This year, for MDP camp, I’ve been asked to teach a class about takedowns and groundwork for self defense. The two big questions behind the class will be: how and why might we, in a self defense situation, want to take an attacker to the ground? To answer these questions, the students and I have been playing with three techniques and a drill that are starting to coalesce into a decent class.
The three techniques involved in the drill are: a jab, an ankle pick, and the knee ride position. We settled on these three because they are fairly simple, the combine together well, and they allow the student to move from standing to a ground control position while still allowing for the option of standing back up if necessary.
The jab is the setup. As with all setups, if you can land it – bonus! The drill, however, assumes that your partner is going to parry and step away from your strike. This defensive action should give you the opportunity to step in and move on to the second technique – the ankle pick.
The ankle pick is a good fit for this drill because it allows you to take your partner down, and keep control of them by holding on to the shoe, pant leg, or foot without having to follow them all the way to the ground, ending up in side control or mount. While those positions are powerful and functional, we wanted to pick a control that allowed for easier disengagement, so we opted for knee ride.
Knee ride is probably going to be the technique that confuses students the most. It can be difficult figuring out which knee goes where, how to distribute your weight, and how not to injure your partner. We think the effort is worth it, because knee ride can provide a platform from which to strike, remain mobile, and disengage if necessary.
The jab to ankle pick to knee ride drill will be the first section of the class. It provides one answer to the “how” question that I opened this post up with – how do we take someone down? Well, we could fake a jab, move to an ankle pick, and then slide into knee ride. We could, of course, do many other different things to accomplish this same goal and for those students who feel comfortable, we will play a bit and explore some of those options. We will also allow folks who want to play further, the opportunity to sparring to see what happens when resistance gets added.
The “why” question, if you recall, was – why would we take someone down in a self defense situation? This is not a simple question to answer but one line of thought is: given that people can generate the most power when they are standing and can freely utilize their hips, if you can put them on the ground and control them then they are much less able to deliver a strong punch. Put another way, even a completely untrained person can hit hard if they are standing up but if they are flat on their back with you on top of them, not so much.
Hope to see you all at camp! You can still sign up here.