacker, setting them for more punishment.

These attacks are the bread and butter of self defence. You should not confuse sparring/fighting and self defence. Most fighters like to stick to the routine stuff of jabs, crosses, hooks etc. but the reality is, in self defence situations, punches are not as easy to pull off accurately and often less effective. The simple stuff works best and I know when I’ve used them they work like a charm. So, stay with the basics and flick, stick and slap away.