Grappling refers to the gripping, handling, and controlling of an opponent without the use of striking, typically through the application of various grappling holds, choke holds, and counters to various hold attempts. Grappling forms an important part of both ground fighting and standing clinch fighting. Sports that use grappling include Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Judo, Mixed martial arts and Wrestling. FILA uses the term grappling interchangeably with the sport of submission wrestling. Grappling is a mode of fighting used by many different martial arts around the world. It is not a distinct martial art, however, it's similar to striking, a collection of techniques and strategies aimed at defeating an opponent. These can be subdivided into:
Most include all of the above aspects while others focus on one. There is no definite dividing line between the sections as locks may be used in throws and a throw may lead directly to a pin. A possible fourth category is sweeps and escapes, used to improve position in ground fighting either escaping from or moving into a position where a lock or pin may be better applied.
Grappling is not allowed in all martial arts and combat sports; usually for the sake of focusing on other aspects of combat such as punching, kicking or Mêlée weapons. Opponents in these types of matches, however, still grapple with each other occasionally when fatigued or in pain; when this occurs, the referee will step in and restart the match, sometimes giving a warning to one or both of the fighters. Examples of these include Boxing, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Karate, and fencing. While prolonged grappling in Muay Thai will result in a separation of the competitors, the art extensively uses the clinch hold known as a double collar tie.
Grappling techniques and defenses to grappling techniques are also considered important in self-defense applications and in law enforcement. The most common grappling techniques taught for self defense are escapes from holds and application of pain compliance techniques.
Grappling can be trained for self defense, sport, and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition.
In combat sports, stand-up grappling usually revolves around successful takedowns and throws. In Judo, a fight is over if one of the judoka score an ippon, and in some sports such as Glima, the fight is over once one of the opponents has fallen down.
When unskilled fighters get embroiled in combat, a common reaction is to grab the opponent in an attempt to slow the situation down by holding them still, resulting in an unsystematic struggle that relies on brute force. A skilled fighter, in contrast, can perform takedowns as a way of progressing to a superior position such as a mount or side control, or using clinch holds and ground positions to set up strikes, choke holds, and joint locks. A grappler who has been taken down to the ground can use defensive positions such as the guard, which protects against being mounted or attacked. If a grappler is strong and can utilize leverage well, a takedown itself can be a form of attack—the impact to the head can render some opponents unconscious. On the other hand, grappling also offers the possibility of controlling an opponent without injuring them. For this reason, most police staff receive some training in grappling. Likewise, grappling sports such as judo have been devised so that their participants can compete using full physical effort without injuring their opponents.
It should be noted, however, that heavier fighters—those with limited mobility, that is—use grappling to either pull their opponent close enough for a powerful hit or throw their opponent with enough force to temporarily cripple them.
Grappling is called dumog in Eskrima. The term chin na in Chinese martial arts deals with the use of grappling to achieve submission or incapacitation of the opponent (these may involve the use of acupressure points). Some Chinese martial arts, Aikido and some Eskrima systems—as well as medieval and Renaissance European martial arts—practice grappling while one or both participants is armed. This practice is significantly more dangerous than unarmed grappling and generally requires a great deal of training.
In these arts, the object is either to take down and pin the opponent, or to catch the adversary in a specialized chokehold or joint-lock which forces him or her to submit and admit defeat. There are two forms of grappling that dictate pace and style of action: with a gi and without. The gi form is known for its emphasis on grips using the gi, while the "no-gi" form emphasizes body control of the torso and head. The use of the gi is compulsory in Judo and some sections of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition.