Have you just stepped into the world of martial arts and are confused between striking vs grappling- which one is the most effective to learn? Then definitely luck is by your side as in this article we are going to discuss the battle between these two styles, and find which one is better than the other, and in what terms.
Both grappling and striking are very good forms of self-defense, but each has its own pros and cons. Where striking offers you preciseness and accuracy, grappling helps you learn techniques to submit and take down your opponent within no time.
Although the proponents of grappling are higher in the debate between the two, it is unfair to crown grappling and striking as the better option over the other without doing a proper analysis.
So, without blinking the eye one more time, let’s slowly but surely dive into the debate of “striking vs grappling, which one is more effective?”.
Striking vs Grappling- The Difference
Striking martial art is a group belonging to forms that are more focused on punches, kicks, and footwork. It trains how to accurately execute the striking techniques, footwork, and precise head movements.
However, when the point of discussion shifts towards grappling, the prime focus of a grappling workout is to use techniques and leverage that help you control and submit the opponent.
However, in grappling, the chances of injury and damage are less as practitioners wear a grappling knee brace. While in MMA striking combinations, the techniques are more erratic and hence involve a lot of uncontrollable factors.
Striking vs Grappling- Which one is more Effective in Self-Defense?
When comparing striking vs grappling self-defense effectiveness, no one can surpass grappling, and here is why?
In striking, the prime focus area of action is knees, footwork, kicks, etc., to hit the opponent. Therefore, the win-win situation requires you to be bigger in size and body than your opponent, or at least the same size.
For practicing striking, many dummy punching bags are used that can help you improve your skills and techniques.
But if you are smaller than your opponent, you will definitely get in trouble. You obviously can give a strong kick to a person double your size or more muscular for you. And in random street fights or self-defense, you aren’t going to choose the shorter person to attack. Anyone of any size can be your opponent.
In contrast to it, in grappling, you are least concerned about the size or muscular strength of the opponent. The entire focus of the grappling X rules and techniques is to submit the opponent and get a dominant position over him. To practice grappling, a grappling dummy can be used as well to get prepared for the next big match.
The trained grapplers always look for ways to nullify the physical advantage of their opponent by using leverage and techniques. These techniques will ultimately help them restrict their opponent’s movement and get control over his moves.
Therefore, when it comes to self defense, and getting control of the opponent in any unexpected situation, it is grappling and not striking that is going to make your way out to a safe world.
Striking vs Grappling- Which one is more Effective in MMA?
In the early days of MMA, when the custom of cross-training wasn’t in, grappling was a clear-cut winner over striking. In fact, the analysis of MMA fights in 1994 showed that in almost 60% of fights, the round ended due to submissions, proving that grabbing has always been the heavier side.
But a misconception that people often have after the introduction of cross-training is that grappling has lost its ground, and the MMA striking combos list has established its roots.
But no, that isn’t the case!
Although the MMA striking workout works quite efficiently, the two factors that decide wins are takedowns and top control. Both of these fall under the category of grappling.
- Takedown is one of the submissions of techniques grapplers are particularly expert in. They know how to take down their opponent and at what time of the game. So, no matter how strong you are in defense or strikes, takedowns are always going to work in favor of a trained grappler.
- Staying on the top of the opponent leads to top control, and as we discussed earlier, grapplers are trained to be on the top of their opponent and get the dominant position to impose their game. So, it is one of the most common tactics that grapplers opt for to make their striker opponent tired and exhausted within no time, turning the game in their favor.
Evidence from the Past
To support the answer, let’s shed light on some facts and fights of the past. The name of a great striker, James Toney, doesn’t need an intro. He is one of the pro boxers of all time. But when he tried to test his boxing skills in MMA against a grappler, he wasn’t able to stand.
So, this clears that when it comes to striking vs grappling in MMA, grappling tips win the crown explicitly over striking tips in MMA.
Striking vs Grappling- Effectiveness at Different Ranges
Whether striking or grappling, the secret of winning the game is related directly to the concept of distance and range.
At long range, the MMA striking combinations work the best. The stickers can effectively kick and become dominant in case of long-range and distance.
As long as a striker is able to keep the grappler at a long distance from him either by using teeps or push kicks, he would be able to keep the grappler away from taking charge and taking him down. So, at long distances, stickers are mostly at ease and have a chance of winning.
In the medium range, both types of practitioners thrive similarly. The grapplers keep on trying to shorten the distance and opt for BJJ grappling dummy drills to take the opponent down. At the same time, the strikers go for timely counter-striking as a source of defense.
But it requires ages to hone the counter-striking. Even great strikers like Conor McGregor spent years honing this skill.
In close or short-range, the situation turns in favor of grapplers entirely because when too close, the striking techniques like brutal elbows, teeps, high knees, etc., can’t be executed. However, if the stripper has a good command of clinching, it can be a great turning point.
Else, the closer the range, the easier the dummy drills and takedowns are. So, it won’t take much for a grappler to take control over you.
Striking vs Grappling- Which one can Beat the other?
Whether striking or grappling is better varies from person to person and his expertise. However, if a striker is not good at defense against takedowns, he can’t stand up in front of a basic level grappler for more time.
Grappling is claimed to be the most dominant and powerful fighting style where you attack by varying the force and using the principles of dynamics, not merely physical strength. It is more about systematic control, which is why both wrestling grappling and BJJ involve no knockout punches. They focus on taking control of the opponent without causing much damage.
Can a Striker Win Against a Grappler?
Yes, a striker can win against a grappler if he has both offensive and defensive techniques. So, to achieve such high marks, a striker should know how to strike MMA techniques, high knees, and kicks while keeping the grappler at a long-distance range and how to defend against the swift takedowns of grapplers.
