Do Karate and Grappling Mix?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: kick boxing
13 Oct 2008

7 Responses to “Do Karate and Grappling Mix?”

  1. Says:

    I think there are still some who seem to realise that to do well in MMA knowing either just striking or grappling is enough. MMA fighters have come along so much since the early UFC days and not even knowing the basics of each phase of combat is enough. You have to be really good at striking and grappling, and must also be able to blend it all together. People think that becuase they attend a striking class and a grappling class that they know enough. You have to train MMA to be a MMA fighter, meaning youre sparring should invlove striking and grappling, standing and on the floor, not just one or the other.

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Mark,
    I generally agree with you but want to point out some seem to favor either striking or grappling and seem to do ok. These fighters do not seem to get the titles so that strategy can only go so far.
    One would have to be crazy (I think) to enter a MMA match with only a stand up or ground game. I used to wonder if Uriah Faber could hang with striking but noted his striking game with Jens Pulver. So I do think if you want to excel at MMA – you do have to have all of the skills.

  3. David Hays Says:

    Ok here we go, my (old) two cents……..

    Gracie was on one of the news shows the other night talking about the original UFC and sharing his views on fighters. After listening and watching him I’m more convinced then ever stand-up fighters we need to gain understanding of how people take you to the ground and of the ground fighting itself.

    He also talked about the “skill level” of a fighter being the deciding factor. He said, If you have two street bums fighting, the fight will most likely always end up in a wrestling match or go to the ground, however if you have one skilled fighter and one street bum the advantage will go to the skilled fighter. (Of course I paraphrased his comments)

    So where does that leave us on our discussion of the chicken and the egg, stand up vs. ground fighters (Transition to the ground or ground first)?

    I’m convinced that if you have a skilled stand up fighter against a guy with moderate to no ground experience (I believe this is most of the people you will face on the street) then him trying to take you to the ground will be a non factor in determining the outcome of the confrontation. Now, if we move up the ladder of experience, and you happen to get into the altercation with an experienced ground fighter, and you just know stand-up, then you have a problem.

    So I believe we need to break the training into two parts. If we are teaching a student with no formal training at all, then it is probably best to teach the ground work as we teach them the stand-up basics.

    However, we also need to consider the experienced stand up fighters. If they are already good on their feet, then the focus should be on transitional moves, quick simple defensive moves against someone trying to take them down and ways to get back up should be taught as we learn the ground.

    It comes down to playing to your strengths……… Example; I have long arms and legs and I’m best on my feet where I can kick and strike people. Why would I not want to stay there and be able to fight from my position of power?

    My personal goal is to become good enough on the ground so if a fight goes there I do not get my ass kicked, however I no desire to abandon my stand up. And from that view point I need the middle ground filled in for me as I’m learning the ground…..

    Your thoughts????

  4. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Well stated Dave – I’m looking forward to learning transitions and how to keep my preverbal head above water if the fight transitions to the ground!

  5. David Hays Says:

    Thanks John,

    Looking forward to working out with you at the San Diego seminar in Nov.


  6. Matt Klein Says:

    Hi Guys, I started training in Jujutsu here in Australia shortly after watching Royce Gracie dominate guys much bigger and stronger. It sold me. When I started, I found that if I could remain standing, my boxing and Kenpo skills kept me in good shape. But they invariably got me to the ground, where I lost to guys 20 lbs. lighter and weaker physically than me. They tied me up like a boa strangles its prey. It was a real eye opener. After training there for over a year, I just got to the point where I could neutralize their skills on the ground, but it took a long time. It takes much more stamina on the ground than people realize. I am of the belief that you must do a lot of sparring on the ground and standing up to get good enough to fight in both areas. It has a lot to do with relaxing and going with the flow, which conserves your energy and gives you more stamina. Any bit of training on the ground is good, but I feel it takes a long time to get really good at it.

  7. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Thanks for your insight Matt. I just took the seminar at Todd’s studio (American Kenpo Karate in San Diego) and am real sore and humble today! :)
    I echo Terry Crook’s statement that there is allot of thinking involved in jui jitsu, way more then I had to do in karate. With karate, after I became good at it, I would economize motion and save wind for the flurries… relaxing the rest of the time. I rolled with Mick Leone and found I was exhausted in short order. I could not just rely on muscle memory (I had no memory) of striking the openings as I could in karate.
    Anyway – I agree with you that ground fighting should be part of any overall fighting strategy – even if you don’t end up on the ground.