Jul 9, 2007

Why Everyone, (Women and People of Smaller Stature, Especially) Should Learn Grappling.

Before all the feminists and TMA apologists get all riled up from the title, read first.

Every stand up TMA school or Cardio-heavy gyms (Estro-gyms) I've walked by has some sort of women's class that usually involves a lot of poorly thrown punches and roundhouse kicks at pads.
I mean, granted, most of these women are in it for the workout, and there's almost nothing quite like Cardio Kickboxing to get that last slice of cheesecake right off. But, what about the women who get fooled into thinking it's a self defense class? Is she going to fend for herself against a bigger guy with a light jab/cross/roundhouse kick? Considering most of those class don't involve sparring in anyway, I seriously doubt any of those blows will land.

While we're at it, lets look at cardio KB and RBSD's ugly cousin, Rape Prevention Class, aka, the most useless self defense class ever made. They give you a whistle, tell you to kick the guy in the red suit in the crotch (something every girl's known since she was 5) and send you off on your merry way.

Boxing/Kickboxing is fine as self defense, it's just that there's an innate problem with teaching women hard styles like that or maybe Karate or TKD-- in general, women just don't have the mass/strength to compete with a real attacker. Let's think about this, skipping all the usual F=ma physics arguments. So without further ado, here's my personal (not organized) list of reasons why I believe that learning groundfighting over striking arts is important for most women and others of a smaller stature. (Not that groundwork isn't as important for stronger people, of course.)

1) Weight doesn't matter as much on the ground as much as stamina does. Of course, weight and strength naturally help, but not as much as it does standing up. Against a significantly larger person, what would you rather do? Try a high-probability clinch after setting it up using basic striking, maybe a takedown, and use pure technical ability to gain a reliable choke/(armbar/leg lock), or try to use pure punching/kicking skills in the always dynamic stand-up game to knock out or hit "vital organs" on a person, who can easily brute force his way through your ability and is probably adept at not showing his vital parts to you like an idiot. Please realize that most "knockout points" on the body require a significant amount of force to be properly used against someone who is expecting to get hit a few times; if you're a bigger guy, that's understandable, if not, that's laughable.

2) Speaking of idiots, most stand-up routines rely too much on the opponent acting retarded, whether squaring his body perfectly with his legs wide open, occasionally with a "kick me" sign safety pinned to his scrotum. If you're going to train in a hard style, unless you do some heavy full contact sparring, you're never going to get the sense of timing and distance that you need to use it effectively.

3) Styles like Kung fu, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do and the such take years of hard work (aka, never in your lifetime) to actually be able to use properly against a determined opponent, maybe even more. If you're the busy person I assume you are, I seriously doubt you can get to the level of mastery needed with the amount of training you put in. Not to mention the fact that your teacher probably can't actually fight, and has no idea how to properly apply the system to anything outside of itself. I believe the term is "The blind leading the blind."

4) The skepticism of most on the third point actually increases the odds of you being able to properly defend yourself. Although counters to submissions seem fairly easy (or not, actually) to see as a viewer, they are actually incredibly hard to perform properly without training. Because a large group of people still try to find crappy excuses against groundfighting, it's extremely easy to pull a set of basic moves that the person is not used to seeing, and forcing him to give up or pass out.

5) For those looking to combine cardio and self defense, let me assure you, as good as kickboxing is (heck, you should continue to do it), grappling is one of the most tiring things ever. After your first couple of sessions, your neck, legs, and abdomen will be on fire, and you'll also see muscle tone and flexibility soar to new levels. It's an amazing workout, and you'll actually be killing two birds with one stone.


Theres a million other reasons, along with even more things I can think of pertaining to each person individually, for supplementing your usual TMA/KB class with grappling. However, these 5 points should be enough for now to win someone over to the grappling side for now. Heck, Digg and email this page to a person you hold dear and don't want to see with a false sense of confidence. Or maybe send it to all of the naysayers in your vicinity, so that I may or may not be flooded with hate mail.

Say no to ninjers, kids
-y

*edit*
I found a page full of quotes from women who enjoy brazilian jiu jitsu.
http://www.grapplearts.com/Women-and-Grappling.html
Enjoy, and spread the word!

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