Chinese Martial Arts Ground Fighting

Chinese Martial Arts Ground Fighting

PHK philosophy is simple: “Learn how to grapple, so you don’t have to.” You might be not interested in grappling, but grappling might be interested in you. You might end up in the clinch, and yes, you might end up on the ground. If you don’t have any clinching and grappling skills, you will.

As many of our colleagues have correctly pointed out, Chinese martial arts didn’t have any grappling in BJJ sense (position > submission), for obvious reasons of the difference between 1 on 1 sport fighting and reality based self-protection.

Ground fighting and anti-grappling? Of course, lots of. David Rogers of Rising Crane (Hap Kyun, MMA) writes:

Things I learned in China that I still use and are combat effective:

  • Falling skills
  • Safe ways of getting to the feet
  • Kicking skills from the ground- low kicks, scissor kicks, up-kicks, using kicks to create space to stand up Open guard/De La Riva’ type sweeps
  • Basic bridging escapes from the bottom
  • Knee on belly position and striking
  • Some basic Kam Na ‘submissions’, especially guillotines, armlocks.

Check out a short video of PHK ground fighting, showing two important techniques – “Jade Belt Encircles the Waist” (Yuk Daai Waan Yiu) and “[Kick] from the Sea Bottom Towards the Heavens” (Hoi Dai Jiu Tin [Geuk]), incorporated from Fuk Gin Siu Lam. To use today’s common terminology, guard and hook sweep.

Chinese martial arts ground fighting drill

Rogers Sifu adds:

Things I had absolutely no clue about that made me completely powerless the first time I tried BJJ 10 years ago:

  • Concept of positional dominance, guard passing, ‘shrimping’, controlling of opponents hips.
  • Setting up submissions in strategic attacking chains.
  • Concept of improving position or achieving control for submission in incremental steps that can be stabilised (In China it was more of an ‘all or nothing’ explosive attack every time)
  • Using ‘specific sparring’ as a way to drill the positions in an alive way to rapidly gain functional skill.

Excellent analysis.

The good news is that for a reality-based self-defense, you don’t need that much, but – you need to train ground fighting phase of the combat on regular basis.

And if you enjoy grappling, cross train – preferably in a MMA environment, not just pure grappling, which doesn’t take punches in account. That is what we do in PHK, following Bruce Lee’s wise words: ““Absorb what is useful [and necessary!], discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own”. PHK is the evolution of classical Hung Kyun – MMA for the street.

Remember:  “Learn how to grapple, so you don’t have to.”

Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun

Note: The drawing above comes from a book called “Fu Jian Shaolin Boxing” (Fuk Gin Siu Lam Kyun), published in 1983 (i.e. decade before the first UFC).

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