Self-Defense Basics: Lesson 9 – On the Ground


Welcome back! Ando again from Happy Life Martial Arts and
this is Lesson #9 in your Self-Defense Basics Course. Did you know that the #1 cause of injury-related
death for people 65 and over in the United States is falling? When you add the number of people who take
a fall and suffer brain injuries or broken bones, the numbers are shocking. I tell you this because you may never be in
a life and death struggle with a violent attacker, but you absolutely will take a fall. Maybe even before the end of this video. So, today, let’s first talk about defending
yourself from the ground, then we’ll talk about how to defend yourself on the ground. When you were a kid, falling, rolling around,
and throwing yourself on the ground were probably fun, right? Well, what happened? At some point, growing up meant standing up. Suddenly, taking a fall was embarrassing. Taking a fall was something to be afraid of. But that’s crazy. It’s time to make friends again with Mother
Earth. Start off by simply standing and sitting down. You can sit straight down or fold one leg
behind the other. If you need your hand to help you down, that’s
okay. The big idea is to start to appreciate those
two soft pillows built into your body—they’re called your butt. Use them. Trust them. Love them. Since you’ll be getting up while you practice,
you might as well build some good self-defense habits. Keep your eyes open, one hand up, and stay
balanced. If you turn around or lean over, you might
get kicked in the head, so get to a knee and stand up in your stance. If you think about it, falling is just dropping
your weight, like we talked about in Lesson #5. You can drop to a knee, you can drop to your
butt. You can drop on your back, you could drop
on your belly. Of course, in self-defense, I don’t want
you to drop your weight all the way to the ground unless you have to. But if you have to, you shouldn’t be afraid
to do it. Okay. Now, let’s talk about protecting your head. Think of your head like a fish bowl. If you saw your favorite fish, Freddy, sliding
off the table in his bowl, what would you do? You would dive and catch it. Well, I’m here to tell you, my friend—your
brain is just as important as Freddy the fish. So, practice sitting down and catching your
head. Try rolling straight back. Then try rolling to the side. If you fall forward, try to turn as you fall
and land on your side. Remember—if you fall and break your shoulder,
break your hip, or twist a knee, well, yeah–that’s a sad story, but at least you’ll be alive
to tell it. If you fall and hit your head, though, that
might be the end of your story. So, keep you priorities straight and keep
your hands by your head. One last thought. In my experience, the most dangerous part
of falling is trying to stop yourself from falling. You slip, you know you’re going down, but
you stick out your hands and you hop across the room trying to stay on your feet anyway. No, no, no, no! That just turns a small fall into a big fall. My advice—don’t stall the fall. When you know you’re going down, just say,
“Okay, I’m going down,” and then control it. Sit down and catch your head as fast as you
can. Hopefully, you now feel a little bit better
about falling on your own. But what if an attacker knocks you down? What if you take a hit or get tackled? Or what if you slip or trip and pull the attacker
down on top of you? Does that change anything that we’ve been
practicing so far? No. Not really. Let’s take a quick look at the two main
ways you might find yourself on the ground with an attacker. If you’d like to keep hitting that pillow
you were using in Lesson #7 and 8, go right ahead. But I’m lucky. I have this fancy pillow. This is my training partner, Julio. Say hey, Julio. That is so Julio. Okay. Number one. Let’s say we fall on top of the attacker. Okay. Let’s use the rules from Lesson #7. I’m going to push in, go on the attack,
and try to drive to the side. The good news here is that all of the strikes
you practiced in Lesson #7 still apply here. You can still use your palm heels, you can
still use your headbutt, and biting if you have to. You can still use your hammer fists, you can
still use your elbows, you can even smash his head into the ground. Sorry, Julio. And this time, you have the added benefit
of having gravity to back you up. Consider this–if you can touch your attacker,
you can hurt your attacker. And if you hurt your attacker or even just
frighten them, there’s a chance that they’re going to turn away from you on their own,
which only helps your goal of driving over to the side. No matter how it happens, whether you turn
them, whether they turn on their own, or whether you knock their arm across, getting to the
side is always your ultimate goal. Then I want to get back to my feet. So, I’m going to try and drop a knee on
to the body, on to their neck, on to their face, maybe both, whatever I can do to start
building back up to my feet so I can back away to safety. The second way you might find yourself on
the ground with an attacker is underneath him, on the bottom. First things first. As you’re falling, I still want to follow
the rule to sit down as fast as I can. But one little difference here is that as
I’m falling with an attacker, I would rather catch his head instead of mine. Holding on to the attacker’s head helps
control the speed of the fall and control what he can do to me. If I let go of his head, or if I let go of
whatever I’m holding on to, then he has the chance to protect himself in the fall
and to keep attacking me. Now, don’t worry–if you let go reflexively
because you’ve been training, and you catch your head so it doesn’t hit the ground,
