Rolls in Self-Defense?

Shai Hulud

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Hello, MT.

As those of you who many know me now on this forum, I'm a Sambo and Systema practitioner. That means regular full-contact near-MMA style combat, although at the moment my rank's scope still doesn't include striking techniques in accordance with traditional Sambo curriculum. I just passed a rank promotion test earlier today so that's turning out well for me, but now I'm in a bit of a conundrum. To make a long story short, the highlight of my promotion match was a botched ankle pick transitioned quickly into a rolling knee bar - fairly common combination in Sambo. Nothing great, but it worked for me.

For those not in the know, this is a rolling knee-bar.

It's the rolling that's got me thinking. Russian martial arts often include rolling in grappling tactics, whether for take-downs or transitions from standing grappling to the ground. While it's becoming a staple of mine, I wonder about its efficacy on the street (Thankfully, I've never had to use it yet). Do you think it's a practical maneuver in a street-fight? Or is it just all flash and theatricality?

I personally approve of its use, but only sparingly and as a finisher. The common follow-up to a roll would be a submission targeting the ankle or the knee - in bouts for finishers by submission; in self-defense taught as joint-snapping finales to clear a way for escape.

What do you make of it? Your turn, MT!
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I love rolling knee bars in training and for submission grappling tournaments. While there are times when grappling on the ground would be a good idea in self defense there are a lot of times it would be the last choice. Example: someone is in your house there are no other participants so it is a one on one situation and you do not have weapons/tools immediately available and they are unarmed. Not a bad time to take them down and control them. Change the dynamic just a bit and give them a knife well probably not such a good idea. On the street it would be one hell of a surprise move but..... a high potential of failure and or things going wrong. I would not do it.
 

K-man

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As you are talking of rolling in general I will give an example of where rolling is a good option. Say you have slipped or been knocked to the ground and you have one, or worse multiple, guys attacking you, you can roll out of the situation and regain your feet. You can pick up a couple of metres and regain your feet before your attackers realise what has happened.

We even train it from standing when we are doing multiple attacker training, when your time is up you use a roll to get outside the melee.

In Systema you practise lots of rolling. I have carried it over into my other training.
 

Hanzou

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The only thing you should be worried about are the legal ramifications for destroying someone's knee. If you're not worried about that, then there's nothing wrong with doing that move in an appropriate self defense situation. From my experience with knee bars, they can do permanent damage extremely quickly, and you might not even know the extent of the damage until its too late. If someone is attacking you and your goal is to destroy their knee, there's little they can do to stop it once you slap it on, and you should be able to dislocate the joint fairly quickly, so you can get away if you need to.

If your assailant can't walk, you're in a very good position.
 

tshadowchaser

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AS Brian said much depends on the when and where of using it. Most people would never expect it but if can be safely applied in the environment your in at the moment is the question. Also are you going to release it, break the leg, hold it till someone else arrives,, etc. Once you put it do you want to let that person go and stand up again.
 
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Shai Hulud

Shai Hulud

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I love rolling knee bars in training and for submission grappling tournaments. While there are times when grappling on the ground would be a good idea in self defense there are a lot of times it would be the last choice. Example: someone is in your house there are no other participants so it is a one on one situation and you do not have weapons/tools immediately available and they are unarmed. Not a bad time to take them down and control them. Change the dynamic just a bit and give them a knife well probably not such a good idea. On the street it would be one hell of a surprise move but..... a high potential of failure and or things going wrong. I would not do it.
That's my issue with it, mainly. There are just too many variables to consider when going for a rolling knee bar/ankle lock. If the assailant has accomplices, it's a one way ticket to a bad beat-down on the floor.

As you are talking of rolling in general I will give an example of where rolling is a good option. Say you have slipped or been knocked to the ground and you have one, or worse multiple, guys attacking you, you can roll out of the situation and regain your feet. You can pick up a couple of metres and regain your feet before your attackers realise what has happened.

We even train it from standing when we are doing multiple attacker training, when your time is up you use a roll to get outside the melee.

In Systema you practise lots of rolling. I have carried it over into my other training.
I wasn't aware you did Systema before, K.:)

That's one scenario where I do imagine it working - moving out of the way after losing your balance. Do you think it'd be more efficient than a lunge backwards?

AS Brian said much depends on the when and where of using it. Most people would never expect it but if can be safely applied in the environment your in at the moment is the question. Also are you going to release it, break the leg, hold it till someone else arrives,, etc. Once you put it do you want to let that person go and stand up again.
The only thing you should be worried about are the legal ramifications for destroying someone's knee. If you're not worried about that, then there's nothing wrong with doing that move in an appropriate self defense situation. From my experience with knee bars, they can do permanent damage extremely quickly, and you might not even know the extent of the damage until its too late. If someone is attacking you and your goal is to destroy their knee, there's little they can do to stop it once you slap it on, and you should be able to dislocate the joint fairly quickly, so you can get away if you need to.

If your assailant can't walk, you're in a very good position.
Standard protocol (at least as taught in the RMA's) would be to break it. Joint locks are only recommended when you're in a standing position and your opponent is either on his knees or on his back. They don't really recommend staying prone or on your back for long - so the assumption is that yes, you will be destroying the knee, quickly regaining your footing and proceeding back on your feet.

OP Do you mean these types of rolls?
Yes, and the combat rolls used to transition into submission maneuvers. I'd even put the Scissor-Leg takedown there because I'm fond of using that one. Legendary Yasuhiro Yamashita broke his ankle because of that technique. It's on Youtube, but not for the faint.
 

