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Most Fights Don't Go to the Ground! Interesting Read - 42% for Both Fighters, 72% for One Fighter Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   QueenJudoNerd 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 09:42 PM

Thought this was an interesting read and wanted to share ...

http://jiujitsu365.w...ch-i-conducted/


By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D. [Warning: Longer than usual post]

People who have been following MMA, submission grappling and martial arts since 1994 have been aware of the increasing emphasis placed on ground fighting. Yes, a lot of the push is because ground-fighting experts are trying to convince people to become involved in their martial art or trying to attract more students to their studios. However, there is an extreme seriousness to their claims as well. People can get injured, maimed or killed if they aren’t able to defend themselves.

As a serious MMA or submission grappling fan you’ve probably either heard or read the following claims:

Ninety to Ninety-five percent of fights go to the ground; or

Most fights go to the ground

These claims have become a part of the lexicon of grappling gurus and their participating disciples, including me. However, is it true?

As a person who has been involved in some aspect of martial arts since I was nine years old, I have been apart of the tradition of accepting claims, verbatim, from martial arts professionals. Most of the advice has been wise, while other times it has landed me in situations I don’t want to talk about. So when I heard this claim coming from so many Jiu-jitsu and submission grappling experts in the mid 1990s I accepted it at face value.

However, as an academic, this statement over the last few years has begun to bother me. I began to wonder on what basis this claim can be made. Are there any studies that have been conducted to verify these assertions? Finally, I reached a standstill in my thoughts on the subject. I needed to know what was fueling the mantra that 90 to 95 percent of fights go to the ground. Is it an urban myth or is it for real?

So over a period of three months I designed an implemented an exploratory study with the expressed interest of trying to see if there was any validity in the claim that 90 to 95 percent of fights go to the ground or that most fights go to the ground. Over 300 street fights were analyzed during this study. The results were clarifying as well as totally unexpected.

For the purposes of my study, I needed actual fights between average citizens. However, it is nearly impossible to find access to enough physical fights between two people to analyze in person, especially in a timely and safe manner. Therefore an alternative method had to be chosen in order to study this question. This problem was resolved by using the readily available data uploaded and archived on the popular video sharing site, YouTube. The video sharing website provided the researcher with an abundant amount of data to analyze the question regarding how often fights end up on the ground and by what methods do fighters end up on the ground. For the purposes of this study, a content analysis was conducted where 300 fights were dissected over a two month period in order to address the question of whether 90 or 95 percent of fights go to the ground.

For a more detailed description of the abstract, literature review, hypothesis, methodology, findings and conclusions, contact bakil@mgc.edu.

Below are the research questions and the findings from the study:

Research Question

RQ1: What percentage of fights end with both fighters having gone to the ground at some point during the physical confrontation?

RQ2: What percentage of fights end with only one fighter having gone to the ground at some point during the physical confrontation?

RQ3: By what methods do fighters end up fighting off the ground? (i.e., punch, kick, takedown, push)

Findings

Although the findings cannot be generalized to the entire population; in this study both fighters ended up on the ground in 42% of the fights analyzed. This percentage increased substantially (72%) when analyzed for at least one fighter going to the ground.

So what do these numbers indicate for research questions one (RQ1) and two (RQ2)? It means that the people who have been making these claims are not far off the mark. They just have to be more specific. In other words, there is more than a good chance that if two people fight, one of them is going to end up on the ground (72% in this study). The chance that both will end up there is much less (42% in this study), but it is still substantial enough that one should focus on ground defense.

The third research question that needed to be answered is how do those fighters end up on the ground? The answer to that query is that in our study, 57% of the fighters who ended up on the ground were taken down by a throw, a trip or being pulled to the ground. Being pushed only accounted for 7% of fighters who ended up on the ground. So learning how to grapple and more specifically; how to apply and stop takedowns is vital to fighting.

The other most common way that fighters ended up on the ground was by being punched. This accounted for 35% of the total incidents where a fighter was sent to the ground. One other important point is for martial artists or others who might rely on kicking techniques. Out of 300 analyzed fights and 600 fighters, only one person fell to the ground because of a kick. However, that kick did result in a knockout of the person on the receiving end.

What happens when fighters hit the ground?

One very interesting finding from this study involved what happens to fighters once they do fall to the ground. At the following rates, the first person to hit the ground faced the following outcome. They either lost the fight (59%) or there was no discernible victor (33%), essentially a draw. Those who hit the ground second or remained standing faced different outcomes. They either won the fight (59%), nearly sixty percent, or no discernible victor could be declared (33%). This finding recurred repeatedly even if only one person went to the ground or if both people went to the ground. It even applied to situations where both fighters ended up on the ground and the person who initiated the takedown or pushed or punched someone in that direction landed on the ground first. In this study, fighters who hit the ground first were the clear victors in less than 5% of fights observed.

This indicates that in a street fight it is a major no-no to hit the ground first in any way. The findings were so one sided in this category it is highly likely that this is a major factor in determining who wins fights. Future studies should replicate these results.

