Ground Fighting Vs Striking
There are thousands of martial arts styles in the world, but the most popular ones have made it as far as they have because they each offer something unique and useful to the overall ability to defend oneself on the street.
This is currently the most practiced martial art in the world, the national sport of South Korea. Taekwondo is the bread and butter of striking. It is essential in building speed and strength through conditioning, and exceptional for increasing flexibility. It’s not hard to learn but very tough to master enough to make it practical in a real life street fight.
The basis of Taekwondo is kicking, and more specifically, high kicking. High kicking is never recommended (above the midsection of the opponent) in a street fight. Only the most experienced and conditioned fighters can pull off these kinds of kicks to make it effective – and it’s rare enough for the simple word of advice: just don’t attempt it. Taekwondo teaches a lot of kicking to the chest and midsection though, which you can get away with. The midsection is a good place to kick because a broken rib can end the fight by itself.
A favorite of this art is the roundhouse kick. It is extremely powerful compared to a punch. Your legs exert more than twice the force of your arms, and when combined with speed, footwork, pivoting, and hip motion, this kick can easily break ribs, damage internal organs, and knock the lights out of people. When aimed at the head, it can cause concussions and even death. So use caution.
The secret to delivering the perfect roundhouse kick is not simply the strength of the leg and thigh muscles. It is the torque generated through the pivoting of the back foot, twisting of the hips and shoulders, and a whipcrack snap of the shin upon contact – all this must happen at the same time. It must be a harmony of collaboration, a result of different powers. The legs are only extensions of the body, and no muscle can work alone. The time it takes to perfect the roundhouse kick may not be long, it’s all about technique. Without technique, speed and strength have no bearing.
This is one of the toughest and most dangerous and rewarding martial arts. It hails from Southeast Asia, from various countries, including Thailand. Think of this as Taekwondo minus the high kicks, but with aggressive boxing, and the ability to use knees and elbows all combined. It is also a striking art and is the epitome of the ‘hard martial art,’ which emphasizes the use of techniques through physical power.
Roundhouses are also integral here but make use of the shin more, in contrast to the face of the foot in Taekwondo. This is a perspective of Muay Thai’s low kicking style, where as Taekwondo kicks are aimed higher; hence, using the face of the foot for more reach. In a nutshell: Shin roundhouse kicks are powerful, but require heavier conditioning. Old masters are known to train their students by having them kick tree trunks repeatedly. The bones of the shin gain calcium deposits, weakening the nerves and increasing bone density. This toughens the body as a whole. If you want to be a good street fighter, take some lessons in this. The knees and elbows are the bread and butter of this art, and extremely important for in-fighting, which is what most street fights are. It is quick, brutal, and ruthless.
One must realize that in street fights, it’s not a boxing ring. You don’t circle your opponent while looking for openings and staying at striking distance. You have to make your openings.
Learn this. No matter what type of fighter you are, learn boxing. Your arms may be weaker than your legs but they are much faster. Boxing teaches people how to punch, which the vast majority of people cannot do properly. This art (yes, this is an art style) is the bread and butter of street fighting in general. In street fights, you will rarely use your legs, if ever, other than for footwork. In adapting to frantic and speedy situations, humans rely on punching the most. Some of the best moves in combat take root in boxing: the Jabs, Hooks, and Uppercuts.
Jabs close the distance and open up the combos. Hooks are the power punches. Uppercuts are those integral shots that can overcome the opponent when he’s cornered and tries to defend his face. Uppercuts are not easy to block.
Boxing is underestimated because it doesn’t sound like a mysterious, mystical, and stereotypically Oriental martial art. People don’t take it seriously. But it’s undeniably one of the most important things to learn for self-defense.
Kendo, Silat, Kali
If you happen to own a stick or cane at all times, learn these. It’s self-explanatory.
Wrestling, Jujutsu, Judo
Ground fighting is more important than striking. This includes grappling, joint locks, throws, and submission techniques. Most street fights are up close and personal, ending up on the ground. The best fighter knows how to hold his own on the ground. Size is preferred but doesn’t mean anything compared to speed, agility, and knowing how to use the opponent’s weight against himself.
These arts are closely related and are much tougher in conditioning than the previous three striking arts listed. They also teach you more specifically, how to break bones, joints, and even how to kill. They are dangerous. Watch an Olympic wrestling match. Hell, watch a high school wrestling match. The fighters you see there, despite no fancy martial arts experience or belt rank attached to their name, are some of the most formidable fighters in the world.
On the ground, they would tear the average person apart. There are ‘less’ fatal joint locking and grappling arts like Aikido and Hapkido, which reign from Japan and South Korea, respectively.
Why does ground fighting usually trump striking?
The average human, without any specialized training, is still very dangerous as a striker. The punches can be sloppy, the elbows can be inaccurate, but it doesn’t take many hits to the head to do knock someone out. Look at it this way. The average human has a moderate knowledge on how to fight on two feet. But the average human knows little on what to do when he’s in a submissive position on the ground. Now if you take the average striker against an average ground fighter in a fight upon two feet, the striker will have the upper hand but the ground fighter will know enough to hold his own. Specialized skill can only compensate a bit, real fights are unpredictable. The striker does not have the finishing advantage.
Now if you take the average striker against the average ground fighter in a fight on the ground, the striker will get pulverized. The knowledge on how to handle oneself on the ground isn’t as ‘common’ or ‘mainstream’ as punching and kicking.
The ground fighter has a huge upper hand. And it’s well known how often real street fights go to the ground. That’s why it’s best to have both worlds to survive in each.
The Judgment – Which Style Is the Best?
Some of the best styles to learn how to fight are the most overlooked. To be a good fighter, you have to be able to strike and dominate the ground. Weakness in one makes you weak as an adaptive fighter. However, most often than not, in a fight between a striker and a grappler/ground fighter, the ground fighter has the advantage. Once the fight goes to the ground, it’s over. All it takes is closing the distance.
In Olympic non-full contact sparring and demonstrations in which the guy being demonstrated on just stands there, nothing is informative. If you want to learn how to fight, watch MMA fights, like UFC or Pride Fighting. Boxing is also informative if you want to understand good footwork and proper punching form. Learn how to dominate both battlefields and you win the battle. Do not attempt the moves at home and sign up at your neighborhood dojo or dojang. You might be choosing something you were destined to do.
In the end, the style does not make the fighter. The fighter makes the style.