For the final installment in my series of articles on ground work or ground fighting, I would like to deal with the tricky issue of getting back on to your feet. Those who have not read the first two articles in this series can check them out here.
As discussed in the first two articles, getting back to your feet should be your primary short-term tactical goal if you find yourself prone. Of course, defence while on the ground and offence to create safer opportunities to get back to your feet are also tactically important but do not represent your ultimate goal while on the ground. In order to reduce the chances of our transition from prone to standing being exploited by an opponent or opponents, we need to maximise our defence through this movement and use our tactical assessment of the situation to choose the optimum opportune moment to transition.
We will be using the same scenario presented in Ground Work Part 2 for the basis of this discussion (ie. A scenario involving multiple, unarmed, standing opponents against a single, unarmed prone opponent).
The following tactical approaches can be used while performing a transition:
How to get up.
Hollywood and the internet is flooded with fancy kip-up movements from a prone position. I would argue that these fancy movements may actually be less useful in a real self-defence situation than a simpler roll onto your feet. There are two reasons for this.
For these reasons, I recommend the use of simple rolls onto your feet in the majority of cases. Of course, this opinion comes with a ship-load of caveats because as I stated in point 1 above, movements executed in self-defence scenarios should only be as complex as they absolutely have to be. As such, there may be a situation where a kip-up style movement may have to be performed for speed or as perhaps as an evasive transition to avoid some kind of attack.
As a general rule when performing a role to your feet, keep your arms and hands in a defensive position throughout the movement to maximise your defence. Cunning opponents will attack as you transition because that is when your defence is most likely to be compromised. Practicing low stances and low stance transitions helps with the movement from prone to standing by increasing the power of the slow and fast twitch muscles in your legs.
These rolls should be practiced forward, backward and to the sides. They must be done very quickly and smoothly to limit exposure to threat. See Figure A below for some photos of examples of transitions using forward, back and side rolls. Variations of these rolls can involve combining them with an attack, such as a sweep or a kick. This can add value by combining the transition with a reduction in threat-vectors but does increase the risk due to an increase in movement complexity.
To sum up this series on ground-work.
Written by SiFu Lester Walters, head of the Chinese Martial Arts and Health Centre Australia
© Chinese Martial Arts and Health Centre Australia 2017. ABN 12 792 347 015