Audio by Jonathan Fader
Attacker has knife
You want to arm bar me? Here’s a knife!

The ground and Krav Maga have a love-hate relationship. As a General rule, we avoid it. We never intentionally go to the ground in a fight. The only reason we should be on the ground is that we tripped, slipped, fell, or were forced by an attacker. Our goal, when it comes to ground-fighting is a simple one; GET UP! No, really, GET BACK ON YOUR FEET AS FAST AS YOU CAN.

Whenever we do end up in a grappling entanglement on the ground, the goal is to go from a worse position to any better position, or at least a neutral position (where neither person has an advantage), and back to your feet again. Even in this short description of our strategy, things can actually be quite complicated. Add in the fact they could have weapons or friends, and the ground becomes an exponentially dangerous place, no matter your skill level.

Attacker has friends.jpg
On the ground, it can be easy for other people to join in. The head kick is a common attack.

Another reason we must avoid the ground is that, despite the Krav Maga principles of “punch them in the groin or poke them in the eye,” it must be remembered that whatever you can do on the ground, your attacker can do the same thing to you. If you are not proficient on the ground, or have never trained with a high-level grappler, than you may be completely overestimating your ability to get up (as many of our students find out regularly).

Lastly, size matters, no matter what anyone says. If a larger opponent can knock you out easily standing up, they will have a far easier time pinning you to the ground.  At which point they have now taken away your only advantages; speed, skill, and the ability to be explosive. Granted, a proficient small attacker can outclass a larger opponent but there is a point of diminishing returns.

Fighting on the ground is complicated and dangerous, period.

This is one of the reasons that for a UTKM Black belt you are required to supplement your Krav Maga training with grappling, and a blue belt in BJJ, or equivalent, is the mandatory minimum. Why? Because it takes that much focus, for that long, to be truly proficient on the ground, and it must be taken seriously.

Long story short, stay off the ground and don’t ever let your opponent put you there in a self-defence scenario. It may mean the end of the fight for one or both of you.

*Topics under any principle category (Eg. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time.  So check-in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.