Self-Defense Basics: Lesson 9 – On the Ground

Self-Defense Basics: Lesson 9 – On the Ground

Welcome to Lesson #9 in your Self-Defense Basics Course!

In this video, we first discuss how to defend yourself FROM the ground when falling, then ON the ground when dealing with an attacker.

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Some thoughts from Lesson #9…

Did you know that the leading cause of injury-related death for people 65 and older in the United States is falling?

You may never find yourself defending yourself from a violent attacker, but you will take a fall. So, let’s first talk about defending ourselves from the ground.

At some point, growing up meant standing up. Suddenly, taking a fall was embarrassing and the ground something to fear. But that only works against us.

So, try sitting down on the ground with control. If you have to fold your leg behind you or use a hand, that's okay. Just learn to trust your butt!

If you think about it, falling is just dropping your weight, like we talked about in Lesson #5. Of course, in self-defense, dropping all the way to the ground shouldn't be your first choice, but if you have to, you shouldn’t be afraid to do it.

Work up to sitting and falling on your back and sides. Just be sure to always protect your head. Imagine you head like a fish bowl. No matter how you fall, catch it before it hits the ground.

In my experience, the most dangerous part of falling is trying to STOP yourself from falling. That just turns a small fall into a big fall. My advice—don’t stall the fall. When you know you’re going down, accept it.

DEFENSE ON THE GROUND

There are two basic ways you might hit the ground with an attacker–on top or on bottom.

If I fall on top, I stay on the attack and drive to their side. I can use everything we practiced on the wall in Lesson #7– palm heels, elbows, and hammer fists.

If I fall underneath my attacker, I still accept the fall and sit down as fast as I can. But rather than catch my head, I’m going to try to catch the attacker’s head. This will help me control the fall and the bad guy.

Obviously, I don’t want to be crushed under a bad guy’s weight, so the sooner I start turning, the better. Like the idea of bullfighting in Lesson #8, making the bad guy slip past you to hit the ground is going to help you avoid injury and give you more space to kick yourself away or roll up on top.

Of course, you can learn many specialized techniques for fighting on the ground, but for basic self-defense, I’d like to repeat the same concepts we applied standing up. If you think of the ground as a completely different situation that standing up, you might convince yourself that you have no idea what to do and freeze up. But you DO know what to do. You just have to train yourself to do it.

The biggest difference when fighting on the ground is footwork. Here are three ways to use your biggest muscles…

KICKING. If you fall to the ground, immediately get your legs between you and the attacker. That puts your head farthest away from his weapons and aims your strongest weapons straight at him. Remember– head out, feet in!

BUMPING. This is like a gymnast’s bridge, only violent! It’s like driving your car and hitting a speed bump– you get jolted and spill your coffee. Same idea here.

Don't let your attacker settle down. Shake his body and shake his confidence. Bump your hips to make the space you need to get your legs in between and kick yourself back to safety.

SCOOTING. Use your feet to walk backwards and forwards on your back. Try jumping backwards and forwards on your side, too.

If you want to get back on your feet, you have to USE your feet. So, get down and have a little fun just rolling around with your old friend.

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WARNING: The advice and movements shown in this video are for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a doctor before engaging in any exercise or martial arts program.

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