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  1. kdawgious is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/15/2011 6:34am


     Style: Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Sprawling

    I honestly have no idea if this is the right place for this question, but seeing as I'm a karate-ka I only really ever read the Japanese MA forum.

    I really don't know anything about grappling aside from the occasional judo class I've taken. I'm a Shotokan practitioner, so please excuse any broad generalizations I might make. Regardless, from what I've been able to learn, sprawling is the most effective defense against a shoot from a grappler.

    I can understand shooting for the legs being a decisive tactic in MMA and grappling competitions. But in regards to a more realistic situation, how simple would it be to drop an elbow to the attacker's spine? I've never done a sprawl, so I have no base to discuss the tactic beyond what I've seen in MMA. I'm assuming I don't see this in MMA competitions since elbows to the spine and back of the neck are strictly forbidden.

    So does the rule set in MMA restrict people from using a technique that could theoretically be decisive? Or am I just oversimplifying the difficulty in maintaining a sprawl against a skilled opponent?
  2. Permalost is offline
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    pro nonsense self defense

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    Posted On:
    6/15/2011 10:41am

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     Style: FMA, dumbek, Indian clubs

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    A few thoughts:
    -the elbow-the-spine defense is often trained against a poor takedown attempt. It's done slower for safety, and usually involves bending at the waist and powerwalking towards the legs. A trained attack will use a level change but keep the spine basically upright. As soon as they're in a position where you could elbow them, they should already be destroying your balance if not sprawling, and if this has happened you won't get to use the best body mechanics to drop your elbow on them.

    A sprawl works, an elbow might work. Given those options, I'd go with the sprawl. Sprawling will also work against an unchoreographed, sustained attack. The karate mentality tends to be (in my experience) more one-stance-one-action. A low leg takedown is an attack with a sustained forward drive until the takedown's done, or they switch to something else.

    The elbow to the spine indeed has damaged spines in MMA, but not in the way you might think. The spinal column itself is lots of solid bone, but it has some peculiarity as well:

    The part that can break are the transverse and spinous processes. They're the little "wings" sticking out of the bone, and I've seen video of one of these being broken in a female MMA fight in Japan, via downward elbows to the back (both fighters were on the ground; a standing opponent could have hit much harder).

    Lastly, there's a principle in tai chi that I think supports the sprawl in the debate. It's that you should be able to do something the nice, or not-so-nice way. For example, parting the horses' mane can be used as a simple enter-and disbalance move, or a dump-someone-on-their-skull move. A sprawl can be used to simply resist an attack, or to grind your opponent's face into the ground and throw knees from the north-south position (my old judo/self defense coach said that this was probably the most destructive technique he taught). An elbow to the spine, on the other hand, doesn't really have a nice equivalent, for when you're just messing around with friends or whatever.

    Would the elbow work if you did it just right? Like in this video?
    http://youtu.be/dNLrxp459gc
    I imagine if such a technique landed against a super committed goofy attack it would work as described, but there's so little room for error and it doesn't really account for the bad guy improvising and changing tactics on the go.
    Last edited by Permalost; 6/15/2011 10:46am at .
  3. gregaquaman is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/15/2011 11:27am


     Style: mma /boxing/muai thai

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I have been elbowed in the spine flat knacker doing shitty tackles during my ninjitsu days. I ate about four or five of them before the sparring session was stopped. They hurt but it was not exactly a fight ending move and if I could have done a propper double leg I would have finished on top in a better position.

    A lot of the power in that downward elbow is also reduced by controlling the other guys hips.Which is usually the case with the tackle
  4. jnp is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/15/2011 11:37am

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     Style: BJJ, wrestling

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    With a good sprawl, it's easy to stand back up quickly. You will also be fully on top of your opponent's upper body/shoulder area with him being face down. Assuming the person going for the leg takedown knows what they are doing*, the elbow option will end up with you on your back while your opponent is on top of you. The sprawl is a (much) higher percentage move, and it leaves you in a better position to either attack or run away.

    *A proper double leg shoot will cause you to be bent at the waist over the shoulder of the person doing the shooting. You simply can not generate the same kind of power in this position as you can when you're standing with your feet under you.
  5. Omega Supreme is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/15/2011 11:48am

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     Style: Chinese Boxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I just did a clinic addressing this. It starts about the 1:16 time here:

  6. kdawgious is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/15/2011 9:02pm


     Style: Shotokan

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thanks for the responses guys.

    @ Permalost - I see what you're saying about the sprawl being a higher percentage defense against a good shoot, compared to the lower percentage of making the elbow effective. What I was more referring to, though, was the possibility of the elbow in conjunction with the sprawl: dropping the elbow while dropping into the sprawl.

