Also see: Self Defense Has No Rules
Also see: Self Defense Has No Rules
“ . . . no holds or locks on the ground are demonstrated. The reason for this
(a) THIS IS WAR: your object is to kill or dispose of your opponent as
quickly as possible ...
(b) Once on the ground, you are more vulnerable to attack ...
... It is, therefor, obvious that you should concentrate on remaining on your
--William Ewart Fairbairn ( from GET TOUGH!/ALL-IN FIGHTING)
WILLIAM E, Fairbairn (AKA “Dangerous Dan”, “The Shanghai Buster”, and
“The Deacon”) should need no introduction to readers of this Monograph.
Suffice it to say that Fairbairn was likely the single greatest authority on hand-to-
hand close combat and personal defense skills with and without hand-held
weapons of the 20th century. He was the most influential mentor of Rex
Applegate (himself a legend), and was the most prestigious, sought-after, and
influential close combat trainer throughout the Allied Forces of world war two.
The Commandos, the secret agents of England’s wartime Special Operations
Executive and of America’s Office of Strategic Services, and special agents of the
FBI all learned Fairbairn’s special system of mayhem. Originally named
“Defendu” when Fairbairn was Assistant Commissioner of the Shanghai
Municipal Police, and as “Officer in Charge of Musketry” he developed an all-
practical, ju-jutsu-based unarmed fighting method, Fairbairn drastically modified
his art for wartime application. Simply referred to as “The Fairbairn System”
during WWII, the wartime approach — like Defendu — rejected all
groundgrappling and competition type moves. Fairbairn was aggressively fanatical
about never using groundgrappling in actual hand-to-hand combat.
REX APPLEGATE (LEFT) WROTE: “Avoid, if at all possible, going to the
ground with your adversary.” (from Kill Or Get Killed)
Rex Applegate, in the opinion of some (this writer is one of them) actually
came to eventually surpass Fairbairn, who was Applegate’s mentor. The
Classic Kill Or Get Killed — which has been a hands-down authoritative
manual since its first 1943 edition — details some of the finest doctrine in
close combat ever discovered or described. Today, in 2008, the book
continues to be a best-seller among knowledgeable combat and defense
The writer was a close friend and personal associate of Applegate’s for more
than 25 years, and was also a student of this incredible giant in the close
combat field. In a personal memo to this writer, Applegate wrote, regarding
ground fighting and the view of it that the WWII trainers had when
preparing men for the real thing: “We just told them not to do it.”. In
personal discussions with Col. Applegate, he expressed amazement at the fact
that anyone would even consider groundgrappling and/or competition
“fighting” to constitute any kind of preparation for real combat.
ANTHONY J. DREXEL BIDDLE. Colonel Biddle (trainer of U.S. Marines
during the second world war) made his view of groundfighting evident by his
conspicuous lack of concern over — or even mention of — the phenomenon.
Biddle’s protégé, John Styers (famous author of the USMC “bible” of close
combat, Cold Steel) similarly disdained any use of groundwork (save kicking
or stomping a downed enemy). Charlie Nelson, one of the writer’s own
beloved teachers, was Styers’ bunkmate in WWII, and was also a student of
Biddle. Charlie thought groundfighting was anathema to effective and
reliable real combat efficiency. “Stay on your feet,” he’d snap.
Begala at the right) were top trainers for U.S. Naval Aviators in WWII. They
developed a three tiered program in hand-to-hand combat that was
outstanding and brutally effective. Their program taught students to defend
from the ground if thrown or if the fell, and then get the hell up! And kick
the enemy’s brains out, if they got the enemy on the ground. Never, ever
ground grapple! Originals of HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT (below) are
Kawaishi was an 8th degree black belt in Kodokan judo. He not only
brought the Japanese art as developed by Jigoro Kano to France, and
founded the French Judo Federation; he also developed and taught a terrific
and extremely deadly form of modernized ju-jutsu — close combat/self-
defense. It was unlike the classical-traditional or esthetic ju-jutsu which is
largely what is taught in the United States, Canada, and Europe today.
Kawaishi’s system — which he describes and outlines in his classic, My
Method Of Self-Defence (long out of print) — contains truly excellent
material. From what this writer can tell from analyzing Kawaishi’s material
he borrowed heavily from the knifework Wes Brown and Joe Begala
described and illustrated in the U.S. Naval Institute’s classic Hand-To-Hand
Combat (a 1943 wartime text for our military). Kawaishi discarded all
groundgrappling completely, since his sole concern — insofar as self-defense
was involved — was practicality and realism.
Finally . . . while we have no photograph of him, there is “Pat” Dermot
O’Neill, fabled hand-to-hand combat teacher for the Canadian/American
First Special Service Force (the “Devil’s Brigade”). O’Neill had been a
detective with the Shanghai Municipal Police Department, and had learned
Defendu directly under Fairbairn. Fairbairn,
a 2nd degree black belt, was of junior rank to O’Neill (who held a 5th degree
black belt) — but that only pertained to the judo/ju-jutsu, not to real world
unarmed and hand-to-hand combat! In that, Fairbairn was the senior
O’Neill was the highest ranking Caucasian judo black belt in the world in
the 1940’s. He had garnered his incredible grading by beating Japanese
champions. He lived in Japan prior to WWII. O’Neill’s forte — his most
powerful ability! — was in groundgrappling. When tasked with the
formulation of a battlefield combat system for the commandos of the 1stSSF
O’Neill chucked the groundfighting and focused exclusively on basic Chinese
foot fighting (cheena-adi) which he had picked up elements of — along with
kempo — while in Shanghai. This he blended with some basic Defendu/ju-
jutsu, to create the “O’Neill System”. The “Forcemen” whom he trained
were among the most formidable warriors of WWII.
NOW here are some interesting and fascinating points to observe:
Fairbairn was a judo/ju-jutsu trained man, highly experienced in throwing,
holding, and grappling groundwork.
Biddle was a ju-jutsu man — thoroughly versed in grappling an mat fighting.
Brown and Begala were both catch-as-catch-can wrestlers, with the obvious heavy
orientation in mat fighting and ground-grappling that this suggests.
Kawaishi was a judo/ju-jutsu man — as thoroughly oriented in groundgrappling
and matwork as anyone on earth.
O’Neill was a premier judo man whose specialty, groundfighting, saw him
defeating Japanese champions and literally beating “all comers” who wished to
have a go at him on the mat.
Every single one of those incomparable masters of practical, all-in fighting and
close combat was PRIMARILY A GRAPPLER/GROUNDFIGHTER in his own
fundamental and experiential orientation; yet, when pressed to develop methods
for actual combat, EACH ONE DISCARDED GROUNDGRAPPLING and
taught a repertoire of vicious, direct skills BASED UPON BLOWS of the hands
feet, elbows, head, knees, and fingers! Every single one.