that’s still a smart move. Just make sure you get your hands back in
between and back into the fight as fast as you can. Obviously, I don’t want to be crushed like
a bug under the weight of an attacker. So, like in Lesson #8, as I pull in my attacker,
as I accept the fall, I’m also going to start turning as much as I can. Think of it like bullfighting, once again,
but in the air and on your back. Anything you can do to pull this attacker
closer and start turning him past you to let his bodyweight slip by you and go into the
ground, that’s going to save you from injury and put you in a better position. Even if I end up flat on my back, the goal
is still going to be the same. Pull him in to limit his freedom, start impacting
him with palm heels, and headbutts, and elbows, or whatever you can do, and start driving
to the side. My goal is still to try to get to the side,
get behind him, so that I can free up my legs, put them in front of me, kick, kick, kick
and back away to safety. Again, did you notice how the strategies we
covered in Lessons #7 and 8 are being applied all over again here on the ground? If I’m on top, I push in and try to turn
them. If I’m on bottom, I pull them closer and
try to turn me. I’m also using the same stance that we covered
in Lesson #3. My hands are up, my chin is down, and I’m
keeping my elbows and my knees between me and the attacker. One more similarity–I also make sure that
I’m always facing my attacker. I don’t want to turn around and point all
of my weapons away from the bad guy while all of the bad guy’s weapons are pointing
straight at me. Don’t get me wrong–you can learn many powerful
techniques specifically designed for fighting on the ground, but for basic self-defense,
I like to keep things simple. And that means applying the same principles
that we used standing up down here on the ground. Here’s the thing–if you think of the ground
as a completely different situation, requiring completely different skills and completely
different techniques, you might convince yourself that you have no idea what to do. You might just freeze up. But you do know what to do. You just have to train to do it. Okay, okay—there is one big difference between
self-defense on the ground and self-defense on your feet–footwork. When you’re flat on your back, it’s easy
to think that you can’t use your legs anymore. But that would be a mistake. Your legs are still the biggest bones and
biggest muscles in your body, so you should use them every chance you get. Here are three ways to do just that. The first way is kicking. If you fall or get knocked to the ground,
immediately find the attacker and get your legs in between. It doesn’t matter if he’s standing or
on his knees or just trying to jump on top of you. Getting your legs in between puts your head
farthest away from his weapons and aims your strongest weapons straight at him. So, however you hit the ground, remember–get
your head out and your feet in. And then start kicking. Kick at his knees, kick into his groin, kick
up at his face, whatever. Just drive him back so you make the space
to get back to your feet. The second way. Let’s say you can’t get your legs in between
you and the attacker. Maybe they’re just too close or already
on top of you. Okay. That’s when we might want to use a bump. That’s where I use my legs to lift up my
core as high as I can and maybe roll up on to a shoulder. It’s just like a gymnast’s bridge, only
more violent. I also what to make sure I keep my hands by
my head. I’m also going to make sure that I never
lift up my body and compress my own neck and smash my head into the ground. Last point, I’m not going to jump when I
do this like a crazy frog, I’m always going to keep both feet or at least one foot on
the ground as I push up. By pushing up, you make space in between you
and the bad guy for at least a moment, which will give you the chance to put your legs
back in between. Remember–if you have a bad guy on top of
you, you never want him to feel comfortable. You want him to feel unsettled and off-balance. It’s like when you’re driving your car
and you hit a speed bump that you didn’t see coming. It gives you a jolt and makes you spill your
coffee. Same idea here. Your bump is the speed bump that he didn’t
see coming. So, give him a jolt. Shake his body and shake his confidence. The third way to use your legs on the ground
I’m just going to call scooting or sliding. Use your feet to walk yourself backwards. Walk yourself forwards. You can use your feet to jump backwards. You can use your feet to jump forwards. You cause your feet to run forwards. You can use your feet to run backwards. You can use your feet to switch so you can
roll over quickly or just switch sides as your attacker is moving around. To me, I consider all of that footwork. It’s also a lot of fun. One little tip. When you’re practicing on the ground, wear
some pants and a long sleeve shirt. That’ll help prevent rug burns. It may sound like a pain, but believe me,
it’s worth the trouble, because when it comes to self-defense on the ground, if you
want to get back on your feet, you have to use your feet. So, get down and have some fun. Here’s what I recommend. Practice your bump as soon as you wake up. Presumably, you sleep lying down, unless you’re
a bat. So, when you wake, put your pillow on your
belly, give it a bump, turn, kick off the covers, and scoot yourself off the bed. Call me crazy, but I think kicking off the
blankets is a great way to kick off the day. If you’re finding value in this series of
self-defense lessons, please share them with someone you love. I’ll see you again in Lesson #10. Until next time, spend some time with your
mother–Mother Earth, and keep fighting for a happy life.

