This morning, as my hubby-to-be and I were doing a little spring cleaning, I playfully hit him with a pillow. Since the laundry basket was in back of me, I thought nothing at all of him walking behind me to toss the pillow cases in it - until he bum-rushed me from behind and pinned me on the bed. Not the position anybody wants to be in at all - especially since he's a 6'3", 215 lbs runner who lifts weights with his athletes (he's a track coach) at least three days a week. Not only is he rock solid, he also studied judo as a kid as well as some practical self-defense stuff while in the military for 20 years.
Keep in mind, we spar from time to time (in the kitchen, LOL), and because he's as long as I am, he's a good person to train with as he keeps me honest - meaning I can't just sit back and punch/kick since he can reach me from where I can reach him. But being pinned was totally different. I tried everything I could to get him off me - thrusting my hips, rolling onto my side, even reaching for his arms to go for a wrist or shoulder lock - all to no avail because he outweighs me by 60 lbs and was Just. Too. Strong. To make matters worse, when he shifted his weight, he made me roll, trapping me on my side with my hands above my head. Everything from my armpit to my hip was exposed. Had he been an evil doer with a knife, I would have been toast.
Although he would never hurt me, that same scenario with someone who would is actually one of my biggest fears. Every now and again in the dojo, someone will remind us that most fights end on the ground, so it seems logical that knowing what to do once you get there is important. But I hardly feel confident on the ground - defending or attacking - and I doubt that I could protect myself from or actually get away from a person who really is trying to do me harm once I'm down there.
At a seminar on inside attacks a few summers back, a woman raised a hand and asked about what a shorter, weaker person would do against an attack from behind where the assailant pushed them forward. She told us about how a friend got off a bus, passed a guy she had a "funny feeling" about but kept going. The next thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital bed about a week later. He'd not only grabbed her from behind and pushed her forward, but he slammed her forehead into the pavement several times, which knocked her out almost instantly. Not sure if she was sexually assaulted, but she was robbed. The friend doesn't remember much of that week she spent in the hospital because she was in a coma.
Although she was not a martial artist and probably would have benefited greatly by trusting her gut about that funny feeling she had (which we women have been socialized to totally ignore, it seems), I wonder how much a good ground game might also have helped her? The only thing the facilitator could think of to alleviate the immediate and most dangerous threat - the trauma to her head - was to placing the arms between her head and the pavement. But had the attacker pinned them to her side when he grabbed her, that would not have been an option, even.
What do you think: should ground work be an ancillary or even a necessary part of traditional karate training? I wasn't always so sure before, but perhaps I need to re-think that...