K-man

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I wasn't aware you did Systema before, K.:)

That's one scenario where I do imagine it working - moving out of the way after losing your balance. Do you think it'd be more efficient than a lunge backwards?
I'm full of surprises. :D

Yes, I like Systema. I've been playing around with it for years now. What I especially like is the work they do from the ground. It makes sure that you feel comfortable there even when being attacked. But the big plus are the moves they use to enable you to regain your feet. I haven't seen anything really like it in Krav so for that reason I have included it in my Krav classes.

WRT the lunge backwards ... if I was being pressed backward I wouldn't voluntarily be rolling backwards because your attacker can follow you.
 
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Shai Hulud

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Maybe the OP means bread rolls. Hit your attacker over the head with a stale bread roll and then run. :)
How.. French. Do they teach that in Savate?:asshat:

I'm full of surprises. :D

Yes, I like Systema. I've been playing around with it for years now. What I especially like is the work they do from the ground. It makes sure that you feel comfortable there even when being attacked. But the big plus are the moves they use to enable you to regain your feet. I haven't seen anything really like it in Krav so for that reason I have included it in my Krav classes.

WRT the lunge backwards ... if I was being pressed backward I wouldn't voluntarily be rolling backwards because your attacker can follow you.
I'm finding Systema to be quite practical, yes. Initially I thought it was all quackery, but those seemingly soft, limber movements get snappy real fast. I had a few seminars with Mikhail Ryabko, Konstantin Kamarov and Vladimir Vasiliev, but on regular days it's with Vadim Starov's students. I went to one of Val Riazanov's and it was very fruitful.
 

K-man

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I'm finding Systema to be quite practical, yes. Initially I thought it was all quackery, but those seemingly soft, limber movements get snappy real fast. I had a few seminars with Mikhail Ryabko, Konstantin Kamarov and Vladimir Vasiliev, but on regular days it's with Vadim Starov's students. I went to one of Val Riazanov's and it was very fruitful.
I've got videos by those guys and I've had seminars with Kevin Secours and Alex Kostic, both former students of Vlad. I also trained at his school in Toronto butunfortunately he was away at that time.

I think people misunderstand the soft stuff the same way Aikido is misunderstood. So many of the principles are the same which is why, for me, it is a complementary style for me to train.
 
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Shai Hulud

Shai Hulud

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I've got videos by those guys and I've had seminars with Kevin Secours and Alex Kostic, both former students of Vlad. I also trained at his school in Toronto butunfortunately he was away at that time.

I think people misunderstand the soft stuff the same way Aikido is misunderstood. So many of the principles are the same which is why, for me, it is a complementary style for me to train.
I know Alex! :) He's a big proponent of those Sambo/Systema combat rolls.
 

drop bear

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You can do one if a person has your back and if you watch fight quest they do that in their mc map episode.

I would personally go for something else unless it was handed to me or I just wasn't getting out.

I have done a rolling guillotine on the street into mount. But if the guy can defend it is low percentage. And I do a rolling takedown if I get their back.
 

WaterGal

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I think it depends on the situation. In case of the first video, the guy executing the knee bar was standing and basically pulled his opponent down on top of him to get into position. I wouldn't choose to do that in real life if I could avoid it. As an average-sized woman, most real attackers are probably going to be a lot bigger and heavier than me, and I'd rather not be in that position. But if you have to go to the ground or are already there - in that case, yeah, I think go for it.
 

Spinedoc

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I think people misunderstand the soft stuff the same way Aikido is misunderstood. So many of the principles are the same which is why, for me, it is a complementary style for me to train.

How true. Practicing a variation of yonkyo this weekend, and our Sensei (5th Dan) demonstrated on me......I couldn't feel my 4th and 5th digits on my right hand until this morning (and they are still "tingly") and couldn't even touch my right forearm on Saturday night it was so swollen and sore....

Soft my ***.

Mike
 

K-man

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How true. Practicing a variation of yonkyo this weekend, and our Sensei (5th Dan) demonstrated on me......I couldn't feel my 4th and 5th digits on my right hand until this morning (and they are still "tingly") and couldn't even touch my right forearm on Saturday night it was so swollen and sore....

Soft my ***.

Mike
Yonkyo is the only technique with residual pain, but it is still aplied softly and with 'love'. :p
 

Spinedoc

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Yonkyo is the only technique with residual pain, but it is still aplied softly and with 'love'. :p

Actually, Saturday was epic. First, Aikido weapons from 9-10, working on 31 kumi jo, then, drive to parent dojo, 1130-1230 open hand class with the head instructor (above), then, 1-230 Muso Shinden Ryu class...I slept well Saturday night, but trying to to nukitsuke kirioroshi and shohatto after the above mentioned Yonkyo was, well, interesting and painful.

To the OP, sorry for the thread drift....
 

Brian King

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Rolling as all applied Systema principles can kill you or save you depending on context and circumstances. Rolling is almost always better than traditional break falling if there is an opportunity in my opinion. But that is not the only reason and perhaps depending on the school or the club the primary reason that rolling is taught and practiced.

A big part of falling is that it is such a strong instinctive basic primal fear. Learning how to roll during training is not only for the effectiveness of the movement but to help the student learn how to address a very real and strong fear most people have had since toddlerhood and depending on their current age- that could be a decades reinforced fear. Very tough to get over, but, once achieved what is not possible?

Another basic reason for so much rolling in Systema is that it is SO physically healthy. The muscle and organ massage alone make it worthwhile not to mention all the other body systems that rolling work. Very useful and beneficial.

Regards
Brian King
 
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