The Daily Oldman and ground grappling in the street

If you haven’t seen this site before, go and checkout The Daily Oldman. There’s a cartoon there almost every day and it more often than not features martial arts. Today’s cartoon had me in stitches as it pretty much captures exactly why ground grappling in the street is not a good self-defense strategy.

Take a look:

Ground grappling in the street self-defense


I’ve written a lot about this in the past (primarily here and here) but this cartoon puts is in one neat visual. Kind of hard to argue with it…

You’ll find a bunch of other really good ones there too. My two favorites are the poodle knee bar and Marc as he’s writing.


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  1. Oke i geth your point. No…. grappling on the street is,nt a good idea (perhaps under verry rare situations when everything else has failed, and it is mano o mano, and you are the superiour grappler, the opponents is unarmed, and a bunch of other factors, buth other than that NO)
    Buth fighting multiple people is only a good idea. When you like to go down fighting (suicide in the viking tradition). You are verry right that MMA will noth geth you far against multiple mofo,s. Buth no other system will.
    I don,t think you, me or Branimir Tudjan would have performed any better than Mayhem against the Ceasar Gracie team. So perhaps some guys might have survived an assault by multiple mofo,s…by a combination of improvisation and lots of luck. Buth the whole MMA sucks is noth correct in my mind. Here are some combat trained special forces of none other than Israel, armed with firearms. And the first guys geth mauled by a bunch of amateurs with iron pole,s.
    Which makes me think that if these verry prepared gentleman could,nt do shit against these brawlers. Then why would some civilian who trains in …..fill the blank. Could handle the Ceasar Gracie Team, or some Hooligans, Or some sociopathic youths, or robbers, or some bikers, or some angry schoolgirls.
    Yeah one might make it by a combination of skills, the situation, improvisation lots of luck (and probably mostly because the opposing force sucks). Buth it will have verry little to do with some uber self defense training system.

    • I understand your point but I think you’re missing a couple things. First, some background on your video. The soldiers who boarded the boat were ordered to use paintball guns and other non-lethal ammunition first. They had hidden firearms with live rounds and only used those after taking casualties. Had they received different orders, namely to board the boat using lethal force from the get go, you would have seen a different scenario: the flotilla men with poles would have been shot down right away. So I think your comparison isn’t valid.

      Also, please remember that soldiers do not specialize in hand to hand combat. The specialize in working as a unit with others and using superior firepower. If they need to use H2H, they messed up big time. So taking them as an example of specialists in that field is IMO not accurate. Which doesn’t mean they are not competent there, only that it isn’t their specialty. This is documented BTW. Just look up the number of hours any soldier spends training H2H combat as opposed to the training time spent on all those other aspects of the job. You’ll see just how very little it is. So here too, I think you’re off the mark.

      As for handling the Gracie team, yup, not much you can do there. Except use weapons, preferably firearms. Just like soldiers normally do…
      There are no guarantees in a fight, never. However, some things seem to work better/more often than others in certain contexts. Going to the ground against multiple opponents seems to be the best solution in only very few instances. Other tactics, like the ones Branimir shows, have a better batting average. Which is the whole point of what I wrote.

  2. I undestand your point. And i agree with most of things you say.
    However these where the guys doing the boarding:
    The special forces of Israel.

    Under training we see that cadets are trained extensively in krav maga.
    Combined that with the armor, paintball weapons, stun grenades, hidden sidearms etc. Combined with the physichal condtioning and traning under stress.
    And the fact that they where prepared. Should make their abilities even in a unexpected hand to hand melee far beyond that of the citizen (and probably most LEO,s and normal military personel).

    Anyway my point was that if these guys can,t handle a bunch hotheads. Why should a civilian who,s training, gear, mindset, preparation does,nt come even close to Israeli tough guys. Have a chance against multiple dudes. So i agree that certain tactics might give a even higher chance of failure than others (rolling on the floor). Buth the best way to stay healthy seems to be prevention and/or carefull preparation. Oh and Tudjan teaches Krav Maga which is the same stuff the Shayetet are trained in. And they did,nt use human shields or great footwork or something other i saw in his videos. Just straight out brawling. And that combined with their weaponry (and an extra team of reinforcements) seemed to have saved the day. Noth saying his stuff does,nt work in other situations. Just saying that MMA does,nt work in a verry, verry bad hopeless situation, does,nt mean other methods would do better. Since from my perspective you took the Strikeforce brawl as an example of why MMA is so bad for multiple dudes.

    • Johnson,

      Your premise is still wrong IMO. Like I said, you need to look at the total hours spent training H2H in comparison to all others. “Trained extensively” means nothing in abstract terms. Also, the wisdom of boarding a hostile craft using non-lethal weapons might be (and actually is) disputed. TO the best of my knowledge, no military unit specializes in operations like this, using non-lethal weapons. For the simple reason that it doesn’t really work all that well and they know it.
      What actually did seem to have saved the day was the ordered to use live ammunition, not anything else.

      The point I was making in that post is against the idea that MMA is the best choice for fighting multiple opponents. This notion is widespread these days. However, I did not say that Branimir’s stuff is the best there is out there and will guarantee your victory. Neither did I say there even is such a thing. There isn’t. You’re drawing conclusions from things I didn’t write. What I did point out is that some tools are better suited for a job than others. Primarily because they are designed for the job whereas others aren’t. But getting the job done will invariably depend on the operator and his skill/luck. The only thing you can do is try your best, using the best available tools.

  3. Hi Wim,
    Thanks for pointing folks in Oldman’s direction. As a cartoonist I often tell people that the secret to humor or “being funny” is just telling the truth at the right time to the right people. I think self defense works the same way, choosing the right strategy for the situation that you are in. When I was doing the cartoon I was thinking about the guys I know the “Get their Jitz” from watching the ufc and don’t really the big picture. Now keep in mind “Oldman” knows better than to bring a knife to a gunfight but he is not above playing the role of the fool to help people see the obvious. Thanks again for finding The Daily Oldman. Your readers can find out more about real “Oldman” at my other site

    • My pleasure. I stop by your site very now and then to catch up on the latest cartoons. They usually leave me grinning in front of my screen. :)
      I thought that cartoon captured the essence of the MMA ground problem particularly well. The humor and the message were in accord, which isn’t always as easy so congrats on doing such a good job.
      I look forward to your upcoming work. :-)

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