Ground Survival

As noted previously, Israeli Krav Maga survival can generally be summarized, “What we do up, we do down.” In other words, whatever we do from an upright position, with modification and your weight properly positioned, we do from a ground position. This includes positioning the defender for optimum secondary-weapon deployment. And just as there are no rules in an “up” fight, there are no rules in a “down” fight. Groin strikes, throat strikes, eye gouges, and biting are all viable and are ground fighting options.

What to do

Do not go to the ground if it can be helped. A second assailant or multiple assailants could come to the first assailant’s aid. To state the obvious, fighting multiple adversaries on the ground is extremely difficult—hence the importance of developing your infighting and anti-takedown capabilities to remain standing. Ground movement obviously differs from standing movement. Ground survival can allow one combatant superior control and positioning, preventing the other from defending, disentangling, or escaping as he might while standing. Krav maga groundwork should be thought of as “what you do up, you do down,” with additional specific ground-fighting capabilities such as practiced (secondary) weapon deployment for professionals. Remember, krav maga uses many standing combatives on the ground, including groin, eye, and throat strikes in combination with joint breaks and dislocations designed to maim the adversary.

As noted, in counterattacking, krav maga usually targets the assailant’s soft tissue, including his groin, throat, eyes, and knees. These combatives specifically take into account the adversary’s physiological reaction to counterstrikes such as a knee or kick to the groin that will lurch the body forward or a thumb gouge to the eye that will jolt the head back, exposing the groin for further strikes.

If long-range lower-body strikes and intermediate-range upper-body strikes do not neutralize or at least keep your adversary at bay, your adversary can close the distance to grab hold of you. The fight then becomes an “infight” because it involves short combatives, including elbows, knees, uppercut and shovel punches, clinches, and holds. Striking and surprise attacks are integral to clinching and other standing control holds. To strike, you must create separation from your adversary.

Defending against grabs, traps, and takedowns is an indispensable skill. Upper- and lower-body strikes, if improperly executed or well defended by your adversary, can place you in a precarious position resulting in a trap or takedown. Well-executed upper- and lower-body combatives minimize this risk—but there is still a risk, especially if you are fighting against someone who is skilled in ground combat.