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The Art of Fighting Distance part 2: Grappling and Ground Fighting

In martial arts, the ability to manage fighting distance is crucial, even when the fight takes place on the ground. Understanding how to control distance while grappling can give you a significant advantage in self-defense situations and competitive grappling.

Master Fighting Distance in Jiu Jitsu and Grappling

Let's explore essential techniques that will help you master fighting distance while on the ground.

  1. Utilizing the Guard Position: One of the fundamental positions in ground fighting is the guard position. The guard allows the person on the bottom to control the distance and neutralize their opponent's attacking options. There are different types of guards, including various closed and open guard positions, each having its own advantages and applications. By utilizing techniques involving framing, hip movement, and leg control, you can create a barrier that limits your opponent's ability to strike effectively. This control prevents your opponent from closing in and gaining dominant positions, ultimately neutralizing their offensive capabilities. Additionally, by actively moving your hips and adjusting angles, you can disrupt your opponent's balance and stability, making it challenging for them to mount an effective offense. Mastering fighting distance in guard techniques also opens up opportunities for powerful counterattacks and submissions. By maintaining the right distance, you can create space and angles for sweeps, transitions, and submission attempts. Effective leg control and proper framing techniques enable you to control your opponent's posture and movements, setting up opportunities to execute submissions like armbars, triangles, and omoplatas.

  2. Creating Space with Shrimping and Bridging: When you find yourself in an unfavorable position on the ground, creating space becomes crucial. Techniques like shrimping and bridging can help you create that space and regain control. Shrimping involves hip movement that allows you to escape from underneath your opponent or create distance for offensive attacks. Bridging uses the power of your hips and core to generate force and disrupt your opponent's balance.

  3. Closing the Distance and Initiating Attacks: While it's essential to maintain distance in certain situations, there are also times when closing the distance becomes necessary. By closing the distance, you can initiate attacks and transition to more dominant positions.

Techniques in the video below demonstrate control of distance from the guard position.

During the first technique, Coach Scott quickly closes distance by pulling in the opponent and establishing head and undertook control. From there, driving hips away from the opponent opens up a better angle of attack on the captured arm. Throughout the technique, distance and angle are key to success.

In the second technique, a simple scissor sweep, again we want to create correct distance to place the knee and set up the sweep.

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