Rex Applegate, whose system of close combat does, according to the views of
many (including this writer) surpass all of the other close combat and hand-to-
hand methods, is the result of NO grappling/groundfighting background at all!
He learned the British commando methods, the Fairbairn system, and had been a
brawler. He also disdained groundfighting as sport, and knew that such was
nonsense when preparing for serious hand-to-hand battle. Without the
background in grappling/groundwork to “overcome” when considering how to
handle actual hand-to-hand engagements, Applegate absorbed the cream of what
Fairbairn taught, and threw in some of his own rough-and-tumble fighting savvy
to produce a most formidable method for no-nonsense combat.
We thought that readers might find that preliminary exposure to the thinking
and teaching of real world close combat experts — warfighting experts — on the
subject of groundfighting interesting.
Now let us proceed to make our case in our words.
Muddled Thinking . . . And A False Premise
THE primary reason why the groundgrappling myth took root in the United
States is because the venue in which groundgrappling tends to predominate — ie
competition — is both extraordinarily popular and commonly misunderstood by
its devotees to be virtually synonymous with combat. Thus, when groundgrapplers
appear to win almost every single time they enter into “open competition” (vis a
vis the UFC, and/or similar events) with those using other methods of fighting,
the assumption is among the ignorant that therefore groundgrappling is the sine
qua non of hand-to-hand combat.
But it’s a serious myth and misconception. First of all, all fights do not
“inevitably end up on the ground” as the proponents of groundgrappling-as-hand-
to-hand-combat insist. What is frequently true is that many contests between
grapplers and hitters end up on the ground, because sporting contests favor
grappling and groundwork finishing actions. It is possible to use a much greater
quantity of techniques that the grappling arts teach, in a sporting context, than it is
possible to use percussionary techniques outside predicaments of lethal battle.
Remember: Despite the claim that UFC and similar events have “no rules”, the
truth is that not only are there numerous rules, but those rules forbid precisely
those striking and related techniques that close combat and self-defense
demand be reflexively employed in actual battle. The reader can verify this
easily by simply checking and finding out for himself what the rules of these so-
called “no rules” events compel their entrants to abide by. Just to mention a few
• No eye gouging
• No ear-ripping
• No biting
• No seizing or kicking the testicles
• No hair pulling
• No thumb tearing at the mouth or nostril
There is more, but that should be sufficient to prove to any honest person that
contests — in which there are (and must be) rules — bear no relation to combat,
where rules simply do not apply.
“But look at how tough and well-conditioned and aggressive those UFC fighters
are!” one might say. “Surely those physical specimens, even using only the
aggressive sporting moves that they compete with, could make quick work of a
real opponent in a fight.”
Why, yes, that’s true. But it is no less true of pro-wrestlers (who are entertainers,
primarily), boxers, catch-as-catch can wrestlers, judo men, kick boxers, classical-
traditional karate exponents, and many football players. That does not per se prove
that what the sportsmen use is the “best technique” for real combat. It simply
proves that young, strong, aggressive combative sportsmen can generally handle
punks and troublemakers who attack them. What else is new? The great wrestler
and judo master Gene LeBell always made the point, when teaching and writing
about sport judo in the 1960’s, that such skills could be adapted to emergencies, if
One validates combat skills by reference to their performance and record in
combat. Real combat, not controlled, restricted, sporting “combat”.
Do not fall for the myth that “all fights go to the ground”. They do not. And, be
careful that you avoid falling for its corollary: “therefore you must emphasize
groundgrappling in order to prepare for actual physical violence, and you should
build your repertoire around the strategy of taking your man to the ground and
pinning him or grappling with him, there”. Utter, complete nonsense.
Now let us examine the
Specific And Obvious Differences Between Combat And Contest
That Invalidate The Groundgrappling Theory
WE shall take the points one by one:—
1. VIOLENT OFFENDERS AND MILITARY OPPONENTS DO NOT
WANT TO “GO TO THE GROUND WITH THEIR ADVERSARIES”.
WHERE AND WHEN A COMBATIVE ENGAGEMENT DOES END UP ON
THE GROUND IT IS UNINTENDED (EXCEPT IN THE POPULAR
CONTESTS AND “CHALLENGE” EVENTS, WHERE ENTRANTS
UTILIZE PARTICULAR METHODS AND SYSTEMS IN WHICH
GROUNDFIGHTING IS THEIR FORTE.
What is a mugger or street assailant or troublemaker aiming to do? Obviously, he
is looking to injure, possibly kill (or rob, rape, beat, torment, etc.) his intended
victim, and then get away. Violent offenders may frequently wish to drop their
victims to the ground, but they themselves most certainly do not want to spend
time wrestling around with them. What violent criminals will do is either hope
that their victims will be out and unconscious when they hit the ground, or they
(ie the criminals) will stomp and kick their victims, after they have caused those
victims to fall to the ground as a result of being knocked down (via punches,
kicks, blows with a club, knife wound, or bullet wound, etc. and so on). Pinning
or going for submission holds is for the sporting arena. Violent criminals are not
interested in “winning a match”. They want to strike fast, achieve their objective,
and then get away.
Even in cases where and when violent criminals seize or grab hold of their victims
(often when assaulting females), their objective is hardly to grapple and pin their
victim. Nor is it sane to imagine that a fragile female could — in heels and a skirt,
carrying a handbag — “slam dunk” some abductor or would-be rapist via
groundgrappling skills in response to her attacker’s grabbing her. She needs other
kinds of skills! And it appears rather foolish to pretend that such isn’t the case.
Soldiers and marines may be instructed today (Heaven help them!) in the popular
groundgrappling methods, but that which they will need to confront on the field
of battle will not be best dealt with by resorting to such skills, should they ever
need to face the moment of truth. Remember that we already know (it is not a
matter of “opinion” or of “conjecture”) that which happens in military hand-to-
hand combat engagements. The entire matter has been documented, studied,
analyzed, wrung out thoroughly, and appropriate methods THAT ULTIMATELY
PROVED THEMSELVES TO BE CORRECT IN ACTUAL WARFARE when
put to the test, have been developed. They are most emphatically not the methods
we observe winning in the various challenge events today.
