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Grappling Advice You Just Can’t Live Without

by Keith Pascal

(Please share this ebooklet with as many honest martial-artists as possible. Your friends and colleagues deserve to read this information.

May it prove to be a valuable resource.)


00002.jpgIf You Grapple, Could This Happen To You?

I recently received a letter from a subscriber to Martial Arts Mastery, one of the longest-running free ezines on the Internet. He approved of the articles that had appeared in the ezine on grappling and avoiding grappling.

This martial artist told a recent tale of a grappling expert who picked a fight with a seasoned street fighter.

“The grappler shot forward, grabbing low for the fighter’s legs. The grappler grabbed ... and met a knee in the face.”

“Before he even realized that his lunge forward had been met with a knee strike, an elbow slammed down on the back of his head and neck.

“It was over.”


Why The Grappler Lost — A Good Lesson

Without being there and witnessing the fight, we can’t tell exactly what went wrong for the grappler. We’d have to analyze the actual scuffle.

Since you and I can’t see a recording of the fight, to see if the grappler made a mistake, let’s assume that he didn’t. For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that the losing grappler did everything right.

If that was (correct use of verb) the case, then what happened?


It could be that what the grappler did was right, but what the street fighter did was more right.


Maybe the street fighter trains the way we do in our garage....

When I teach out of my garage, students often pair off. One student practices shooting for the legs of the other. First, we go for grabs just below the waist (and yes, we hit below the belt, too). Over and over. We vary the rhythm, so the attack is always a surprise.

We change distances.


Each partner takes turns grabbing for the upper legs. Maybe 20 repetitions.

As he grabs, the defender uses a combination of a knee and elbow(s) to ward off the lunge.
Once the students are comfortable defending against this grab, we lower the shoot forward. It’s still a vary-the-rhythm-andvary-the-distance game. Now, the attacker grabs for the knees. This new, lower level is worked to mastery. Another 20 repetitions. Then another variation and 20 more.

The defender always uses a knee and arms in tandem to stop the attack.



Next, it’s a session of trying to drop the opponent by the ankles. This lunge is so low that an elbow follow-up won’t work. A punch dropping from above is used instead.

Later, we change how the lunge is initiated. Sometimes the attacker punches first, then drops to shoot forward at the legs. Other times, the attacker starts with a stop kick to the knees, and then suddenly tries to grab right above the spot where he (or she) kicked.

Imagine Working These Exercises Hundreds of Times Imagine hundreds of repetitions of countering against someone grabbing for your legs.

Next, imagine hundreds of these sessions over the course of a couple of years. You practice, practice, and practice some more.

One day, a real attacker tries to grapple you to the ground. This isn’t a workout in a dojo, garage, or out on the lawn. This is serious.

He grabs for your legs ... just the move you have practiced countering thousands of times, for years.

You raise your knee at just the right time. Then, without thinking, your elbow comes down between his shoulders in a solid strike. One more knee strike, and a kick as he goes down — now, where did those last two moves come from?

The Next Step — If You Really Want Martial Mastery The title of this ebooklet is Grappling Advice You Just Can’t Live Without.

Up until this point, it may seem like I was giving advice for those who wish to avoid the advances of a ground fighter. Well, guess what....

The advice I just gave is nothing new. As I said, it’s the way I teach a small number of students. I am sure there are other martial arts schools that work different angles, timing, and variationsof technique, making the grappling attacks and the counter strikes as real as possible.

And they work these countering hits to mastery. Here is where this ebook takes a turn away from the normal.
This is where it gets good:


The Grappling Secret Revealed

If you want to become a great grappler, then you have to be smarter than the guy who is avoiding your dropping attacks (shoots and other techniques).

We happen to be focusing on one method of tackling — you should practice methodically as many strategies as possible for getting someone to the ground, including hip throws, hair pulls, and the like.

Understanding the point of contact better than your opponent will be your key.


It’s the secret.

You know when to expect the knee to rise toward your hunched-over head. You know if you take your eyes off of the arms above your head, you could end up with an elbow between the shoulder blades.

If knowledge isn’t power, it’s at least the basis for good strategies, wouldn’t you agree?

If you know how someone is going to respond in a fight, and you know when the person is going to respond, I think you have two distinct advantages. In this respect, you have an edge in a fight.

So, practice what you will do if, when you shoot for the legs, your opponent tries to knee you and elbow you. Will you pat (or hit) his knee strike to the side and regrab the legs from a different angle into a grapple?

