No, the title doesn’t refer to Drowning Pool’s song. It refers to a particular reality that most people don’t seem to acknowledge about fights in the real world; y’all goin’ to the ground. Unlike what’s seen in the movies, real fights don’t involve a long, drawn out exchange involving multiple landed hits by both parties while exchanging witty, macho banter. Unless the one who initiates the fight manages to land that first hit, a real fight will usually involve a good handful of missed swings and awkward trips, followed by one or both opponents grappling each other and going to the ground.
For the most part, most traditional instructors advise that a practitioner should focus on one style, only. Sensei always used to preach, “One Style, One Religion, One Love.” And for the most part, i can get on board with that. How can one work towards mastering any given style if one spends their time diluting their time with multiple styles, schools and combat types. Martial art is a subjective thing. One style that suits a particular practitioner may not suit another. This is why one should take time and be patient when choosing a school.
That being said, one also needs to recognize that one can’t truly learn or understand the martial arts without including certain aspects that aren’t included in all styles. For example, we can agree that karate is primarily a striking art. Before everyone jumps on my comments section, I said “primarily.” This means that certain combat styles will lack certain required tools to properly defend oneself in a fight. If your style is mainly offensive or striking, you may not be able to adequately defend yourself by blocking incoming attacks. If one practices nothing but blocks and never learns to throw a strike, one will always be on the defensive and won’t be able to bring the confrontation to a close.
So what happens when the striking and blocking ends and the bodies hit the ground? You ever have someone weighing hundreds of pounds on top of you? Before anyone lets their mind slip down into the gutter, it can be very difficult to throw an efficient strike when you’re rolling around on the ground. This is where learning a grappling art can be integral to proper self defence. Beyond integral. Necessary. I was lucky in that my Sensei also held a black belt in Judo and he incorporated throwing, grappling and pressure points as a standard along with the karate aspect (his school was called The New England Academy of Karate & Judo)
I’m reminded of a full contact match I had while going through basic training. Our instructors thought it would be a good idea to pit me against a Tae Kwon Do black belt. It was an incredible match and we both got our bells rung, but good. We faced a very specific obstacle; our styles weren’t compatible for a controlled fight. As long as he kept his distance, I couldn’t reach him with my small circles blocks and strikes. If I managed to get in close, his high-flying and spinny techniques were useless.
I’m being a bit of a dick in terms of that last comment, but the reality is that in an actual combat situation, that incompatibility would inevitably lead to those opponents going to the ground. The fact that I was in a controlled match is the only thing that prevented that, in my situation. But that’s why I highly recommend taking the time to learn at LEAST the basics of rudimentary grappling and ground work. It could make all the difference in a real life situation. ☯️