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Fight Myth: All fights go to the ground

Hey Guys,

Today I’m going to go on a little rant about one of those persistent fight (and self defense) myths that makes me laugh, but is also a little troubling at times. We’ve all heard someone say…

“All fights go to the ground”

…and then they tell you how good of a ground fighter they are, or try to convince you that you have to be a good ground fighter to win a fight.

I’m gonna try to set the record straight today, and If you find someone out there saying this stuff then email them a link to this blog.

Here’s the deal:

There is about a 99% chance that one dude will end up on the ground after a fight, you guessed it, the loser. The loser went to the ground not the fight. Don’t get the two confused.

This whole myth started when the practitioners of a certain martial art (I’m not here to bash martial arts so I’m not gonna say who) did some very misleading research on fights.

They used police reports as their primary source. The thing is cops are required to do the three C’s (contain, control, comply) when they arrest a suspect. If he or she resists they almost always have to take them down to the ground to cuff them.

Thus almost all “police fights” (if you want to call them that) go to the ground.

Now that you know where this myth came from I want to let you know why hearing it, and finding out that people still believe it grinds my gears so much.

While I love the sport of MMA, when the UFC events began and you had Jui Jitsu practitioners laying on the cushioned mat of the octagon awaiting their opponents to join the ground game… well, I’ll point out two things to look at…

  1. Look where the sport has evolved today. More rules, more prepared and multi-disciplined and insanely conditioned athletes. (This is my favorite sport!)
  2. Remember it’s a SPORT. Rules, rings and referees are present. Don’t confuse the purpose of the application of skills. You can’t tap-out in a street brawl, a mugging or a rape!

Myths that perpetuate foolish thoughts and/or beliefs get people hurt, and I’m in the business of keeping people safe.

If you are in a street fight or self defense situation and you take it to the ground there are three huge dangers.

The Three Dangers

  1. Cuts and scrapes: street fights happen on asphalt and concrete, not dojo mats. You are guaranteed to get cut up. Not the end of the world but… what if you get blood on your hands, now your grip sucks and that joint lock you thought would end the fight just isn’t gonna work.
  2. The ground: provides a surface to bash a head with. This may be great if it’s his head, but we’re not always so lucky. The ground becomes a weapon at everyone’s disposal. That sounds way too fair to me. I always like unfair advantages.
  3. Head stomping: Yeah we’ve all heard about this and this is where it happens. Want to know why gang banger’s like timberland boots? They are good for kicking and stomping. If you get into a scuffle with a gang banger or anyone else and you think your fancy take down and submission moves are gonna save the day, you’ll be thinking twice when your fixed position on the ground makes your melon look like a teed up football to his friends.

This is the kind of stuff I don’t like talking about too much because it’s not pretty, but it has to be said by someone.

You guys have to know this stuff if you take self defense seriously.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should never learn ground fighting. It is a valuable part of self defense training.

I want you to have a well rounded self defense strategy that can save your butt in any situation. That’s why I’ve put together so many great ground-fighting DVDs over the years.

But… ground fighting should never ever be an upfront self defense strategy or goal of yours in any fight outside of a dojo.

Most fights last from 3 to 8 seconds with at least one guy on his feet. However after 13 seconds it will most likely go to the ground, and you want to be equipped to handle this.

By the way these stats are based on my own research of hundreds of sources including raw security camera footage of caught on tape fights, underground no rules cage fights, street fighter interview, FBI and CIA research, and of course police reports. Trust me these numbers hold up.

If you want to know some quick ways to end the fight before it ever goes to the ground check out my free course of 15 Brutal Fight Enders by signing up in left margin of this page.

After you’ve got those down you should check out one of my ground fighting instructors at so you can give yourself an unfair advantage on the ground.

That’s All Folks, Tune in for the next post on July 11th.


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4 thoughts on “Fight Myth: All fights go to the ground”

    1. Joe, If you are much stronger than your opponent I would suggest putting him on the ground (you staying on your feet). There is simply no need for you to go to the ground unless it is clear that restraining the person is the only way to end the conflict. There are really only two reasons for this. First if you are protecting loved ones and can’t simply put him on the ground and escape, or two you physically can’t escape and need to restrain him until help arrives.

      The bottom line is the ground is a dangerous place even if you are much stronger than your opponent. Being on the ground limits your ability to escape (you never know when a second attacker may arrive), it puts you in danger of being kicked (which is generally more damaging than being punched), and it gives your attacker a new weapon, the concrete, which he can use even if he is weaker than you.

      Hope this helps…

  1. I don’t mean this as bragging, but in high school I got into more fights than I can count; getting knocked out, and knocking someone out in two cases. And the overwhelming majority of these fights were striking affairs. Twice I grappled, but only because the enmity between us wasn’t strong enough to warrant punching each other in the face.

  2. “I don’t go to the ground for nobody!”
    Famous last words spoken by people who actually don’t train to not be taken down.
    My god even top Judo and wrestling MMA experts never brag about not going to the ground for anybody.