I’m sorry if this has been done to death but I’d just like to see what the consensus, if any, on this issue is. Not being a martial artist, I’m likely not in the know regarding the fine details of the debate and the following are potentially erroneous views I have picked up over the years of reading and listening.
This one argument I’ve sometimes seen pop up in discussions of MMA and fighting is that pure grappling is inherently superior or advantageous relative to striking. In other words, a grappler will usually beat a striker.
Having watched some of these old and new BJJ hype videos, I can sort of see where they are coming from. The Gracies’ and your average trained-in-BJJ guy seemed to be dominating a lot of black belts and related experts of striking without taking a glancing blow, with a few exceptions. A counter-argument I had in mind was that, in the case of the Gracies at least, we’re talking about the cream of that art and a lot of the failed challengers were relative nobodies, though no doubt somewhat skilled but not hailed as the grandmasters of their respective art or such.
Another thing I notice is just about every MMA match seems to go to the ground in a relative instant. It seems as if it’s almost impossible to keep the bum rusher (sorry if that is a degrading expression) at bay by simple punches or kicks, despite their speed, yet that is precisely what some traditional arts prescribe as take-down defenses.
It is also alleged that in a real fight up to tens of punches may be traded without much damage (which makes the ‘one strike, one kill’ philosophies of some TMA ridiculous) and so it seems logical to think that, as such, the striker would face a tough obstacle having to keep a distance all the time and not being able to deliver a knock-out strike, and the grappler could effectively dominate soon as he stepped in and closed the gap; it being almost impossible for the striker to fight off the grappler once grappling distance was established.
An argument I’ve also seen and find harder to understand is that grappling would be a superior form of self-defence, particularly for the smaller people and women. I think the problem with this argument is that striking is ultimately more simple and easier to learn than grappling is, and a physically superior opponent can be hurt within a second with one attack. Even some of the supposed effective or even ‘kill’ moves of non barred striking, such as eye and throat attacks, seem fanciful. I’ve never heard of a case of a woman (or too many men for that matter) effectively striking and escaping an attacker with that sort of attacks. So all of this ‘striking for the layperson’s defense’ stuff is not that proven either, but it at least does have a certain success ratio. Women have escaped attackers with groin attacks or perhaps a lucky elbow in the jaw but almost never by wrestling a far larger man to the ground and then submitting him. I can see how it might happen if they put ages into training it, but you can become succesful at anything by learning it for ages and spending a lifetime is not economical.