    @gregaquaman - I suppose making the elbow truly effective requires a lot of precision, correct? Which I'm assuming you're highly unlikely to have when in a sprawl?

    @jnp - You're saying that when you sprawl, your body is above the attackers shoulders and back, right? Is it possible, from that position, to throw a successful strike? Or does it make more sense, tactically speaking, to go for a lock or a choke from this position?
  7. kdawgious is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/15/2011 9:06pm


     Style: Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    @Omega - Not to oversimplify, but from what I was seeing, you're saying to shoot your hips out to the side on the sprawl and take an angle rather than going to head to head with the attacker, right?
  8. kdawgious is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/15/2011 10:03pm


     Style: Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thanks for the responses guys.

    @ Permalost - I see what you're saying about the sprawl being a higher percentage defense against a good shoot, compared to the lower percentage of making the elbow effective. What I was more referring to, though, was the possibility of the elbow in conjunction with the sprawl: dropping the elbow while dropping into the sprawl.

    @gregaquaman - I suppose making the elbow truly effective requires a lot of precision, correct? Which I'm assuming you're highly unlikely to have when in a sprawl?

    @jnp - You're saying that when you sprawl, your body is above the attackers shoulders and back, right? Is it possible, from that position, to throw a successful strike? Or does it make more sense, tactically speaking, to go for a lock or a choke from this position?
  9. kdawgious is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/21/2011 4:17pm


     Style: Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    A few thoughts:
    -the elbow-the-spine defense is often trained against a poor takedown attempt. It's done slower for safety, and usually involves bending at the waist and powerwalking towards the legs. A trained attack will use a level change but keep the spine basically upright. As soon as they're in a position where you could elbow them, they should already be destroying your balance if not sprawling, and if this has happened you won't get to use the best body mechanics to drop your elbow on them.

    A sprawl works, an elbow might work. Given those options, I'd go with the sprawl. Sprawling will also work against an unchoreographed, sustained attack. The karate mentality tends to be (in my experience) more one-stance-one-action. A low leg takedown is an attack with a sustained forward drive until the takedown's done, or they switch to something else.

    The elbow to the spine indeed has damaged spines in MMA, but not in the way you might think. The spinal column itself is lots of solid bone, but it has some peculiarity as well:

    The part that can break are the transverse and spinous processes. They're the little "wings" sticking out of the bone, and I've seen video of one of these being broken in a female MMA fight in Japan, via downward elbows to the back (both fighters were on the ground; a standing opponent could have hit much harder).

    Lastly, there's a principle in tai chi that I think supports the sprawl in the debate. It's that you should be able to do something the nice, or not-so-nice way. For example, parting the horses' mane can be used as a simple enter-and disbalance move, or a dump-someone-on-their-skull move. A sprawl can be used to simply resist an attack, or to grind your opponent's face into the ground and throw knees from the north-south position (my old judo/self defense coach said that this was probably the most destructive technique he taught). An elbow to the spine, on the other hand, doesn't really have a nice equivalent, for when you're just messing around with friends or whatever.

    Would the elbow work if you did it just right? Like in this video?
    http://youtu.be/dNLrxp459gc
    I imagine if such a technique landed against a super committed goofy attack it would work as described, but there's so little room for error and it doesn't really account for the bad guy improvising and changing tactics on the go.
    First let me apologize for replying to your posting so long after your wrote this...for some reason I've had issues responding to posts, and only recently has it started working for me.

    But back to your point, to sum up, can we say that the elbow is a nice move in a controlled situation, whereas sprawling will do more for me in terms of advantageous positioning? And obviously from there, theoretically creating an opening for my own counter?
  10. kdawgious is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/21/2011 4:21pm


     Style: Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by jnp View Post
    With a good sprawl, it's easy to stand back up quickly. You will also be fully on top of your opponent's upper body/shoulder area with him being face down. Assuming the person going for the leg takedown knows what they are doing*, the elbow option will end up with you on your back while your opponent is on top of you. The sprawl is a (much) higher percentage move, and it leaves you in a better position to either attack or run away.

    *A proper double leg shoot will cause you to be bent at the waist over the shoulder of the person doing the shooting. You simply can not generate the same kind of power in this position as you can when you're standing with your feet under you.
    Apologies for the extremely delayed reply.

    From all I've ever been taught in Shotokan, the only way to avoid being taken down (while obviously not being 100% effective) is to drop ones weight straight downward. In the static, choreographed situation, that's typically taught as the defending person dropping into (I hate saying it) a side stance dropping the hips lower than the attackers. Obviously, this is beyond stupid because I'm just moving backwards and making the attackers job that much easier, but is there any justification to the theory (forgetting the dead method of practicing), or is that essentially what is accomplished by sprawling?
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