2. BLOWS ARE SUPERIOR TO GRAPPLING ACTIONS IN REAL
First of all, blows are simpler than holds and throws. They therefore may be
applied more speedily. Whenever endeavoring to apply any form of hold or
throw, one leaves oneself open to attack. This is not true when applying good
combat blows. In fact, when one correctly employs the blows of unarmed combat,
the process of applying them offers a built-in degree of tactical “defense” for the
The argument that expert karate practitioners are often defeated when confronting
grapplers in the challenge events is irrelevant. First, because the karate expert is
generally “expert” in sporting-competitive moves. He uses punches (much like a
boxer), and he uses the utterly useless and completely impractical high and fancy
kicks of contest karate or kick boxing. Second, because those blows which are
appropriate to and effective in hand-to-hand combat are forbidden in the “all out
contests”. No finger attacks to the eyes. No biting. No kicking the testicles or
stomping the knees. No blows to the carotid artery or throat area. Etcetera. No
chinjabs. No gouges. Very limited elbow usage. And so on. Grapplers tend to
prevail in contests because contests barely limit the grapplers at all in regard to
what in their repertoires they may utilize against their opponents. On the other
hand, the “hitters” are completely hamstrung.
Second, blows are superior in combat because — upon impact — they at least
distract the recipient. Holding or seizing, on the other hand, alerts the individual
and often triggers a vicious retaliatory response (forbidden in the contests). When
a person is struck hard with virtually any of the proven blows of unarmed combat
his conscious focus is, for at least a second or two, often longer, disoriented. The
blows of unarmed combat are whipped into an adversary without warning — not
from a “fighting” stance, or after an agreed upon preparatory “setting oneself to
fight”, by squaring off. When unarmed combat blows land well to the right
targets, there is usually little problem thereafter with dispatching the enemy at
(As an interesting and somewhat amusing aside, we recall observing one of the top
Brazilian groundgrapplers in a filmed contest, years ago. Oddly enough, this
fellow opened the action every single time with a quick, distracting low kick to
his adversary’s shin. Then he closed in and the grappling match was “on”. Why
not just break the knee to begin with; or at least follow up by breaking the knee,
after the initial kick lands? Yes, of course, their thing is SPORT, and no vicious,
deliberate leg breaking kicks and maiming followups are allowed. But that is our
Third, blows are crucial against: multiple attackers, and weapon attacks. And
that brings us to the next two points.
3. THERE IS NO MULTIPLE ATTACKER THREAT IN ANY MATCH
EVENT. AND IT MUST BE OBVIOUS AND CLEAR THAT WRESTLING
AROUND ON THE GROUND WITH TWO OR MORE ATTACKERS IS
We once read an opinion authored by one of the more famous of the
groundgrappling advocates in a column he wrote for a well known martial arts
magazine. In response to a reader inquiry about multiple attackers, this “expert”
said that defense against more than one attacker is impossible.
The hell it is.
Now defense against more than one attacker certainly is impossible, we readily
concede (even proclaim!), if one attempts match fighting and groundgrappling
techniques against them. However, if and when one draws upon sound unarmed
combat skills, defending against two or more men is possible, indeed. We have
had students do it. Mark Bryans has had students do it. And there are lots of
instances when it has been done in the past! Sergeant M.G. Harvey of the British
Army wrote a description in a book he wrote on judo many years ago, of how a
commando — unarmed! — overcame two enemy soldiers, armed with
submachineguns, when he found himself confronting them in the desert! Theodore
Shozo Kuwashima, one of the Kodokan’s top black belts back in the early 1900’s,
and one of the great transmitters of judo doctrine to the West, made quick work of
two punks when, in Chicago, they accosted him when he was walking down the
street. The late combat karate master John Kuhl dispatched three street scum who
attacked him on his way home in NYC, once. Defense against more than one
attacker is possible. And, what is very important, learning how to do it is vital,
since most real world attacks involve more than a single assailant!
4. GRAPPLING WITH A WEAPON BEARING ASSAILANT IS TOO
DANGEROUS. BLOWS MUST BE EMPLOYED AGAINST ANY ARMED
ENEMY. WHAT’S MORE: ARMED ATTACK IS COMMON, NOT
UNUSUAL, AND IT BEHOOVES ANYONE TRAINING FOR SELF-
DEFENSE TO BEAR THAT ALWAYS IN MIND. ONE NEED NEVER FEAR
AN OPPONENT PULLING A KNIFE OR A GUN IN ANY MATCH EVENT.
IT IS ALMOST A FOREGONE CONCLUSION THAT MOST VIOLENT
OFFENDERS WILL BE ARMED, IN THE REAL WORLD.
Forgetting for a moment entirely about the groundgrapplers, we wish to point out
that even much of the more practical ju-jutsu doctrine that is widely taught is
little more than suicidal insofar as weapon countering is concerned. All too often
so-called “disarming” is taught with the absurd assumption that one will not
encounter immediate and fierce resistance from the armed adversary’s other hand,
or/and from his feet and legs, from his elbows, and from possible head butting! It
is instead assumed that the defender need only evade or block the attacker’s initial
action, and then apply some form of wrist or armlock, perhaps coupled with a
throw. No thought is given to the attacker being a MURDERER — a person who
is after the defender’s life! He will not stand still and wait while the defender
deftly maneuvers him into a pain compliance hold, or some elaborate throw. First,
grappling with an armed enemy is a mistake. Second, going to the ground with
him while grappling for a submission hold amounts to sheer lunacy. Anyone who
believes that this sort of thing can realistically be done in an actual situation of
armed attack, has rocks in his head.
Competition of any kind does not address what to do in an armed attack (ie and
that is — avoid the initial danger posed by the weapon, and then KILL the
weapon-bearing enemy). Grappling is to be avoided.
Smashing into the armed aggressor’s throat, testicles, eyes, knees, or bridge of
nose, and then pounding him relentlessly and savagely until he is unconscious and
incapable of movement MIGHT enable you to defend yourself successfully
against him. Going for a pin or a submission hold will only get you killed.
5. NEITHER COMPETITIVE MATCH EVENTS NOR
GROUNDGRAPPLING MAKES THE SLIGHTEST SENSE AS A MEANS
OF PREPARATION FOR SELF-DEFENSE FOR ELDERLY OR FEMALE
OR HANDICAPPED, OR OTHERWISE CHALLENGED ACTUAL OR
POTENTIAL VICTIMS OF ASSAULT.
