Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things I Learn From Prison

I was speaking to a good friend of mine JP. He is a bit older than me, a successful businessman who has been around the world and has friends from various walks of life. In living and working in LA he's also met people who have spent time in prison.

We were discussing the merits of BJJ and MMA and self defense. There is a common belief that in self defense, you don't need to know submissions. You can take someone down and punch them until they submit because you are trained and they are not.

JP mentioned that people in prison, when they get into fights don't use traditional ground and pound if it hits the ground. Imagine a Fedor like jumping punch to a downed opponent, and half the time Fedor misses. If you miss in prison, you shatter your hand and forearm on the concrete. You were on top but you will end up losing he fight or possibly your life. Breaking your hand and arm when there might be other people around, and you may need to pick up a weapon to defend yourself, is a big disadvantage.

So instead they use hammerfists on the ground, short rabbit punches, elbows and forearms. If you can somehow choke the opponent or break his arm, this also lowers your own risk of injury and success in victory. So maybe the submissions aspect of BJJ is actually better for the street than MMA where people don't have to worry about hitting their hands on the canvas while wearing gloves with their hands wrapped.

A form of self defense that arose out of the penal system is called Prison Boxing. Where you mainly throw elbows, and block in a manner where your opponent might break their hands punching you because you try to block with your elbows.

In MMA you try to corner your opponent against the cage and throw punches. If you miss and hit the cage, it's not so bad. Even being tackled into the cage isn't so bad. Punching or running into a concrete wall? Not as good. So elbows and open palm strikes and clinching become important.

In self defense I think the best form of fighting is in the clinch. Unless your opponent has a weapon, in which case you run. Clinch, drag the fight to the ground, then try to submit. Or hold them with their arms tied up like Rickson does so you can't miss. If you've ever seen Rickson fight, he never throws hard crazy punches on the ground. Short controlled shots, that way he never misses.


  1. "Prison Boxing" sounds like Panantukan

  2. Yes. All of these arts developed for a reason. Based on their purpose, to fight or defend.



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