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Self Defense Tip: When Must You Grapple in a Fight? And What's Best?

Updated: Oct 8, 2023



If you ever wrestled around with your buddies, you know that helpless feeling when the bigger/stronger one gets on top of you and doesn't let you up. Well it's a lot worse in a real fight when the other person is on top of you punching you in the face. That's why knowing how to grapple is crucial in a fight.


While finishing a fight by striking the assailant is faster and easier, it oftentimes does not work out that way. Statistics say that approximately 90% of street fight end up on the ground. This is because the person getting taken down doesn't know how to grapple.

You must go to the ground when:

  1. The assailant is continuously hitting you, and you can't defend their strikes. Or,

  2. If the assailant is already taking you down (but you control the position).


1. If an assailant is striking you more, or harder than you are striking them:

If this occurs, your only recourse is to take them down to the ground, and end in the top position. This will neutralize their strikes. Falling to your back with the bigger, stronger and better striker on top of you will only make the situation a lot worse, as it leaves you pinned underneath them and not able to escape their strikes.


Wrestling is the best discipline you can learn to take an assailant down to the ground, and control them. Additionally, it can help you avoid getting taken down to the ground by the assailant.

Different types of wrestling include: Greco-Roman wrestling, Scholastic aka Folkstyle wrestling, and Freestyle wrestling. Greco-Roman wrestling focuses on more upper body throws, Scholastic/folkstyle wrestling focuses on attacking the legs more to get takedowns; and Freestyle wrestling uses a combination of both Greco-Roman and Scholastic/folkstyle wrestling techniques (my personal favorite). All of these wrestling methods also teach you how to stay in control of the assailant at all times.


WARNING: The "wrestling" you see on TV (WWE etc.) are not all real moves, and are performed by trained stunt-athletes. Do not attempt to replicate it, doing so will injure you and your training partners. Additionally, they may not help you in a real fight.



2. If the assailant takes you down:

If this occurs, you need to know how to escape from the bottom position (i.e. via sweeps, reversals etc.), immobilize the assailant so he can't hurt you, or finish the fight via submission. Submissions are finishing techniques that can control, maim, or render the assailant unconscious.


Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a great discipline that will teach you how to do all of the above in the event you are taken down. Originally a hybrid martial art brought to Brazil by Japanese Judoka, jiu-jitsu, and wrestler, Mitsuyo Esai Maeda, the Gracie family modified it to fit their body types, thus creating a new martial art - Gracie Jiu-jitsu, and later Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. While this martial art does not focus a lot on takedowns, a practitioner can attack and submit your arms, legs, and neck from their back, top mount, side mount, and back mount (behind you). Additionally the Gracie's modifications focused more on using leverage and technique as opposed to strength, making it ideal for the weaker person.



Wrestling Combined with Brazilian Jiu-jitsu assures success:

I found these two disciplines to be the best when I competed in no holds barred competition where there were no weight classes. They also work great in the street. Wrestling, for its takedown offense, takedown defense, and top-ground fighting control; and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for its smooth submissions that can incapacitate an assailant whether you are on top or on the bottom.

The techniques from these two disciplines are ideal for anyone to use in a real fight, or in competition. As a result, I teach a mix of both disciplines because they complement each other greatly, especially for real fighting.



To learn simple, effective self defense techniques and tactics, get my book The Short Fight, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0948LNX5M

Purchase includes free lifetime access to all my self-defense and exercise instructional videos.


Can you help me by leaving a review for my book on Amazon? This will help me to continue providing free training for you.

Thanks so much!


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Until next time, Stay Safe!

Lawrence Castanon,

Author, The Short Fight

@theshortfight














































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