We read some years ago that the patriarch of the Gracie family is retired from
competition. Of course he is! At the Kodokan Judo Institute groundfighting is
reserved solely for the younger, stronger judoka, as is shiai. We absolutely
LOVED the brilliant response that the great judo master Gene LeBell sent to the
Gracies, upon receiving one of their “challenges”. LeBell, a contemporary of the
senior Gracie, accepted the Gracie challenge — quite properly on the condition
that he (Le Bell) fight the senior Gracie! Hardly surprising (at least to us) the
Gracies never responded to Mr. Le Bell’s letter of acceptance. For whatever it
may be worth, by the way, it is our personal opinion that Le Bell would have
not had much trouble defeating the Gracie patriarch. We even suspect that Gene
Le Bell, despite his age, might well have been able to defeat one of the younger
Gracies. We are certain, however, that in any actual anything-goes hand-to-hand
engagement, Gene Le Bell would defeat any one of the Gracies . . . from their
patriarch on down. This is of course our personal opinion, and in fact we do not
think that Gene Le Bell’s dignity, professionalism, and level of solid self-
confidence would permit him to ever stoop to accepting any sort of “challenge”
from anyone, ever. What the hell does Le Bell have to prove? He is for REAL!
(FYI: One senior whom everyone professionally involved in the martial arts
knows, Jon Bluming [“The Beast of Amsterdam”], has trained a gentleman by the
name of Chris Dolman. Virtually every attempt by Dolman [or Bluming] to
arrange for Mr. Dolman to fight the Gracies has, to our knowledge, received no
reply. Mr. Dolman is willing to fight anyone. Thus far he has never been
defeated. We thought readers might like to know.)
Age has plenty to do with what one’s body can and cannot be realistically
prepared to do in hand-to-hand combat. Seniors, who are often targeted for attack,
need real world self-defense training. Slam-banging around in the “octagon”
won’t give them what they require; nor will it work for females, or for the
handicapped or otherwise physically challenged.
6. ATTACKS FROM BEHIND MUST BE ANALYZED, AND
COUNTERACTIONS TO THEM MUST BE DEVELOPED IN EVERY
SELF-DEFENSE STUDENT AND HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT PUPIL.
BUT ATTACKS FROM BEHIND DO NOT OCCUR IN SPORTING
CONTESTS, AND NO AMOUNT OF MATCH FIGHTING PREPARES
YOU FOR THEM.
This is one of the many shortcomings that exists in the “competition as combat”
camp. The need to develop fast, furious, and destructive reactions to a sudden
attack from behind should be obvious to anyone concerned about personal
protection. It does not take a great deal of experience or training to appreciate
that, whenever possible, a dangerous assailant will try to make his onslaught from
behind his victim. Attacks from behind constitute one of the three categories of
physical attack that must always be regarded as deadly — regardless of the level
of skill possessed by the intended victim. (Weapon attacks, and multiple assailant
attacks are the other two categories, for your information).
The assumption that physical violence will — ipso facto — take place with a face-
off and the assumption of a “fighting stance” is ridiculous. Mutual combat is
illegal! (Except in a sporting venue). Besides, any trained combatives expert will
do everything possible to avoid violence. The last thing that any sane person does
is agree to get into a fight with someone. Yet, it is this particular strategy that the
competition-as-combat crowd advocates by implication, when they suggest that
the way they do things is the way to ready oneself for hand-to-hand combat.
7. CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENTS IN WHICH ACTUAL HAND-TO-
HAND BATTLES AND EMERGENCY SELF-DEFENSE SITUATIONS
ERUPT. IN OFFICES, IN HALLWAYS, PARKING LOTS, STREETS,
STORES, RESTAURANTS, PARKS, AND SO ON. THESE
ENVIRONMENTS PROHIBIT GROUNDGRAPPLING STRATEGIES AND
TECHNIQUES — OFTEN MAKING THE ACT OF GOING TO THE
GROUND AS HAZARDOUS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL
GROUNDGRAPPLER AS FOR HIS ADVERSARY.
Groundgrappling requires a MAT, and a CLEARED AREA, or it becomes
suicidally hazardous to attempt to undertake such action.
Consider how you would employ groundgrappling if you were ambushed on a
stairway! Clearly — in the real world, and in real combat — competitive
“fighting skills” and most especially groundgrappling is absurd.
8. SIZE AND STRENGTH MATTER ENORMOUSLY IN ANY SITUATION
WHERE TWO COMBATANTS END UP IN A FLOOR FIGHTING
BATTLE. THIS IS NOT GENERALLY APPRECIATED, AND WHILE SIZE
AND STRENGTH ALWAYS CONSTITUTE AN ADVANTAGE IN ANY
KIND OF PHYSICAL BATTLE, WHEN ON THE GROUND AND
WRESTLING, THE STRONGER, HEAVIER MAN HAS AN ENORMOUS
EDGE, FAR BEYOND WHATEVER ADVANTAGE HIS SIZE AND
STRENGTH MIGHT HAVE GIVEN HIM IN STANDING COMBAT.
Man’s natural state is standing on both his feet, not rolling around on the ground.
The “brute strength and size” advantage that an adversary has in any physical
conflict is greatly enhanced when the normal environment, in which natural skills
may be employed to greatest effect, is gone. When combatants clash in a venue
where they are able to call upon acquired techniques suitable to their physiology
(ie blows), then the one who is more skilled in those techniques can even (or even
better) the odds against himself that a larger, stronger adversary would normally
possess. But on the ground, underwater, or in any other conceivable environment
where the human body’s propensities to function are given an extraordinary
challenge that — in addition to the task of fighting — must be met via unusual
and abnormal orientation and abilities, the larger, stronger individual has a great
advantage — even if he is not aware that he has one.
Blows come most naturally to the human being who is enraged and who is
aggressively committed to damaging and dispatching another person. Note that
many of the grappling techniques of ju-jutsu clearly derive from compensatory
actions developed for use following a blow, or when an attempted blow fails.
Uchi-mata (the inner thigh throw) is an excellent example. This throw came about
as a result of either failing to employ some form of hip or leg throw (o-goshi, or
tai-otoshi, perhaps), or after a heel kick to the testicles failed. The right course in
the evolution of hand-to-hand combat was the percussionary course. Note that
karate, without question, is the much more destructive and efficient of the two
most general “types” of fighting arts (judo types,and karate types). We are not
now speaking of the sporting or of the competitive venue, but rather of the
It is certainly true that, while hitting and pounding appears to be instinctive in
humans (notice how a baby in a crib or carriage clenches its fists and strikes out
when angry), hitting correctly and effectively is a skill and an art that needs to be
developed and learned. This is why the many arts of karate have come about, and
how and why the WWII systems espoused almost exclusively the BLOWS that are
effectively delivered by the numerous natural weapons of the body for wartime,
serious, man-to-man fighting.
Seize a much larger and stronger man’s clothing or limb and attempt a throw, and
you had better be lightning fast, perfectly skilled, and lucky. If that man smashes
you in the face, knees you, or rams his fingers into your eyes, you have had it!
