Instructor Jim Halton of Krav Maga Bristol writes:
Here are 3 tips for students beginning to train in groundfighting.
In the Titans club at Krav Maga Bristol we train sparring every session. We train stand up sparring but we also train in sparring on the ground. When new students to Krav Maga Bristol first start rolling it can be an uncomfortable experience. A mix of confusion, nervousness, fatigue, trying to use your strength instead of technique you find yourself exhausted. Getting submitted by your fellow student again and again isn’t much fun and eventually you will ask, “How can I get better at ground sparring?….
The first thing is to acknowledge that all of us go through it. Sometimes you are the hammer, sometimes you are the nail. When you first start, you’re the nail! But remember we have all been there before! Other students at Krav Maga Bristol will be there to support you.
Secondly, remember that there are no quick fixes that will work overnight. You need to perservere through the first few months of training. It will get easier, you will learn skills and you will improve but there isn’t anything you can learn in a couple of classes that will make you better than someone who has been training for longer than you. There is no cheating mat time. If you want to be better than another student, better than the next person who’s going to attack you, or even just better than you yourself. You need to put the time in against real live opponents. Mat time. Time with the gloves on. Sparring stand up or ground, there’s no cheating it.
Here are 3 tips to help you improve your time spent on the mats at Krav Maga Bristol:
Focus on learning the basics
Make notes on what you have learnt in class, practice what you have learnt in your spare time between classes. Keep it basic. Try to learn and remember the names of different positions and movements.
Use the moves you have learnt in class
Don’t rely on strength, even if you are the strongest person you will tire out. Try to use the moves that you have learnt in class, it might take a while but eventually you will be a much better fighter than if you just struggle for dear life using all your strength. Keep your head in the game and work for moves which you know exist. If you’re on bottom in side mount, rather than wildly struggle and tire yourself out, think about which technique you need to use to escape. And if you don’t know….ask!
Technique over power
When you aren’t sure what techniques to use its only natural to rely on instinct and power but in the long term against stronger opponents or when you are fatigued this won’t work.
Whenever you find yourself in a position, pause and take a moment to think what the technical solution is. For example, you are trapped in side mount, do you shrimp and pull guard or do you try and push your opponent off you using all your strength?
If you aren’t sure what to do then make a mental note to ask your instructor how to get out of that position.
Remember: the purpose of sparring is to learn and to improve, not just to beat your partner.