Are you going to stop the knee with a combination punch to the face and stomach, and then follow by grabbing the bent-over torso from the back?

Will you abandon the grapple idea and meet a knee with one of your own? Will your knee cut across your opponent’s thigh,


giving him a charlie horse? Will you drop him from there, punching the entire time?

The key is to practice a few responses over and over again.

Remember the initial advice to the martial artist trying to avoid a grappler? He or she practices a limited set of grapple attempts with a set response or two. Each aspect is studied and practiced to mastery.

Now, it’s your turn. Practice variations, so that you know how to counter the counter quickly and efficiently.

Every time someone lifts a knee at you, you will respond efficiently, quickly, and without thought. Your practiced-andperfected skill will take control.

You try to grapple. You encounter a small hiccup. No problem. You adjust and continue the grapple.

And of course, the instant you have your opponent downed, you will flow into a natural joint lock. More on that in a minute or two.

Grappling Super Practice

Do you want to make sure that you can grapple even the best martial artists? How would you like to be able to drop anyone to the ground successfully?

Then make sure you practice against the best. Search for folks who subscribe the the philosophy that fights don’t have to end on the ground ... if you know what you are doing.

Yes, that’s right — you want practitioners who have spent time methodically countering grapplers.

Martial artists who practice the way I described in the beginning of the book are perfect for your training. Try to create the most difficult situation possible.

At first, you don’t want to be able to successfully drop your chosen expert to the ground. His (or her)timing is such that the expert’s knee finds your face or chest every time.

In fact, if at this stage you get a little frustrated, that’s a good thing.


The better your opponent is, the better you will have to become, in order to counter the counter. Does this make sense?


Learning to counter the techniques of an expert is a type of super practice.

Over time, you want to start picking up on how your opponent is countering you. What are you doing wrong?

Are you telegraphing your intent to drop and shoot forward?

Don’t just practice automatically, mindlessly. Going through the repetitions without improvement is not enough. You have to figure out where you are telegraphing, or how your partner is beating your timimg.
Figure out where you are giving clues to your movement, and make any corrections necessary. Tweak your technique, until you can get past your opponent’s guard.

What Do You Do If Your Opponent is Too Good? So, you are practicing against a seasoned artist who knows the proper use of knee and elbow against a grappler.

This guy is good. So skilled, in fact, that you can’t get in.


What do you do?


Ask for help!


You are here to learn. Right?


He’s your partner. You are working together, to improve. This isn’t a real fight.

If your partner can knee you every time, then he is seeing something that you are doing ... every time. Start there. Correct that mistake.

After you correct some of your mistakes, maybe this martial arts expert could help you figure out some strategies against the very techniques he’s using.

Note: You may have to convince your partner that it’s to his benefit to help you. By learning to counter your partner’s best, it forces him or her to improve. This is the way to true martial improvement.
Also if your buddy doesn’t hold back in the help department, then neither will you. You offer to help with your area of expertise.

If no other argument works, appeal to your opponent’s level of boredom. Countering you with the same ol’ same ol’ doesn’t prove anything. If your partner helps you, then you both can move on.

Two Experts, One Is a Grappler — Who Would Win? For some, this is a very intriguing question. Personally, I try to avoid these types of questions.

They usually start with, “If you had two martial artists of
exactly equal ability ... almost clones ... and the only difference between the two ... then who would win?”

In this case, the
difference is that one expert is a grappler and the other isn’t.

As I said, this isn’t my favorite type of argument. It has a school-yard flavor, don’t you think?

It’s how you use your skill, how you best


employ the knowledge of your skill, and how your skill relates to your opponent and your opponent’s skill.

And then there is always some other ingredient that gets added into the mix. For example, let’s take wrist locks and joint locks.


Locks could make all the difference in a fight ... for either the grappler or the non-grappler ...

Wrist and joint locks are perfect for the grappler. Being able to lock someone, helps you take control of the situation. After all, you need to be able to follow-up after you take your opponent to the ground.

Ground Control , a technique from Wrist Locks: From Protecting Yourself to Becoming an Expert is a type of an arm bar that maintains control with your opponent’s arm being held parallel to, and on, the ground. (This is just an example. If you don’t own Wrist Locks, you can still figure out the lock from the photo on the next page. Think arm bar ... on the ground.)

Perfect for the grappler, right?


Well, take that same general kind of arm bar and put it in the hands (pardon the pun) of the non-grappler:

The grappler shoots for the legs. The non-grappler raises his knee, and almost simultaneously strikes down with the elbow. Yet, this time, the combination doesn’t work as effectively as hoped.
The fight isn’t over. The grappler resists. The elbow glances off, missing the solid blow.