Suddenly lash out with a stomp kick to that same man’s knee and, even if you fail
to break it, you’ll have set him up for effective followup, and will stand a chance
of defeating his size and strength advantage.
Go to the ground with a larger stronger man deliberately, and you are a fool. If
you unintentionally end up of the ground with a larger and stronger man and then
resort to proper combat actions, instead of groundgrappling, you stand a chance
of winning the battle. And that brings us to the next point ............
9. THE ACTUAL AND WORKABLE UNARMED COMBAT TECHNIQUES
THAT SHOULD BE MASTERED FOR GROUNDWORK IF THE
COMBATANT SHOULD UNAVOIDABLY GO TO THE GROUND, HAVE
NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT WHICH IS EMPLOYED IN ANY OF THE
Realistically, what should you do if you are ever taken to the ground or otherwise
find yourself for whatever reason in a groundfighting predicament? Here, in a
nutshell, is unarmed combat for that type of predicament:—
• Bite — powerfully and deeply into any exposed and expedient open target at the
moment. Sink your teeth in and try mightily to bite a chunk out of the body of the
• And while biting reach for the testicles, the eyes, or the throat —
simultaneously crushing/gouging/clawing as you continue to bite! Then,
• Arise and kick your enemy’s head in, stomp on his throat, face, knees, ribs,
spine, kidneys, etc. then (if a life or death battle) apply the bronco kick (per
Fairbairn), which involves leaping into the air above the disabled attacker and
driving both heels into him. In addition always,
• Grab any stick, piece of glass, rock, or object at hand and rip or jab the attacker
in whatever exposed boy part offers. You’d like to get the eyes or throat. If in any
ground situation you can do so, use an expedient weapon at hand immediately.
Biting is always a “first action” in this predicament because it immediately forces
an opponent to notice and to focus upon the pain. It momentarily blocks off his
ability to concentrate on applying a hold, and makes his entire focus shift to the
point of pain. This gives you a moment to attack, and it clears the way for the
Obviously no one can or should use such foul methods in anything but a
dangerous self-defense or military combat emergency. However, in such an
emergency, one should be programmed to use these techniques instinctively.
If one becomes conditioned to “wrestle” when on the ground with an adversary,
and if one attempts to do so in an actual combat engagement, one just might not
get the opportunity to “adjust” in time to save his life.
Always bear in mind: In combat, the object is always to regain one’s standing
position as soon as possible; not to remain on the ground with an enemy and
struggle to finish the encounter with any kind of immobilization or submission
hold. If there is more than one opponent to contend with and you do not get to
your feet, expect the second adversary to kick your brains out while you grapple
with the first.
Postscript: There may be occasions — rarely — when strangle or chokeholds may
be employed to good effect on the ground. The drawback to the use of these (like
any) holds, is that they take a relatively high degree of skill and time to apply,
compared to the techniques described above. However, having one or two
effective strangulation methods under your belt is not an altogether bad idea.
10. THE COMPETITIVE AND MATCH-ORIENTED
GROUNDGRAPPLING MANEUVERS ASSUME THAT ONE WILL FIND
ONESELF ON THE MAT — OR SEND ONE’S ADVERSARY TO THE
MAT — IN SUCH A MANNER THAT THERE WILL BE A POSSIBILITY
OF AGGRESSIVE FIGHTING THEREAFTER. HOWEVER, WHEN
ACTUAL STREET THUGS SUCCEED IN KNOCKING SOMEONE TO
THE GROUND, THAT PERSON IS OFTEN DISABLED OR RENDERED
UNCONSCIOUS PRIOR TO OR DURING THE FALL. ALSO — THOSE
THROWS AND TAKE DOWNS THAT WE USE IN REAL UNARMED
COMBAT DO NOT GIVE THE RECIPIENT ANY OPPORTUNITY TO
RETAIN HIS WHEREWITHAL AND FIGHT BACK, AFTER HE HITS
THE DECK. HE IS KAPUT, MORE OFTEN THAN NOT.
Combat throws (like the chinjab and leg trip, the reverse hip throw, the head-twist
takedown, the flying mare, etc.) can easily knock out or kill, in and of themselves.
They are neither taught nor utilized as “preparatory actions” or setups for floor
grappling. Such throws and takedowns that do not inflict immediate injury have
no place in hand-to-hand combat.
The properly trained defender who “goes to the ground” will either find that such
has occurred inadvertently, or he will likely be taken off guard and smashed with
a punch or a club that knocks him down and out — with little retaliatory
capability possible to him, thereafter. Otherwise, it is unlikely that an attacker will
be able to take him to the ground, and he will certainly not (if he has been
properly trained for combat) decide or choose to go to the ground.
The possibility of the defender ending up on the ground and needing to contend
with a standing assailant exists, and we have movements for use in such
circumstances, in unarmed combat. But these are not sporting or competitive
The ground is where the loser ends up in an actual hand-to-hand battle, most of
11. THE DEMEANOR EVIDENT IN MANY OF THE COMPETITION-
ORIENTED GROUNDGRAPPLING, “ANYTHING GOES MATCH
CHAMPIONS” IS OFTEN QUITE OFFENSIVE AND DOWNRIGHT
DESPICABLE; ANATHEMA TO THE ATTITUDE OF THE GENUINE
WARRIOR. ALTHOUGH IT MAY BE TRUE THAT THERE ARE SOME
EXCEPTIONS, WE HAVE NOT MET ANY; AND REPORTS WE HAVE
RECEIVED FROM OTHERS CONFIRMS THAT THEY HAVE
ENCOUNTERED — AND OBSERVED — A SIMILAR PHENOMENON.
Combat veterans tend to avoid, rather than encourage or provoke, violence. The
recent crop of challenge event fighters embarrass themselves with their scowling,
grunting, belligerent, in-your-face, muscle-flexing demeanors. This is not the sign
of the warrior . . . it is the sign of the adolescent-minded brawling “toughguy”;
it is the sign of the outlaw biker, the gang banger, etc. In other words, the entire
atmosphere of this “challenge event” nonsense virtually reeks of infantilism,
diminished intellects, rowdiness, boisterous contemptibility, chip-on-the-
shoulderism, and just about every other UNDESIRABLE personal character trait
that warriors eschew.
While this particular point may not per se demonstrate that the techniques of
competitive challenge fighting and groundgrappling fail to prepare a man for real
world self-defense, they certainly do go to suggest that such a training and
application venue certainly might be regarded as counterproductive in every
conceivable way . . . to include preparing trainees for life in civilized society. This
last, by the way, is something that, once again, genuine warrior training does a
fine job of accomplishing, when properly undertaken and followed.