48 Replies to “Self-Defense Basics: Lesson 9 – On the Ground

  1. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  2. When we was taught to catch a fall we was taught to spread our legs and arms all the way out palms face down it absorbs most of the impact

  3. When on the bottom all that moving from open guard can allow them to pass your guard and be in side control

  4. Like I said some time ago – Gravity is gonna try to kill you, with or without a bad guy to aid it. But I still think I'm going to break falls my own way. Still, for basics, good advice. Thank you.

  5. Hii Ando..What about guy sitting on your chest and punching?? Like Jon Snow did to Roose Bolton in the climax of Battle of the Bastards??

  6. Another fantastic video Sensei Ando! I have a question re. breakfalls: is there a way to do a breakfall that doesn't involve bending the knees into a squat position (other than THUD-OUCH)? I'm an old lady with crunchy knees and bending them while weight-bearing is super painful!

  7. Real food for practicing thought,just a quarry,Where can i get the happy life full sleeve you are wearing in training?OSU

  8. Sound advice. Iโ€™ll suggest to my self-defence instructor that we could spend a lesson on break-falls and ground fighting.

  9. Ando Crazy thing this guy hit me today in school so i hit him back and punched him in his head bad idea so i go for the ribs and mauy Thai kick to the tight and ran home to staftey this is after school should i have done that or talked to a teacher

  10. Ando, you're the best in your presentations. Practical value aside (which is very high) you are such a skillful communicator. Looks like you've been doing this a long time on national tv or something. You're a real pro! Thank you for your generous and very much appreciated efforts.

  11. In our school, doing a backfall, we slap the ground with both forearms to ~45ยฐ, hands out about level with hips. We tuck the chin.

  12. I was taught to fall on my side when I did judo back in the day it makes perfect sense. Thanks for the lesson Ando I always trust your advise and by the way I had that cold shower and man did it wake me up!! ๐Ÿ˜†

  13. Clear, concise, and conscious instructions as always. Another great video! Thank you for being an amazing teacher and sharing your knowledge

  14. Very effective intro to grounded self-defense, especially for your predominantly Western audience. But you did forget to tell them not to bite their own tongues — chin down, touch roof of mouth with tongue, exhale on impact. This is one of those fine motor skills that must be trained and conditioned through massive repetitions before it becomes an autonomic response. Pretty darned valuable!

  15. Great job! Really appreciate your approach to showing some ground work Keeping it simple and easy to remember. Just went over some of this in class this week.

  16. Aww, Ando! This is one of your best videos! People need to learn to FALL. I taught my students AND instructors how to fall. My students and I did an intermission entertainment thingy for a Muscle Contest thingy and one of the moves in my choreography was a full frontal fall, catching oneself within the last 2 inches. People were blown away how easy that was when you have a basic understanding of movement. We all fell flat and then did this inchworm thingy, grins! Michael Jackson's…can't remember but we're all dressed as dudes even the dudes in our 'group'…with dry ice and smokey ambience…

    Falling and rolling, dissipating the energy once you get to the ground…I had 70 year old women falling and rolling (as well as doing one pull up and 10 full push ups!).