Women should also be very careful to make sure that there hair is pinned up in an altercation as many takedowns involving women were due to their opponents (women) grabbing their hair (19%) and using it as a tool to control their head movement. In this study it was almost a guaranteed takedown if only one woman had control of the other woman’s hair. The other option was being pummeled. In one fight, a man’s ‘dred-locked’ hair was also used to throw him to the ground. I think further research would demonstrate that hair grabbing is not a habit related to gender, but availability.

Another finding that could support the argument that people should learn ground defense is that the first fighter to hit the ground usually lost the scramble for positional dominance. They were either quickly mounted, side mounted or had blows reigned down on them from many angles. Although the majority of the positional dominance observed would be considered crude from a trained martial artist’s perspective, it did demonstrate why ground training is necessary. Most of the combatants were at a loss of what to do when they were being controlled and subsequently pummeled.

Who’s Fighting Who?

In reference to the characteristics of the fighters in this study, demographic questions such as age, ethnicity or race could not be asked. However, records were kept using this researcher’s best judgment. Of the 600 combatants who fought, their opponents usually looked like them in a number of categories. Men fought men. Women fought women. Ethnicities or races appeared to be similar as in whites fighting whites, blacks vs. blacks, etc. Combatants also appeared to be the same age. Old men fought old men, teenagers fought what appeared to be teenagers and adults fought adults. This study suggests that a person involved in a street fight is most likely going to fight someone just like them.

Tips for: Avoiding Conflict or Inevitable Confrontations

Other interesting things to point out are that although some fights appeared to be spontaneous, most of them had an incubation period where many decisions led up to the ultimate physical confrontation. From studying these fights it is this researcher’s opinion that many of them could have been avoided. However, in cases where a fight is unavoidable, the following advice would be offered:

Never allow anyone to invade your zone of safety (a distance where they can quickly ‘sucker punch,’ push, pull or grab you without you being able to react).


Do not walk up to anyone ‘talking trash’ or allow them to ‘talk trash’ to you. Either way someone will most likely be hit mid-sentence.

Either fight or exit the scene. Make the decision quickly. Do not argue and do not posture up face to face, chest to chest or shoulder to shoulder. (Watch out for head butts!)

Do not try to fight more than one person, especially if you are alone.

Do not allow yourself to get mounted. (Where your opponent is sitting on your chest with both of their legs straddling your ribcage.) This was the absolute worst position for the fighters in this study; and most important:

Do not be the first person to hit the ground!

So, there you have it; an exploratory study to try to find out if 90 to 95 percent of fights end up on the ground. The results offered in this study indicate that 90 to 95 percent is too high of a percentage rate. It is probably closer to 42% where both fighters hit the ground and 72% where at least one fighter ends up on the ground.

In the final analysis, an overwhelming majority of fights did end where at least one fighter ended up on the ground at some point. As this was an exploratory study, more are definitely needed to explore this topic and other grappling or MMA related issues. However, what was probably the most important finding in this study is that if you are untrained and are the first person to end up on the ground in a fight there is a good chance that you will lose and the best you can hope for is that no victor can be declared.

Check out my latest book: A Vampire on the Mat at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or Smashwords .

Check out my books: The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on Amazon.com!



You can also check out my writings at Psychology Today: Communication Central

Bakari Akil II is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Middle Georgia College and received his Ph.D. in Mass Communications from Florida State University. He has studied no-gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over three years and also holds a green belt in Judo. He trains with Team Praxis in Macon, GA.
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#2 User is offline   judoka_uk 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 10:04 PM

If 72% of fights end up with someone on the ground then most fights do go to the ground.

Nice bit of research there.

I seem to recall the original gracie claim being based on an LA Police report about officers dealing with resisting arrest suspects at the the original figure from that report was only in the 60-70% range and that as with most things that get filtered through a Gracie it subsequently got upgraded and exaggerated.
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#3 User is offline   Gaijin Judoka 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 10:24 PM

If only one person is on the ground I wouldn't say the fight has gone to the ground. The implication that "the fight has gone to the ground" is that both people are on the ground fighting. Usually if one person is on the ground the fight is pretty much over.
It is a great ability to be able to conceal one's ability.

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#4 User is offline   silverjudo 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 10:27 PM

I figured more people would be pulling guard these days :rolly:
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#5 User is offline   bythesea 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 10:39 PM

View Postsilverjudo, on 12 May 2011 - 03:27 PM, said:

I figured more people would be pulling guard these days :rolly:


or buttscooting... :lol:
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#6 User is offline   genetic judoka 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 10:42 PM

in all the fights I was in when I was younger, only one of them involved both of us going to the ground. and all the times where one person went to the ground, it was because they got knocked out, or close enough to it to end the fight. in that sense I would not include one person going to the ground as being useful in this discussion.

and street fights on youtube can't really be seen as being useful for any meaningful discussion anyway. for a fight to end up on youtube:
A. there had to be a camera there.
B. the person with the camera most likely had to be on the side of the person who won the fight
C. odds are the fight wasn't brutal enough for the people involved to be afraid that posting the video would get them in trouble.

therefore fights on youtube cannot be seen as a random sampling. for results to have any statistical significance the test group must be chosen at random otherwise there is no chance of it being representative of the population.
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#7 User is offline   ChrisB 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:10 PM

I agree with Generic Judoka. The sample data is biased from the start in several ways. Theere are other ways to do this study, but none of them are fast or easy to do.
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#8 User is offline   Nick Kano 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:13 PM

During my time at High School, I got into four fights (please note, I'm not particularly proud of this), and two of them ended up on the ground, and all of them involved grappling. Ofcourse, a high school fight isn't any where near as brutal as a street fight (well at least not at my school). I certainly think the Gracies exaggerate, but groundfighting is still worth knowing none the less.

