As we discussed prior in this series, we need to have options for self-defense. We need to be able to select the right answer in the correct moment and not just stumble headfirst without thinking. Today I am going to talk about one specific option that is a classic part of fundamental jiu-jitsu, but one that sadly gets overlooked all too often. This option is to stand up and get to your feet.
There will be moments when staying engaged on the ground is not a good choice. It may be that we are suddenly about to face multiple actors who will jump in. It may be that the opponent starts striking and is able to hit us hard and continuously and we are unable to handle it in the entanglement. Perhaps the opponent produces a contact weapon such as a knife, and we can’t stop it and getting away and making big space becomes a really, really smart idea. However, it may be a situation where we have reached a stalemate with the ground fight, such as the possibility that the other guy has enough grappling skill (or enough disparity of physicality) that he negates what you are doing.
This last scenario is something that can occur in a typical sparring session at any jiu-jitsu academy in the world. I see it happen pretty much every single class. At least once, I will either see, or actually be involved in, this exact thing every day I train. I have heard my Professor yell “get up!” so many times over the past 25 years while watching students rolling and not being able to progress forward. Usually, the stalemate arises because the two people in it are peers and are evenly matched, or one person just happens to have a game that works against the other guy. I think it is a very human tendency to keep bulling ahead, regardless of the lack of success. It’s almost as if we are locked into the operating program loop.
The answer is to remove ourselves from the stalemate. Not as in running away, but in taking a step back and looking at other options, with getting back to our feet a very useful one. Once there, we may have more freedom or speed of movement, or we now have more space in which to move. If I am trying to pass his guard from the knees and I cannot, then standing may give me the ability to go in a direction that from the knees was not possible. Or if I am in side control and he is able to block my submission attacks, then standing may allow me to see another pathway to get the tap.
Here is one way to do so:
The mantra should be that we are ALWAYS looking to either: a) sweep, b) submit, or c) stand up against any opponent at any time. Whichever of those three options gives us the best chance of success, we will take that. It is the height of foolishness to ignore one of those things. The more options we have to throw at an opponent and the more he has to worry about defending against, the more we have the chance for on e of those attacks to work. For self-defense, all we do is add d) strike, e) shoot/stab/smash or f) run like hell.
Here is a drill that is easily implemented that can help ingrain this response:
The tremendous advantage to practicing this is that it can be done in the jiu-jitsu context with no one being the wiser that I am also practicing my ability to stand up and disengage from the fight and getting away. It is a win-win ; I improve my capability of self-preservation in the street and I get to have adman fine option on the mat.