Can a Grappler Win Against a Striker?
Assuming that both the sides are trained, professional, and the best of their groups, even then, the chances of a grappler winning are 70 times more than that of a striker.
The grappler knows how to take down the opponent to the ground when the striker has no idea of submission.
Striking vs Grappling- Which One is More Difficult to Learn?
Whether striking or grappling is more difficult to learn depends solely on the individual’s interest and the time one invests.
However, in a general claim, grappling has a far more complex curriculum and fighting style than striking.
- Learning any form of grappling can easily take five to six years of your lifetime, and in some cases, even more. BBJ and wrestling are known to be the best forms of grappling. But they are too difficult to develop a command on that BJJ is known as the physical version of human chess. Here is our detailed article on BJJ chokes, don’t forget to check it out.
From basic drills to BJJ grappling dummy drills, there are hundreds of techniques to develop deep hands. A rough estimate is that to become a skilled grappler in BJJ needs five years of intense, devoted training.
- On the other hand, strikers like the Muay Thai players and the expert boxers need 2 to 3 years to develop solid skills. However, it takes a toll on the body of practitioners as they need to absorb the heavy punches and strikes.
Striking vs Grappling- What Should I Learn First?
Learning grappling or striking first is based on one’s personal choice, area of interest, and preference.
However, if you aim to participate in MMA first, it is better to learn grappling. It is safer and more effective but more demanding, as you learn tricks and techniques at a very slow pace. Most MMA and UFC champs like Kamru Usman, Chris Weidman, and Tyron Woodley were expert grapplers.
However, deciding to learn striking first got no disadvantage too. In fact, it trains and strengthens your body to bear hard punches and throws.
The important thing is to take time but develop a strong command of both styles so that you can have a grip on the offensive and defensive techniques.
Is Grappling More Effective in Street Fighting or Striking?
Street Fighting is the only point where strikers are in a more favorable situation than grapplers. In a street fight, strikers have open control over keeping the distance between them and the opponent at long range. As a result, he can easily execute the high knee, punches, elbow strikes, etc., and hit the opponent.
However, the grappler at long range will find it difficult to come close as the striker can move back anytime and longer the range. Therefore, executing chokeholds or takedowns for grapplers becomes a bit too difficult. Only if the fighting room is small than the situation can turn in favor of the grappler, allowing him to take control of the striker within no time.
Best Grappling Arts to Learn
Now that you are up with that grappling is more effective than striking, let’s move towards some famous grappling Arts you can opt for
One of the most famous and versatile forms of grappling is BJJ. It trains you for self defense and different ways and throws to take opponents of all kinds to the ground.
It focuses on the mind game and dynamics principles to get a chance and develop a foundation against stronger and heavier opponents.
How many BJJ Moves are there?
There are more than 600 BJJ moves, and each has its points and area to focus on. The most common BJJ moves are triangle choke, half guard, and cross collar choke.
Another form of grappling is wrestling, a combat sport that focuses on pins, clinches, joint locks, etc., to pin down the opponent to the ground. Wrestling involves a lot of strikes, and surprisingly, every grappling art has borrowed one or two styles from wrestling.
The third most common grappling art is Judo. In this, the grappling workout trains you to harness the opponent’s momentum against himself. It is more or less related to Jiu-Jitsu with some distinguishable techniques.
Best Striking Arts to Learn
In striking martial art, a few forms that have gained the most attention are
Muay Thai, the art of eight limbs, is a striking form that trains you on how to use your whole body weight as a weapon. It focuses on trips, throws, and how to deliver power shorts from a distance. It is learned by people who need to prepare themselves for street fights. However, many MMA and UFC champs have also developed deep hands in Muay Thai.
Boxing isn’t bound to any introduction. It is a famous combat sport and the most publicized one too. Nearly every street corner gym trains boxing. In it, you combine your power with precise and sharp movements to throw and overwhelm your opponent. There are different modes of attack. However, fists combined with a leg throw is the most famous one.
Pros and Cons
Now that we have discussed the famous forms of grappling and striking art let’s shed some light on the pros and cons of each art.
Pros of Grappling
A few grappling benefits that its practitioners get are:
- Helps you take control of the opponent and decide in what direction the fight should go by manipulating the mechanics of the body
- Gives you a full-fledge equivalence with the opponent of any size
- Can execute any form of strike with minimal chances of injury
- No head injury at all
- Allows you to adjust the intensity of force in accordance with the need
Cons of Grappling
When considering the cons of grappling, not much is known except that it is
- Not effective against multiple attackers because you can’t take all of them down at a time and attack. Therefore, the grappling workout had limitations of attack.
- Not effective if the opponent is at a long distance from you. For grappling, your opponent should be close enough so that you can attack.
And this concludes the Cons of grappling.
Pros of Striking
Some of the benefits of striking are
- Teaches you to stay on your feet and handle many attackers simultaneously in one go. You can execute the strikes at an arm’s distance and hence can attack one by one on multiple opponents.
- Trains you on how to move in and out of the given striking range to land your strikes on time and yet not let the opponent catch you
Cons of Striking
Some major cons of striking are
- Since you execute all the strikes with full power, the chances of unintentional injury increase by many folds.
- Once you get in control of a grappler, it is very difficult to generate force and execute strikes to regain the dominant position.
Conclusion- The Final Sum Up!
To cut a long story short, we can say that there is no second thought that both grappling and striking are powerful arts, each having benefits worth learning. But when it comes to choosing one in the battle of striking vs grappling, grappling is the open winner. It provides you with numerous advantages and yet offers safety.