Krav Maga: Going to the Ground/Grappling

Grappling RangeThe grappling range is the range of body-to-body contact. It is the range where locks, throws, sweeps and takedowns are performed. In a recent ground fighting class, a new student asked the question, “Should we take our opponent to the ground when we’re in the grappling range?”
Krav Maga does not advocate taking your opponent to the ground because of the many perils that can occur once you are there. However Krav Maga does assume that you may slip and find yourself down while the attacker is up. Sh*t happens. In contrast to other areas of Krav Maga such as striking and joint attacks size and strength do dramatically influence grappling ability. Unless you are phenomenally skilled, there are few other endeavors in which size and strength play such a predominant role. Big grapplers usually beat little grapplers. If you are a smaller, lighter or weaker fighter, you should not put all your eggs in the grappling basket. Instead, you should spend your time learning grappling defenses and perfecting your ability to surgically strike an attacker who attempts to grapple with you.
Grappling in a street fight must be short, sweet and overwhelming. It should be viewed as a tactical supplement to striking. Unless you’re a consummate grappler, have complete control of your environment (a plush surface to grapple on) and are sure you’re facing a single, unarmed opponent, don’t go to the ground and grapple. Krav Maga’s groundfighting techniques are explosive responses to immediate threats, rather than the “chess match” response and counter-response moves of a larger ground fighting program. Whether you’re proficient on the ground or not, Krav Maga’s main objective during a ground fight always remains the same: to get up as quickly as possible! During ground fights, you’re extremely vulnerable to more than one attacker or to being stabbed if the opponent produces an edged weapon. Moreover, there’s the mobility factor. When you’re on the ground, you lose your ability to disengage. You have to be on your feet to retreat.