We recall watching a videotape that was sent to us some years ago in which one of
the top groundgrapplers deliberately approached and started a fight with another
individual on a beach (presumably, somewhere in Latin America, where this sort
of adolescent, uncivilized conduct is regarded as acceptable). Why? Because the
individual had made disparaging remarks about this noted ju-jutsu grappler’s art.
Now how the hell is that for you!? A well known competitor (not in one of the
legitimate judo, boxing, karate, kickboxing, or wrestling arts, but in this wonderful
“system” that has been brought to us by the great masters from South America;
land of machismo) starts a fight with someone!
We used to see incidents like this — though not pertaining to martial arts —
among eight, nine, and ten year old boys in the schoolyard, when we were a child.
One of the first lessons we recall learning — universally, from every single martial
arts expert we ever knew, read the words of, or listened to — is that you never
look for trouble, start fights, fight over words, or get into any sort of physical
conflict unless it comes to you, and is unavoidable.
Draw your own conclusions about the “character training” and “discipline” that is
provided in schools where individuals who relish fighting and who enjoy acting
like asses “teach” the particular version of “ju-jutsu” (actually, more judo-like,
when you analyze what they do) that “developed” them! Is this the kind of
antisocial, backward, uncivilized conduct that we wish to have instilled through
martial arts training? If so, then expect psychopaths, low-IQ punks, outlaws, and
the usual dregs of society to be the practitioners and purveyors.
Again: We have nothing but respect and admiration for good sportsmen who love
to enter and participate in judo, karate, boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, and kung fu
matches, and who garner awards for their victories, therein. However, an activity
that promotes violence and the arrogant, chip-on-the-shoulderism one would
expect to find in sleazy bars, has no place in American (or any civilized or semi-
civilized) society. We do not teach or practice competitive arts; we teach combat
and self-defense. However, even though ferociously brutal violence is certainly a
a part of that which we teach, we MOST EMPHATICALLY DO NOT TEACH,
ADVOCATE, OR PRACTICE ANYTHING RESEMBLING SUCH ACTIONS
AS “COMPETITION” OR AS “SPORT”. Nor do we advocate brutality and
violence, save when unavoidable in legitimate self-defense or in war. We submit
that the recent attempt to introduce “brutal contests” in which sufficient “rules”
have been established to eliminate the activity’s combat relevance is mandated,
while permitting the activity to be pointlessly hazardous and reckless to cause
serious injuries and to risk needless accidents, is STUPID.
This is, admittedly, our opinion, and we do not wish to see laws forbidding UFC,
MMA, or other “challenge” events. We simply wish to be able to voice our
opinion, and hopefully educate those who wish to train in real close combat and
self-defense skills, before they undertake useless training that might get them
injured more severely than they would likely be injured in a street attack! Or — in
some instances — we might encourage those who need and want close combat and
defense training to seek it out rather than abandon their search for a school after
observing such activities, and hearing their proponents espouse them as “combat”
or “defense” arts.
12. THE MINDSET, ATTITUDE, AND RELEVANT PSYCHOLOGICAL
FACTORS IN SPORT AND IN COMBAT ARE DIAMETRICALLY
OPPOSITE. IT IS NOT TRUE THAT “MENTAL CONDITIONING” AND
TACTICAL TRAINING FOR SPORT AND FOR COMBAT ARE SIMILAR.
There is such a thing as the “COMBAT MINDSET”.
There is also such a thing as the “WINNING MINDSET”.
The combat mindset is necessary and appropriate in dangerous self-defense
emergencies, and in war. The winning mindset is necessary and appropriate in a
competitive sporting venue. Neither form of mindset is interchangeable with the
other; nor is it possible to work on the inculcation of both at the same time.
Only violent psychopaths and other insane people enjoy unleashing violence and
causing harm to others who have done nothing to warrant being devastated. In
fact, it constitutes a major undertaking to mentally “set” a statistically average,
decent human being who is a predominantly reasonable, nonviolent, responsible,
and respectfully mature adult, so that he possesses the requisite combat mindset
that he needs, so that he can — in any emergency that requires it — go after a
dangerous, determined enemy, and unhesitantly unleash whatever degree of force
and violence is required to stop that enemy, decisively. A combat mindset
prepares a man to knockout, maim, or kill an enemy when it is morally and
legally justifiable and necessary to do so.
The proper attitude of the competitor, on the other hand, is 180-degrees at
variance with that which constitutes the proper attitude of the combatant.
Sportsmen enjoy the innocent ego boost of defeating others in a controlled,
“sanitized” environment. Sportsmen also generally get along quite well with those
with whom they “fight” the hardest. (Read up on the history of Joe Louis and Max
Schmeling for one of many genuinely touching examples of this phenomenon in
history). Sportsmen enjoy the thrill of competition — the “high” — and good for
The competitive arena is (or certainly ought to be) a place where hard fought
contests can take place in relative safety, and with fellowship — rather than with
rage or hatred — permeating the entrants’ individual spirit, and the arena’s entire
atmosphere. In short, everything about the attitude attendant sport and
competition is — ideally, and with the admitted and unfortunate exceptions —
healthy, friendly, interesting, and enjoyable.
The proper attitude of the combatant is completely opposite that of the
competitor. A combatant fights when he MUST. A competitor fights whenever he
A combatant may meet his foe under any and all conditions, anywhere, and at any
time. A combatant may need to protect one or more loved ones during the
engagement, he may be sick, injured, out of shape, or deeply immersed in any
number of activities that have him for all practical purposes theoretically unready
to handle violence at that moment. If a competitor is sick or injured he can always
cancel his participation in the event and reschedule. A competitor also knows
ahead of time who, where, and when he will be “fighting”. He can train
specifically for a particular event, and even often tailor his training to meet the
particular opponent whom he anticipates facing in the contest.
Relevant psychological factors that will weigh heavily in each venue are
completely different in the case of competitors and combatants, too.
A combatant may indeed (and quite appropriately) hate his adversary. This is
often the case in serious defense emergencies or in war. The U.S. Marines
certainly not only hated, but were encouraged in training to hate, the Japanese
who they fought in the Pacific during WWII. Hatred is not unusual in situations
where human beings prey upon other human beings, or in instances when humans
must stop would-be human predators. People often like to pretend that this isn’t
so, that one may be “impersonal” in physical conflict . . . but frequently this is
just not going to happen. Rage and hatred are in fact totally justifiable, and even
provide a key to channeling and utilizing what we call “fear energy” in self-
defense situations. Why shouldn’t a person be hateful toward anyone directing
unjustifiable violence against him?
