Ground fighting (also ground work or ground game) is hand-to-hand combat which takes place while the combatants are on the ground, generally involving grappling. The term is commonly used in mixed martial arts and other combat sports, as well as various forms of martial arts to designate the set of techniques employed by a combatant that is on the ground, as opposed to techniques employed in stand-up fighting. It is the main focus of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is featured in varying amounts in Catch wrestling, Judo, Sambo, Shoot wrestling and other styles of wrestling.
Similarly to clinch fighting, ground fighting implies that the combatants are at a very close range, usually involving one or both combatants grappling the opponent using various grappling holds. Depending on the positioning of the combatants, the proximity can allow for techniques such as biting, chokeholds, fish-hooking, eye-gouging, joint locks, pressure point techniques, or various strikes.
Striking on the ground
Traditionally neglected by most grappling arts, striking on the ground is an important aspect of ground fighting. Typically, a top position is better for various strikes than a bottom position, simply because the combatant in the top position can generate the distance and movement needed for effective strikes, while the bottom combatant is restricted by the ground and by the combatant on top. Another factor is gravity, which is in favor of the top combatant when he or she is striking downwards. In addition, the effect of ground strikes may be amplified, depending on the area struck, by the strike driving the opponent into the ground. The types of strikes that can be employed effectively depend on the particular grappling position, common ones include elbows, headbutts, knees and punches.
A ground fighting sequence in mixed martial arts competition may begin, for example, with one combatant forcing another to the ground by using a double leg takedown and establishing a top mounted position. The top combatant may proceed to throw punches until the bottom defender attempts an escape by pushing away the top combatant. This creates an opportunity for the top combatant to transition into a juji-gatame armbar, and thus forcing the bottom combatant to submit.
- Løvstad, Jakob. The Mixed Martial Arts Primer. www.idi.ntnu.no. URL last accessed March 6, 2005. (DOC format)
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