One of the common mistakes I’ve seen of late is on Self Defence classes, Women being taught the “guard” position as a “go to” position should they be forced to the ground by an attacker.

Without being too crude, having your attacker positioned between your legs is surely not the best position for a female to be in – and I would suggest, is the position the attacker actually wants to get to!

So, if you end up on the ground, what are your options?

  • Get eye’s on your attacker – this means to get in a position where you can see what they are doing – rather than curling into a ball, head in hands.
  • A foetal position may be a ‘safe’ position in terms of protecting your vital organs, but is not great for being able to defend and counter attack – or react to your attackers movements
  • Whilst being down on the ground is the last place you should be, if you have no other option then your mission should be to keep your opponent at your feet rather than at your head. Use your legs to kick out and your hands and feet to spin around to ensure you keep your attacker at your feet.
  • Get up safely – always aim to get up by stepping back and away from your attacker rather than leaning forwards as your get up. Better still, kick out ferociously and then immediately get up – to create a moment of opportunity to jump to your feet
  • Bring your attacker down – this is another option but requires a little more skill. It involves bringing your attacker down to your level, ie the floor, before you get up – in order to help even up the odds and give you a better chance of standing up and escaping
  • Go crazy! Above all, if you are going to fight back and create escape opportunities, you need to go crazy. Lashing out with everything you have, screaming, shouting, clawing, biting, kicking, you name it. You will not win this type of situation with a clinical, stylised, “cool looking” technique.
  • Your mission is to get back to your feet as quickly as possible and then get away – do whatever you have to in order to achieve that

As Always…

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al x


  1. Whilst I completely support the intentions of this article, I feel that it glosses over some of the important facts and misses some vital information.

    I agree, of course, that getting up and going is infinitely preferable to ‘grappling’ in almost all circumstances but I think you need to underline just how difficult this is. The only way you can even hope to begin to attempt this is to drill it endlessly. And even then it will be tough. Anyone reading should be told that for any of this to have the slightest chance of changing anything they will have to practise. And hard.

    Getting up away from your attacker is life saving advice. It’s such an important thing and should be practised and drilled. It should almost be in red and underlined! As should most of the rest of the article.

    So yeah I agree with the sentiment completely but it will only be of benefit if practised.

    I’m also a little concerned that you have not mentioned the sheer naked emotion that grips you if attacked. Some people freeze. Some people fight. Some people run (if they can). Whatever you might think about who you are – you might react differently than you expect.

    What is important is to survive. And that is your only goal.

    ‘Going crazy’ is perhaps a valid strategy in some circumstances.

    But don’t forget p1ssing and sh1tting yourself (if you can manage it) and begging for mercy whilst sobbing and crying. This strategy is perhaps the most natural and if you find yourself in this position then so be it. If it convinces a potential attacker to leave you alone then you should tell this story as proudly as if you manage to break his knee.

    You can forget ego. You can only hope to get out with as little physical damage as possible.

    Whatever strategy you need to accomplish that – is the right one.

    But I said at the start that I support the article and that is true. Running is the best form of self defence so you should know how to run and you can practise that alone. But maybe you will need to get up before you can run? Firstly you can practise staying up whilst an instructor tries to take you to the ground. And perhaps you will be on the ground and need to get up – you can practise that too with an instructor who will hold you down.

    Life is a series of risks and choices. And if you choose to practise some of this stuff with an instructor, over many hours, then you slightly increase your chances of survival if the proverbial hits the fan.

    Sorry to rant. You guys are connected to the root of martial arts and are clearly of pedigree. And I guess this article would be far too long and scary if it covered all of the detail. But I just felt that the editing that has taken place to achieve brevity had perhaps cut too much flesh from the bone.

    Oh well. Happy training kids.


    • Al Peasland

      Hi Alex

      Thanks for your comments – and all vaid points.
      Everything you have raised makes sense – I guess the points you raise that are not in this article – are only missing because they will have been covered already somewhere else on my website in other articles.
      This article was just looking at the concept that people term anti-grappling and throwing out a few suggestions.



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