Why shouldn’t a combatant fighting against an enemy in war, whose intended
purpose and objective is the subjugation of that combatant’s nation, hate that
Hatred has no place in sport. People who engage in friendly contests should never
feel the desire to injure their fellow contestants. People training for serious
combat must acquire the readiness and the willingness to destroy the enemy —
Mindset, attitude, and psychological factors in sport are simply unrelated to those
consistent with combat. Period.
13. THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF COMPETITIVE SPORT AND
COMBAT ARE DIFFERENT. CONDITIONING FOR EITHER ONE DOES
NOT EQUIP A MAN FOR THE OTHER.
Hand-to-hand combat is a frenetic, frantic, desperate, all-out, 100% drive to the
wall. The individual encounter lasts three to 30 seconds — not the three or four
minutes normally allotted to a “round”. And, as we have been saying for 30 years
now, there is no round two in a combative engagement! There is no “second
The sports competitor needs considerable endurance. He must have the ability to
keep on exerting himself — often, to pace himself — and to hold out and keep on
exerting himself in a fighting mode for as long as the contest lasts.
Obviously, the better all round shape a man is in — whether competitor or
combatant — the better. However, in the same way that the activity of swimming
demands a somewhat different balance of attributes than does the activity of
autoracing (but good general physical fitness will prove valuable to both types of
performers), so this applies to the two different types of martial arts people about
whom we are speaking. The combatant needs all round fitness — with strength
heading the list of the specific attributes demanded in hand-to-hand combat.
The combatant is cheating himself if he does not train seriously with weights.
Weight training builds strength. And raw, plain strength is the basic physical
attribute of the hand-to-hand fighter. He needs ruggedness, general fitness, a
degree of endurance and stamina, speed of coordinated movement, and a high
threshold of pain — all of which is assured when a good weight training schedule
is employed; with nothing equaling the strength-building possibilities of weight
The sportsman will benefit from weight training, to be sure. But the combatant
needs weight training.
Additional training that might be regarded as optional for the competitor, but that
we would insist is mandatory for the combatant, is hardening the natural weapons
and practicing hard impact blows against posts, dummies, bags, etc.
Competitors need, at most, impact training for their high kicks and their punches.
Combatants must harden their hand-edges, palmheels, elbows, and ridgehands and
knuckles. In real combat those blows that are forbidden to sportsmen are the
blows that will be resorted to automatically and without hesitation.
Much of the physical training for such arts as taekwondo and muay th’ai is
definitely harmful to the body. The extreme stretching of korean karate is not
beneficial to the joints and connective tissue, and has resulted in permanent
injuries for many participants. Pounding your shins on banana trees will give you
tough shinbones — for a few years. However, the active fighting life of Thai
boxers is very short, and the shins are vital points, so injury (even crippling) is not
unlikely in later years if one adheres to this art’s customary conditioning
procedures. It is not relevant to point out that “some” people are not harmed by
this type of exercise, any more than it is relevant to point out that “some” people
who smoke cigarettes do not get lung cancer. So?
All physical conditioning for real combat must contribute to the permanent good
health, fitness, hardihood, and readiness of the participant. Thus, its methods are
as suitable for the 80 year old man as they are for the 20 year old man. There may
be (needs to be!) a lessening of the intensity and of the workloads that the
conditioning program imposes when the trainee is elderly, of course. But there is
no need for the combat trainee to workout in any fundamentally different manner
than he always trained if he followed the prescribed and proper approach. This is
not true of the sporting-competitive arts (even the “sane” ones, like judo, karate,
boxing, and wrestling). Drastic alterations need to be made in these arts because
competition fighting matches are not appropriate after about age 40, even for
“natural” athletes. And 40 is usually stretching it! Most (but, admittedly, not all)
people who are serious competition fighters stop their match fighting when they
hit around 30 years of age — or sooner. Certainly the statistically average
participant in a martial arts program tends to fall away from competition by the
time he reaches around 30, or sooner.
14. WEAPONS — VERY NORMAL, NATURAL, COMMONPLACE IN
HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT — ARE NOT A PART OF COMPETITIVE
Weapons in the hands of defenders and of attackers are common in real world
engagements. Only a lunatic would advocate grappling on the ground (or closing
and trying for a throw) with a determined adversary who is armed with a knife!
And a knife is a handy weapon to pull when attacked. Remember: No rules
whatever in real world combat.
Training for close-in grappling and matwork via groundgrappling amount to
training to die, when and if advocated for use against knife or pistol wielding
Close combat training demands that the individual train to expect and to anticipate
that his adversary will be armed; and what is more, it demands that the individual
learn how to use modern weapons, himself.
And when we say “weapons” we do mean modern weapons — not nunchucks,
sai, tonfa, nine foot poles, or samurai swords. These antiquated weapons are fine
for classical-traditional devotees whose practice is not for the purpose of close
combat in a modern venue. However, they are simply inappropriate implements of
combat for the private citizen today, or for the law enforcement, intelligence, or
military professional. Familiarization with one or more of these weapons might,
in some specific instance, be appropriate (if, for example, some known nut was
employing one of them in street attacks, and patrol officers were required to
understand the nuances of how the implement might be employed against them).
However, violent criminals are generally a hell of a lot brighter and more realistic
when it comes to combatives than are the preponderance of those who teach
martial arts. They carry firearms and knives.
While just about every type of competitive strategy and technique that is
employed in match events is unsuitable when dealing with a weapon bearing
adversary, nothing is as suicidal as the “close in/grab ‘em/take ‘em to the
mat/pin ‘em” approach of the challenge event types.
15. IRONICALLY, THERE ARE A FEW GRAPPLING TYPE ACTIONS
THAT MAKE SENSE IN THE BALANCED TRAINING PROGRAM OF A
COMBATANT — BUT THESE ARE (PROPERLY) BANNED IN
COMPETITIVE MATCH EVENTS, AND THEIR VALUE LIES
EXCLUSIVELY IN THEIR BEING — A) LEARNED ONLY AFTER AN
INDIVIDUAL HAS MASTERED THE CORE FUNDAMENTALS OF
CLOSE COMBAT, AND B) UTILIZED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE
CORE FUNDAMENTALS OF CLOSE COMBAT. THEY MUST NOT
BECOME THE “FRONTLINE ACTIONS” UPON WHICH ANY
COMBATANT RELIES, EXCLUSIVELY.
Examples of some excellent grappling type combatives are:
• The “cross buttock” (or “reverse hip throw” — done facing the adversary). This
is readily applicable in conjunction with virtually all of the basic hand, arm,
finger, head, and elbow blows (although a front kick or a side kick would almost
certainly — upon connecting — displace the recipient, perhaps even knock him
down, and make closing and throwing with him impossible, or more likely quite
superfluous. Object is to throw your man on his head.
