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If you got into a fight tomorrow, what do you think would happen? What do you think the most likely attack would be? How would you defend against it?

Below is a video I shot with Funker Tactical for their new Martial Arts YouTube channel on how to defend against a sucker punch. Far and away, the most common attack on the street is someone trying to punch someone else in the face. Arguably, this is more difficult depending on the degree of indication someone gives you prior to the attack. A “sucker punch” is one that comes from someone who hasn’t given typical indication that his intention is to fight. It is exceedingly difficult to defend against something about which you have little to no forewarning.

In training martial arts, you will see a variety of techniques on how to deal with such an attack. The video illustrates my favorite, from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, using a non-threatening posture preceding the attack, moving into a clinch range to nullify his punches, then throwing him to the ground. I could have used more strikes during this, but when it comes to strikes I like to be selective, energy-efficient and not create unnecessary space. Also, after securing the clinch, a variety of takedowns could be used, depending on the posture of the attacker.

Why Grapple?

Grappling benefits the smaller, weaker person vs the larger and stronger attacker. The larger person can hit harder and reach farther. Preemptive striking as an alternative, would require the defender to be faster than the attacker. It is a mistake to ever assume you will be faster or stronger than the person attacking you…why would someone attack someone physically superior to them? Also, this situation, as I describe in the beginning, may not actually result in a fight. Just because someone is being aggressive and confrontational does not necessarily mean a physical fight has to follow. If you had a possibility to diffuse or avoid a fight, and you instead chose not to do so, then you have failed.

This Isn’t My Idea

I didn’t invent this technique. Let me make that clear. I was taught this technique by Royce Gracie, and I assume he was taught by another family member in turn. I think everyone has his own take or way of performing a technique once he learns it, based either on preference or ability. I mention this to pay respect to my teacher and to not misrepresent any concepts that are not totally my own. Having said that, there are millions of techniques out there, some better than others for certain people, and constant revisions and improvements. This technique isn’t perfect, but there is no such thing as a perfect technique. Martial Arts is a game of percentages focused on what can keep you safest in a fight. Training is the thing. So go do it.

I’ve been switching things around and showing more standing BJJ concepts and techniques in videos lately. Here is a nice chain of sweeps and submissions starting from standing position. I hope you like it. If you do, then please share and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

That’s what we want, right? I know that when I started taking Tae Kwon Do when I was a teenager, I wanted to be able to do flying, twisting, tornado dragon kicks like I saw in the movies. No one wants to wait and spend the required necessary time establishing a base and developing coordination and the bodily awareness it takes to pull off amazing athletic endeavors. We have to be patient. And maybe sometime amid that trial of patience, we lose interest before we achieve our goals and we quit. Most people quit. More quit than stick with it.

You start certain martial arts and you have to spend so much time learning the mechanics of standing, blocking, punching, kicking, etc. before you ever learn an application that can be considered even remotely practical or useful. Many martial arts, traditionally speaking, seem to me to have similar problems as the modern education system in that you learn for the test and not for real-world application. Jiu-Jitsu on the other hand, was such a refreshing change of pace for me when I came to it. I learned immediately the most efficient, practical means of common scenarios one might encounter in a real fight. Of course, even these techniques, simple as they are, still require repetition and training. However, the application was apparent and the gratification of feeling like I did something was much more immediate.

I don’t discount the virtue of learning proper alignment and misalignment, base, structural principles and body awareness training on their own. Actually, I think these are the most important benefits that the majority of us can attain from studying any martial art or physical work. I only write this to expound on how beautiful it is that Jiu-Jitsu practice builds these attributes in you as you practice the techniques, rather than having to establish them as a prerequisite to training. The principle work is built beneath the surface of the movements, and it reveals itself along the journey. It is like walking into an art class and either being told to master one paint stroke before you are allowed to paint a picture versus being given a canvas and being shown how to paint a complete composition, then discovering afterward how you learned to improve your strokes along the way.

It’s foolish to expect instant gratification from something as complex as martial arts, especially considering that much of martial arts training is learning how to move in ways that are oftentimes counterintuitive or counter instinctive. But from what I have experienced, Jiu-Jitsu offers a more easily digestible process of development. In our fast-food, I-want-it-yesterday, instant gratification culture, it is nice to come across something like Jiu-Jitsu. The most gratifying thing in the world is not just getting immediate results, but also learning that those results carried with them layers of further-reaching results that continue on for the rest of your life in every aspect.