To be honest though, I think Ground grappling should be the last resort, because if he's got mates, you're going to be particularly vulnerable to get kicked in the head.

I'm no expert though. These are just my thoughts.
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#9 User is offline   silverjudo 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:15 PM

View Postbythesea, on 12 May 2011 - 10:39 PM, said:

or buttscooting... :lol:


position before submission! hahahaha,
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#10 User is offline   Alfie 

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 03:04 AM

View Postjudoka_uk, on 12 May 2011 - 06:04 PM, said:

If 72% of fights end up with someone on the ground then most fights do go to the ground.


But 100% of street fights start standing up. I remember also reading about Rorion Gracie using police reports as the statistics behind his claim of 90% of street fights end up on the ground. Matter of fact, I use to suck into that propaganda myself until I opened my eyes one day.
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#11 User is offline   QueenJudoNerd 

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 03:15 AM

I thought the below statement was interesting - - seems to fall in the Judo category. How to apply and stop take-downs seems more of a training staple for Judo (and wrestling).

"57% of the fighters who ended up on the ground were taken down by a throw, a trip or being pulled to the ground. Being pushed only accounted for 7% of fighters who ended up on the ground. So learning how to grapple and more specifically; how to apply and stop takedowns is vital to fighting."
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#12 User is offline   QueenJudoNerd 

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 03:19 AM

View Postjudoka_uk, on 12 May 2011 - 06:04 PM, said:

If 72% of fights end up with someone on the ground then most fights do go to the ground.

Nice bit of research there.

I seem to recall the original gracie claim being based on an LA Police report about officers dealing with resisting arrest suspects at the the original figure from that report was only in the 60-70% range and that as with most things that get filtered through a Gracie it subsequently got upgraded and exaggerated.




I'm of the belief that if only 1 fighter is on the ground, only 1 person truly maintained a dominant position/attack. In this particular case, the fight really didn't end in the ground. One person basically got crushed. I.e. a boxer can ko an opponent who falls to the ground. But is it really a ground fight at this point?
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#13 User is offline   danguy 

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 07:10 AM

Different take and more scholarly.



http://ejmas.com/jnc...blanc_0701.html



JOURNAL OF
NON-LETHAL COMBATIVES
dedicated to the study of military, police, and non-lethal combatives
ISSN 1492-1634

Executive Editor:
Joseph R. Svinth

Mr Svinth is a JF member since 2005.

This post has been edited by danguy: 13 May 2011 - 07:10 AM

If I am doing "win," sloppy and sissy is fine; if I am doing Judo, beautiful is my rule and goal. Judo is far more important and rewarding than "win."

"What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball [Judo] player." --John Wooden 1910-2010

"You should first try to negotiate nicely but you can be strong after there's resistance, and know, just like in judo, when to catch them." --Rusty Kanokogi, 2008, on negotiating.
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#14 User is offline   aiyotsu 

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 09:05 AM

View Postdanguy, on 13 May 2011 - 08:10 PM, said:

Different take and more scholarly.



http://ejmas.com/jnc...blanc_0701.html



JOURNAL OF
NON-LETHAL COMBATIVES
dedicated to the study of military, police, and non-lethal combatives
ISSN 1492-1634

Executive Editor:
Joseph R. Svinth

Mr Svinth is a JF member since 2005.

Hello danguy very informative but really less about fights and more about resisting arrest.
Geoff Thompson,in one of his books relates how a good friend intervened in a male assaults female and while his friend was on the ground trying to controll the assailant, the girlfriend who had been assaulted stabbed her would be rescuer. He died.
Do not go on the ground first or second. By all means learn what to do there but do not go there.
I also think you tube is not a good source of seeing how fights work if you want representitive samples. I have watched a few and never seen one where a weapon was used or where a group got one person and maimed them.
If the situation is being filmed then the camera person or associates frequently play a role in provoking the fight and the conclusion is expected. aiyotsu
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#15 User is offline   Mitesco 

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 09:33 AM

Is this topic about judo?
It's in the 'beginning judo' section?

What a nonsense.

In judo we have matches - a part of judo - and we talk about ippon scores. We know the rules for ippon, and we could make the distinction whether the ippon is scored in tachiwaza or newaza. And in all the other 'fights' without referee, it depends on the type of 'fight' what we do. Randori newaza? Randori tachiwaza? Randori whatever-we-want?

Can't we just move this topic to 'other martial arts' btw?



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