• The “chin jab smash and leg trip”. We teach this action (derived from combining
ju-jutsu with the technique illustrated by Applegate in Kill Or Get Killed) to our
white belts, and — providing you employ it after injuring and off-balancing your
man — it is a helluva throw! Best done so that the skull is smashed powerfully
into the ground.
• The “head-twist takedown”. Straight from the O’Neill System, this excellent
technique is applicable once an adversary has been disoriented (by a punch to the
solar plexus, kick to the shin, eye gouge, ear box, etc.) and, pretty much like any
throw, should never be attempted “cold”. One cannot, in serious combat, rely
upon closing with an enemy, maneuvering him into an off-balance position, and
then throwing him. This works fine in a judo match — but that’s because the
other guy is restricting himself to judo, too! Don’t count on such luck in a real
engagement. A solid punch in the face as you try to move in, or a hard kick to
your testicles, (or perhaps being stabbed to death), is more likely to be the result
of your attempting “finesse” in an actual hand-to-hand battle!
The head-twist takedown has as its purpose breaking the neck. A life-or-death
action for the battlefield, to thwart a rapist, home invader, or similarly lethal
• Strangulations, chokes, and neck breaks. The chokes are excellent techniques,
but must never be applied as they are in contests — ie with an immediate cessation
of relatively cautious pressure that is calculated ONLY to cut off the blood supply
to the brain momentarily. Again, that’s judo; and with seasoned, well conditioned
rock-solid black belt judoka in their hard training 20’s or 30’s naked choking
done this way is safe. But we don’t want “safe” in combat! Jerk that choke (or
stranglehold) in place, and crank it on with murderous, unrelenting all-out
pressure for a slow count of 30 if you are in a life or death battle with a deadly
enemy. The drawback to this action is, of course, that it ties you up with your
enemy, and can be suicide if there are multiple opponents. Neck breaks are
another story. These have NO PLACE WHATEVER IN ANY FORM OR
VERSION OF SPORTING CONTEST, AND MUST BE RELEGATED
STRICTLY TO THE CIRCUMSTANCE WHEN YOUR LIFE OR ANOTHER’S
IS LITERALLY AND DEFINITELY AT STAKE. Strangulation techniques that
crush the windpipe are in the same category. Good strangulations, chokes, and of
course neckbreaks KILL. They are for circumstances when lethal force is
justifiable and necessary in order to save a life.
There are some other good grappling actions that may profitably be learned,
and that might be effectively employed, by advanced individuals in hand-to-hand
combatives. Note, however, that these types of skills have no place in short-term,
limited courses, or until a student has mastered the core fundamentals — which
are the most essential skills.
NOTE:— Astute readers might ask at this point: “What’s the point of learning
those grappling actions if you’ve got to strike the enemy first, and if you can’t ever
just grapple without depending primarily upon striking? Why not just keep on
The answer is: That is precisely the point that Rex Applegate (the WWII expert
who was the only one of that era’s close combat “notables” who did not have a
background in ju-jutsu, judo, or wrestling) made! In fact he points out, in
KILL OR GET KILLED, that it is often simplest and best to simply strike and
keep on striking, since whenever you are in a position to employ a hold or a
throw, etc., you can much more easily just HIT! And that, in one sense, is our
In the official outline of the famous Silent Kill Course (of which we have the copy
that was given by Fairbairn to Applegate) great emphasis is placed upon omitting
(or at the very least downplaying and indicating the flaws inherent in) even the
best of the well-know grappling actions of ju-jutsu. This was due to the
emergency circumstances under which individuals — who frequently possessed no
background whatever in unarmed fighting of any kind — needed to be taught to
kill enemies in wartime, when immersed in a hand-to-hand engagement. Six
sessions of instruction were provided, and many trainees would not even be taking
the entire six sessions. Fairbairn’s purpose was to quickly familiarize novices with
the bare bones essentials of what was absolutely reliable in close combat, and that
which they could learn and utilize right away. (In cases where more time was
allotted to particular individuals — such as the commandos, and other elite troops
or special operatives in SOE or OSS — more skills were taught).
Like Applegate, we still feel that the rounded combatant should understand and be
able to employ the fundamentals and basic actions of throwing — combat style.
And chokes, strangles, and neckbreaks do have their place in the professional’s
IT has not been our purpose in this Monograph to denigrate or to antagonize
anyone, or any particular approach to martial arts. It has only been our purpose,
which we have pursued in good faith, and honestly, to correct what we believe
could prove to be a dangerous misconception that is today held by a lot of people
who are either current participants in, or considering becoming students of, a self-
Years ago we categorized martial arts into four main groups:
— and —
Each category of martial art is legitimate and worthy, with no one being “better”
than or “superior to” the other — unless a specific purpose is established.
Thus, the aspiring competition champion will find that only martial arts of the
sporting/competitive variety will meet his needs. He will have to determine if he
will train and participate in wrestling, judo, boxing, kickboxing, or karate, etc.,
since all of those arts — subcategorized under the sporting/competitive heading —
are in their own turn, equally worthwhile. But this individual will not gravitate
toward one of the other categories, since they are irrelevant and would constitute
poor choices for his purpose.
If a person is looking for close combat and personal defense training, then it
follows that arts in which tradition, sport, or theatrics are the primary objective,
simply will not do. In his case it may be said that a “combat/defensive” system is
the “best” choice.
Grappling and groundfighting, although not 100% irrelevant to hand-to-hand
combat, are nearly so. And in the few instances where and when these skills are
relevant, the techniques are completely different in the case of combat than they
are in the case of sport. So, the combatant trainee, whose express objective and
purpose is real world self-defense and hand-to-hand combat is taking the wrong
road every time if he immerses himself in a competitive activity.
We sincerely hope that this Monograph has been helpful and informative, and that
it assists readers in understanding more about the subject of close combat vs. sport
than the mainstream venues and the commercial interests have, of late, been
conveying to them.
Our interest here is not commercial. Our interest is in clarifying matters so that
those who love and who participate in the martial arts will be better educated and
will be better able to make informed decisions and choices regarding what they
should pursue for their personal objectives, and best long range self-interest.
It is in sincere hopes that we have achieved this purpose with YOU, that we
conclude this treatment.
— e n d —
©COPYRIGHT 2010 BY BRADLEY J. STEINER — ALL RIGHTS
For permission to quote other than brief excerpts of this work in a review or a
commentary, written permission from the copyright owner must be obtained.
Bradley J. Steiner
P.O. Box 15929
Seattle, Washington 98115