The following question was submitted by a subscriber of the Grapplearts newsletter.
Q: For self defense would it be better to study the grappling arts or the striking arts?
A: Obviously it is best to have a background in both striking and grappling, but if you could only study one type of art then I believe that the grappling arts are superior for self defense. Rorion Gracie said it best: most real fights end up on the ground. For women the situation is even more extreme, as virtually 100% of rapes end up on the ground.
Another advantage of grappling is that it allows people to spar at close-to-full intensity with a relatively minimal chance of injury. This gives the average grappling practitioner a chance to apply his or her techniques under adrenal stress on a daily basis. To do the same thing with striking would be difficult and unappealing to most people. The average recreational striker doesn’t want to getting blasted in the face with a full power right cross, or heave up their lunch after getting kneed in the ribs, as a regular part of their training.