    ย The only time I've been hurt by a fall was when I was bucked off straight up and had no trajectory to dissipate the energy nor time to 'choose' where I want to fall. (Well there were a few times I fell hanging by my knees on the monkey bars) Ugh. Anyway, this one time being bucked off at a stand still, I broke 3 ribs and collapsed a lung…15 or so miles from civilization. Oh so much fun.

    The one reason that happened is because I stopped being alert, I WAS ON THE CELL PHONE trying to get an appointment with my farrier!! My fault, I didn't see the lead rope attached to my other horse I was ponying get under Cowboy's tail, the horse I was riding, who is very very athletic and jumps UP 6 feet THEN bucks you off, landing on my back! On a big rock. I got back on but I couldn't YELL at my horses nor cuss! The podunk emergency room in the podunk town was even scarier.

    Every student in my classes learned to fall and breathe correctly. They also HAD to have the proper shoes for lateral movement, NO RUNNING shoes! Ando, your movements are almost perfect. I have never seen such grace and control and perfect balance except for major dancers.

    Shoulder muscles are second for being a very bad design in our human bodies, the first horribly designed part of the human body is the knee! Your knees shouldn't be bothering you with what I am seeing in your movements. Are they? How about your neck? Hips? Call me Dr. Stormy! Grins!!

    ย The tiny muscles of our shoulder girdle just don't have a chance to keep up with all the work we do building the big muscles such as pectorals, deltoids, triceps, middle trapezius and Spinaea erectus the antagonists of our tiny rotator cuff muscles. Teres major and minor, Rhomboids…I've torn my suprascapularis full thickness tear, a major abductor and all of the shoulder doctors have all said they will never be able to fix. I'll not be able to lift my left arm more than 45 degrees from my body. My L arm muscles have atrophied noticably. Sigh. Full thickness tears of these smaller muscles can be a huge problem if you do not fix them. They sort of wind up, snap back elastically, under other muscles and bone and are hard to grab and pull back to reattach them…like the vacuum cord?

    The fresher the tear the better chance of reattaching. My doctor was blown away when I finally mumbled my shoulder hurt and he took an MRI and next visit? He told me he'd never seen a more horribly mutilated shoulder on a 40 year old, ever. I guess I was able to muddle through major physical labor with mangled rotator cuff muscles because the other muscles knew how to 'take over'…I've had two cortisone shots in the shoulder and if they offer you that please take it! Only twice, but wow. You are ON for days. Feels so so so goood. But you can only have two. Be careful when you don't feel any pain. Pain is what makes you slow down and take better care of torn muscles. huggs.

  17. Thank you so much ๐Ÿ˜„this one of the best videos๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘l appreciate everything you doing๐Ÿ˜‰please go on โœŠ

  18. Sensei Ando,
    Just watched another one of your videos: On The Ground. Found it inspiring, very practical, and basic. Enjoyed it. Please provide us with more videos.
    A suggestion: please make a basic self defense video for 65 and over seniors. With practical strategies and movement instructions due to their limited strength, flexibility and other physical limitations. This age group is often overlooked in many self defense videos and instructions. The seniors are very venerable and OFTEN preyed upon by bad guys. Hope you will seriously consider it. Everytime it seems on the news media of another mugging or robbery committed against the seniors!
    Thanks again sensei !

  19. Most of the stuff is pretty incorrect if you wanna learn how to defend yourself on the ground watch Gracie breakdown, Also to break you fall it is best to tuck your chin and slam your hand on the ground as your falling

  20. Lesson 101 ……..Basic , …….My father told me all my life try holding a baby pig in your arms it doesnโ€™t matter how strong you are the baby pig will wiggle out …..you are exactly correct Sensei ,lol

  21. Good Sexinstruktions. Love is all around. Fuck the Evil. Get down and have some fun. You are the Funnymaster. Respekt.

  22. HA, HA, ha Those two soft pillows: they're called your but, use them, love them trust them, if you turn around you just might get kicked in the but. Never give your back to anyone, Grass-Hopper. Just joking. Just pointing out how you use humor to teach. With all seriousness: Weight is a tool to be manipulated.

  23. such a valuable and unique approach. Great practice advise, especially the moving around. "shake his confidence", awesome! thanks!

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