"How the hell did he do that?!?"

There are many. many martial arts styles out there. Some are more effective and brutal than others.

Of the striking arts, I have particular and profound respect for tae kwon do (done properly), kyokushin karate, muay thai and its ancient ancestor muay boran, and of course Rhon Mizrachi-style Krav Maga.

(I also hold a degree of respect for wing chun, although I've seen the way that some of its students throw punches and I find their technique to be a bit lacking because they do not maximise their range.)

Of the ground-based traditional arts, I have profound respect for Brazilian (and Japanese) jiu jitsu, Russian sambo, the ancient art of pankration- and judo.

Why judo?

Because of this:

My goal is to get as far as I can possibly go with my current studies in Rhon Mizrachi Krav Maga, which is primarily focused on striking but, thanks to our teacher, is unique among Krav Maga schools for its insistence on learning ground-fighting. I've trained with the Israelis, in the motherland of the art, and even they don't train on the ground.

Most Krav Maga practitioners avoid fighting on the ground as much as possible because they argue (correctly) that the moment the fight goes to the ground in a street environment, with multiple potential combatants and threats, you are as good as dead.

Our teacher argues, again correctly, based on his many years of experience as a bar bouncer and a bodyguard, that most fights are going to end up on the ground anyway- so you might as well learn how to fight there. So we do, but only to a limited degree.

So which ground-based art should any aspiring student pick? BJJ, sambo, or judo?

If I were forced to choose at gunpoint, I'd have to go with judo. I don't know enough about sambo and there aren't that many combat sambo practitioners nearby to realistically explore that as an option, so I am content to hold my peace on that subject.

Now bear with me for a few minutes. There are practitioners (both past and present) of both BJJ and judo who read my work, so my apologies to them if I misrepresent their arts in what follows. Any such errors are mine alone.

In my experience, between the two arts, BJJ is the more technical and difficult once you're on the ground. But most sparring in BJJ starts with the assumption that you've already hit the ground. And while it is an incredibly technical and difficult art, there is also a clear emphasis on the fact that your safety and physical well-being is in someone else's hands (literally). So while there is unquestionably a warrior ethic within Brazilian jiu jitsu, it is a comparatively gentler art for ground-fighting.

Judo, on the other hand, starts on the feet and engages in significant amounts of grip-fighting before taking the fight to the ground. And, as you can see from the videos above, it is a highly aggressive art. It is unquestionably highly technical as well.

That combination of aggression, technicality, and smooth transition from stand-up to ground makes it an excellent art for someone with a strong striking background to study.

I've maintained for years that a man should never stop learning as much as one can about the fighting arts if he wants to become as complete a fighter as he can be, and I practice my own techniques constantly in order to be good at fighting.

I don't think I'm actually all that good, since I have no natural talent for this sort of thing and I started training in martial arts in my late twenties, but I'm pretty confident that if I got into a scrap with the average untrained idiot on the street, then I could probably handle myself.

In the meantime, though, as I continue to grow and develop as a student of the fighting arts, I will always pay appropriate respect and gratitude to the real warriors who exist to show the rest of us just how amazing the fighting arts can really be.


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