Body Shifting from the Underside of a Ground Attack

There are 3 types of body shifting I emphasize as part of the overall strategies I teach for defending from the underside of a ground attack. These, in combination with attacks to your attacker’s vital targets, are designed to be used by anyone regardless of size. They are adaptable and can be used interchangeably depending on the way the nature of the attack changes throughout its course. These body shifting methods include: bridging & rolling, shrimping and turtling.

When first introducing these movements to students, I like to have them do it dry, without an attacker (as in the video below), so they can learn the movements. They can also be incorporated into the warm-up for any ground defense or ground grappling class. They get the blood pumping, they strengthen core muscle groups, and it helps them improve their technique. These and other useful ground strength/technique drills can also be found in my new book, When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-jitsu Strategies & Tactics for Self-Defense.

In my next posts, I’ll show how these are applied.

Comments (6)

6 thoughts on “Body Shifting from the Underside of a Ground Attack

  1. Excellent video, good, crisp form. I'm looking forward to the application. The first two techniques I already knew (we sometimes practice them in pretty much the same way you do: first by yourself then with a partner to release holds), the last one is new although I can already see where you're going with it. Good job!


  2. Just yesterday we did a transition-drill involving all the judo-holds on the ground (hon-gesa-gatame, he responds by trying to roll away, you transition to kuzure-gesa-gatame etcetera), followed by some basic escapes to the first hold-down. The next stage would be to incorporate atemi (punches, elbows, shuto, knees) with the hold-downs to make them applicable to the street (achieve a dominant position and take him out, get up asap). Yet another stage is combining the escapes with eye-gouges and strikes to ‘encourage’ him to loosen up a little since a properly applied hold-down is very hard to escape using conventional means, especially against a physically superior individual. All this is supposed to be practiced with mild to moderate resistance once the basics are learned to simulate resistance without having to take him out for real. To me this is invaluable training since my ground-game is rather weak at the moment (loosing to a yellow belt at ground-sparring does sting, even though he does have an extensive judo-background including competition) and groundfighting truly is a skill on its own (meaning being good at stand-up does not really translate to the ground except maybe general athletic ability).

    I remember we had a discussion about this a while ago (sport groundfighting vs groundfighting for self-defense focusing on using vital points to aid escape), perhaps this helped spark the dynamic concept you came up with. Of course you do have extensive experience with sports-grappling so I imagine that must have been a major factor, practicing combat-sports really does help augment self-defense skills although I maintain they can never replace them, at least not for most people. The academy where I train started offering one BJJ-class a week, since it’s more technical than the MMA ground-grappling class and it’s possible to pay a fee per training you attend (I’m only subscriped to the JJ-lessons) I’m planning on taking that up too. That is if I don’t have class that evening which I don’t know yet.

    I’m looking forward to your next videos, keep up the good work.


    PS: I'm a bit suprised this post doesn't generate more discussion and interest.

  3. Thanks for your support as always, Zara! I'm glad you appreciate the posts. I'm always interested in your comments.

  4. One step at a time. I'll be adding more info each in each post. I can't put in everything at once lest it become a book instead of a blog post. 😉 That would be the next step…

  5. When I was in BJJ, we actually used shrimping as part of our warm-up as it engages your core and actually is pretty good cardio after a few lengths of the dojo.

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