Going to the Ground with Style


When this video was posted on a forum I frequent, I made a quip along the lines of “so much for not going to the ground in a fight”. I thought it was an obvious point – that of course the fallacy of saying never go to the ground in a fight was an uninformed cliche – but apparently a couple of people didn’t get it. I think their replies make a good point of discussion.

What some replied was essentially this; “Well, this is not the same thing. The fight ended when the guy hit the ground. Using the ground as a ballistic impact zone is different“. Let’s look at those points.

First of all, the cliche is not mine. it is said by others, and the cliche is fairly clear i.e. Don’t Go to the Ground in a Fight. There is no wiggle room there. The winner in the video took the fight to the ground, in contradiction to the espoused line. No one who uses that cliche ever follows it up with any caveats. It is used as a cut and dried piece of advice. Period. So this video is a contrary to that, no matter what. Just that fact alone shows up how foolish it is when that hoary bit of wisdom is trotted out.

Second, There is no way that ending was preordained. Sure, we look at the video in hindsight and say well of course that ended the fight. However, there is no way the thrower knew that the fight would end when the impact happened. It could easily have not knocked the loser out. How many times do we hear of cases where someone is shot multiple times, or shot in vital areas like the head, and continues? It is a well established and accepted fact that almost no handgun round, including a 45acp or 44magnum will stop someone with one round. The human body is capable of taking an amazing amount of punishment and still keep on ticking. If an aggressor can take multiple rounds of modern high-velocity hollow points and still fight, why is being slammed on the ground magically superior? It simply isn’t. There was at least an even chance that the fight could have continued after the throw. If you watch the video carefully, you can clearly see the thrower expected (or at least was prepared for) the fight to continue. He held the dominant controlling position for a moment, realized the other guy was out, and only then released his hold. So for anyone to think this was any different than the thrower making a conscious decision to take the fight to the ground, and do whatever he needed to do, you are mistaken.

Third, someone out on the interwebz will undoubtedly say “Well, if the other guy had a weapon the fight would have been different”. Really? Take a look at the video again. The thrower had control of either the other person’s limbs or he was disrupting the guy’s base and balance the entire time. See how the loser is flailing away with full energy just to try to stay upright and on his feet? At what point could he have accessed or deployed any weapon? The answer is, he couldn’t, even if he had the latest tacti-cool gun and rig. It is one thing to have a fast draw on a flat range. Try accomplishing the same task when you are being tossed all over God’s green earth. It is not done with much chance of success.

And, finally, we get to the other rallying cry of the RBSD crowd – “If there were multiples, it would have been different”. Let’s ignore possibilities for a second (and I am actually deep into a research project where we are trying to actually document with hard numbers how often multiple attackers happen) and look at what did happen. There were no multiples involved, and the thrower very likely saw that and made an informed decision to go to the ground. Further, if he had been wrong, and other assailants had become involved, he was in a fine position to engage them. Contrary to the popular RBSD trope, when an expert grappler fights someone who knows nothing about grappling, they do not roll around for hours, The fight will end in seconds, with plenty of time to take care of other attackers.

To sum up, there are plenty of times when going to the ground in a fight is the worst decision possible. There are plenty of other times it may be the single best thing you can do. Trying to espouse one single answer as dogma is wrong. To paraphrase an old saying “Saying never is the last refuge of the intellectually lazy”.