What is Grappling?
To define grappling as just one thing does not do it justice. Rather, the grappling arts can and do employ a wide variety of non-striking techniques whose goal is to grab, control and submit an opponent – mostly on the mat or ground via:
• Pins and hold downs,
• Submissions (arm locks, leg locks, joint locks),
• Choke holds,
• Avoidance and escapes from all of the above.
And while most grappling matches end up on the ground, they don’t always start there. Many grappling matches begin standing, kneeling or from other positions. For example, a throw or take down may result in both combatants on the ground, leading into a natural transition into a grappling contest. Or, an arm lock may start from a standing position but end up being finished on the ground. In some cases, grapplers will even risk being punched, kicked or thrown in order to close the distance and bring an opponent down.
While some grappling schools, classes and tournaments encourage the use of kimono's and/or gi's; others do not.
Injury rarely results when grapplers use and are taught good technique. In fact, many grappling arts allow and encourage combatants to stop the action by either tapping an opponent (submitting) and/or using a verbal cue if there is the threat of injury. Usually accompanied by rules and regulations, it is one of the safer arts that can be practiced while still competing at 100%.
History of Grappling
References to grappling trace back to The Old Testament, Genesis 32:25-27 when Jacob wrestles with God: “And there was one that wrestled with him until daybreak who seeing that he could not master him, struck him in the socket of his hip, and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him.” In more modern times, and with the advent of rules, God may have lost a point; or worse, been disqualified.
Recorded images of grappling can also be found in Egyptian, Greek and Roman transcripts. In fact, Wrestling played a prominent role in the physical education of young Greek males as well as being a part of most ancient Greek festivals such as the first Olympic Games in 704 B.C. The conquering of Greece by the Romans led to what we now call and know as Greco-Roman Wrestling.
Grappling, in one form or another, can be found in most ancient and modern cultures around the globe.
Often having lived in the shadows of more high profile martial arts, grappling is starting to get the recognition it deserves; in large part due to the rise of MMA events and organizations. A variety of grappling styles abound with some of the more popular ones being:
• Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
Both competitive and recreational grappling can be practiced and enjoyed by men, women and children – young and old. It's an excellent way to get in shape and/or stay in shape. For those planning to compete in MMA matches, grappling is and should remain a staple in your training regimen; especially for those training at the elite levels.
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