When the fight goes to the ground our first priority is to establish a position that enables us to effectively control the opponent whether we are on the bottom or the top position. And the advantage is definitely on establishing a top position; with gravity on your side and superior mobility our ability to control the opponent is far superior than being on the bottom position and that includes the guards, which still have your back down and limit your ability to move as effectively as you can from the top position. When we are in a competitive situation in which there are rules and a referee controlling the action we have several top positions that we can use, and transition between, to provide us with a number of attacks that can deal with the numerous situations that we may face and also allow us to work game plans that we favor. However, in the street we have a major factor that limits our ground game; the likelihood of the adversary having accomplices. This clearly makes the use of guards a very dangerous proposition. However, we are also limited in our top game being far too vulnerable to attack while holding the back mount, side control, front control and even the top mount. The main drawback of most of the ground positions, in fact the whole situation of going to ground is that it reduces our mobility. Not such a big deal in the competitive arena but very crucial in a street fight. So why bother going to the ground or developing a ground game if you are interested in protecting yourself in the street? One advantage of taking the fight to the ground, particularly in the street is that it levels the game a bit against faster, stronger and younger adversaries. And of course sometimes – certainly if the statistics are to be believed – most street fights go to the ground anyway. So it is definitely necessary to develop an effective ground game together with the ability to get back to your feet again and skills that can neutralize the adversary’s attempts at taking you to the ground. Without doubt the best position for street confrontation is the knee-ride or knee on the belly position.
- This position gives great control on the ground while still providing excellent maneuverability to change position and stand up again. However, it does require training and drilling to develop efficient and competent control of the opponent.
- The knee ride transitions easily into arm locks, leg locks and chokes with or without the kimono and is excellent for striking the downed adversary.
- However, for the street, particular care must be taken in respect of the groin which is exposed to grabbing or striking, you must train the ability to control the near side arm by securing the tricep, above the elbow, so that the arm can be controlled sufficiently to prevent these attacks.
- Train the knee ride, for MMA and the street, by dropping the knee onto the ribs and sternum.
- Work the knee ride by changing sides and develop the ability to control the knee ride by placing the shin and knee in from the neck/collarbone region onto the sternum.
- In the event of the downed adversary having accomplices he/she can be positioned between you and them so that it provides an obstacle that interferes with their attacks.
- The fight against the downed opponent can be transitioned between striking from the knee ride to allowing the adversary to attempt standing and then attacking him/her during the recovery movement.
In summary, it is very advantageous if not necessary to develop a competent ground game or the ability to neutralize being taken to the ground. The most practical position to develop for the street fight situation is the knee ride. Learn and train the knee ride so that you control the adversary effectively, can strike effectively from it and transition between different positions should the situation allow for the application of finishing chokes or locks.