Since the non-grappler knows all about hand immobilization (locks and traps), he reaches for one of the grappler’s arms.

As the grappler raises his arm, the non-grappler grabs the wrist of the outstretched arm and applies pressure just above the elbow with the wrist of his other hand.


Look at the above photo. It’s almost the same arm bar as Ground Control, except this one is several feet off the ground, while the first one held the opponent to the lawn.

(Also, the Ground Control wrist lock holds the wrist in a lock, too -- the hand is held palm up, with the fingers bending toward teh wrist.)

If You Know Wrist Locks, Then You Lead the Party So, the same arm bar can be used as a tool by either a grappler or a non-grappler. The fighter who uses the tool the best, wins.


And if one of the two doesn’t know how to wrist lock or arm bar, then the locker will easily control the situation.


Look, if you know how to lock, you can take your self defense to a new level....



Whether or not you are a grappler, with wrist locks, you have the option of hitting and kicking before you lock, while you effect the lock, or after you have snapped on a painfui joint control. The choice is yours.

Not only that, but the lock itself will progress:

Let’s say you put on the arm bar from the above examples. If you were standing, you could take the arm bar into a variety of other locks, each more painful and controlling than the last. And each lock allows you different hits, if you’d like. One progression is to bend the arm behind your opponent’s back, while grabbing the back of his head by the hair with your other hand.

You could use this same bend, to rotate your opponent’s arm around your leg,


Why would you want to do this?


Well, maybe you have to wait awhile with your prisoner in a control. Are you waiting for the police to arrive?

Bending your opponent’s arm and sitting on it is one way to control him, until the authorities arrive. In this case, you used the same bend of the arm for your grappling application. Good modification.

Why This Is The Grappling Ebooklet You Can’t Live Without


I know this isn’t in any way, shape, or form a complete book on grappling. It’s just an ebooklet.


On the other hand, think about the advice you have just been given. Really ponder the possibilities:

1. You start by practicing from the point of view of a nongrappler. You learn all fo the tools used to defeat grapplers. You are getting into the mind (and skill level) of your enemy, so to speak.

2. Next, you apply this principle of practicing with variation to your grappling techniques. You discover the tactics a nongrappler would use against you. And you prepare to counter these.
3. You take grappling to the next level by working out with practitioners who are experts at staying on their feet. Learn from them; share with them; improve by working out with each other.

4. And if all of this isn’t enough, you add wrist locks, joint locks, and arm bars into the equation. In fact, this is a key to getting a martial-arts advantage. You’ll be able to use these techniques, in order to get your opponent to the ground (in conjunction with hits and kicks). You’ll also use locks, once you have your enemy down.

5. Finally, we discussed this entire paradigm in terms of someone shooting low for your legs, or you shooting low for someone else’s legs. This is a very specific application of some principles that could be generalized....

The power of this ebooklet is when you apply this lesson to other areas of your grappling.

What about starting with a nose control? (Pages 138-141 of Wrist Locks: From Protecting Yourself to Becoming an Expert)


When you try to take someone down with that easy control, how could he (or she) counter the move?


Once you have a counter, then you modify your technique to work around the counter. The counter doesn’t bother you at all.



According to the outline of this ebooklet, you’d add your secret ingredient — a wrist lock. I won’t suggest a specific lock, but here’s a hint — if you nose control your opponent with the forefinger of your right hand, then your opponent’s right wrist or arm will be in position for a lock. And if you nose drop with your left, then your opponent’s left hand will be in position.

Are you getting any practice ideas?

How many ways do you know to take your adversary to the ground? Apply this ebooklet to each of them. You’ll have a lot to practice.

Imagine the mastery you’ll achieve....

You’ll be able to resist almost any counter to your grapple attempts. Your grappling will improve. You’ll be better at the beginning stages of a ground fight.

And so, this is the grappling ebooklet, you just can’t live without.


I hope you found this information valuable. May you grapple with success,

Keith Pascal, martial arts author

________________________________________________ Keith Pascal is the author of six martial-arts books, including Wrist Locks: From Protecting Yourself to Becoming an Expert. “This is the only locking book that takes you beyond mere technique.”

If you’ve had difficulties making your wrist locks effective in the past, then you owe it to yourself to discover the world of efficient locks --reversals, counters, flowing from one lock to another, combining hits with locks, inventing your own locks -and so much more. Go now to

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