The fighting legend of the Gracie family explains why you need to know striking in addition to grappling if your goal is to be a well-rounded martial artist.

To be a well-rounded fighter, you must possess the ability to strike and grapple. Using punching to complement your grappling and ground-fighting skills is very important. In fact, it is necessary to have a background in striking if you wish to excel in MMA fighting events. For instance, if you’re a grappler and you want to be able to close the distance between yourself and your opponent, you must understand how to strike.


A good sense of timing is especially important for you to develop. You must be able to judge the potential danger of the movements of your opponent. Knowing the right time to block a technique and avoid taking punishment from your opponent’s blows is also a product of good timing.

(Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor Rickson Gracie, above left)

If you are competing in a wrestling match, you might not need to have this type of understanding of timing, especially while you and your opponent are on your feet. But to succeed in MMA competition, you absolutely must have mastered this element of fighting. That will enable you to shoot in for a takedown and totally avoid the punishment your striking opponent will try to inflict as he struggles to avoid being taken to the ground.

When a fight goes to the ground, I find that being on the bottom and holding my opponent in my guard is very advantageous for many reasons, including the striking possibilities it presents. There are many things I can do on the ground, and I can formulate a strategy there.

Striking can mean much more than just punching with my fist. Punching constitutes only about 15 percent to 20 percent of the possibilities. The rest are knee strikes, head butts and elbow strikes. All these techniques are important to know because you must consider the damage that can be done to your knuckles when you execute too many strikes with your fists.

When it comes to MMA fighting, I would much rather look for an opening for an effective grappling move than focus on just hurting my opponent with some type of strike. I always look for the possibility of employing a submission technique, and I always try to defeat my opponent in the most humane way possible, without any unnecessary violence.

I don’t think martial artists must focus on violence when they compete, and one way to avoid that is to choose a submission technique over a striking technique. In any encounter, it is good to be as gentle as possible.

SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
Keep Reading Show less

Munk Pack Protein cookies are a perfect on-the-go or post-workout snack that helps keep you full, provides nutrients you need, and also lets you enjoy a sweet treat without feeling the guilt

Keep Reading Show less

By now, you've probably heard all about 52 Blocks — especially because we featured the martial art and its most visible proponent Professor Mo, aka Mahaliel Bethea, on the cover of our magazine last year. Just in case you haven't, know that 52 Blocks is a self-defense system that was spread in American prisons but that actually originated in Africa, according to Professor Mo. That's the reason we titled our June/July 2019 cover story with him "Art of Africa, Not Art of Incarceration."

Keep Reading Show less

Looking for an all-around reusable water bottle? H2O might be something you should consider!

The half a gallon (2.2L for you metric people) is the perfect amount to take with you to your training session and keep you hydrated the whole time. It will also keep your water nice crisp and cold with it's think 5mm Neoprene insulation, oh and did we say it has a built in phone holder for you to not having to worry about keeping your phone on the floor and being stepped on, but it does not stop there, it also has a slot for your cards and another place to hold your keys! Yup, your phone slides right into a small sleeve on the side of the bottle and keeps it nicely tucked away! The bottle is also BPA and BPS free and FDA approved Food Safe Water Gallon Jug.

These bottles come in many amazing designs and are reasonably priced at just $25.99 check them all out online at www.h20capsule.com

Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter