The earliest martial art techniques were developed for combat. In combat, the primary fighting tool is the weapon, be it a rock, arrow, sword, or firearm. For times when a weapon was unavailable, dropped, broken, or taken away, the warrior must rely on the empty hand for fighting.
What if you are on a battle field struggling with an enemy soldier over a sword, you having lost yours. Would you want to take the soldier to the ground and put him in a lock or submission hold while running the risk of another enemy warrior running you through with a spear? For combat, you want fighting techniques that are quick, effective, and leave you able to protect yourself at all times. Lying on the ground wrestling with an enemy soldier leaves you vulnerable in many ways. You may injure yourself on some ground object, your line of sight is limited, your choice of attacking and blocking techniques is limited, and you are vulnerable to attack by another enemy soldier. Grappling martial arts were developed for sport, not for combat.
Some grappling skills are effective for combat. Standing throws may be used to injure an opponent when he hits the ground or to set him up for a finishing blow. Standing joint locks (such as those that attack the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee or ankle) that are designed to break or seriously injure the joint (not for submission) are effective. Standing chokes, strangles, or neck cranks are effective since they are relativity quick and they may also be used on the ground when necessary. Hold downs (including submission hold downs) are not effective for combat since at some point you must release the hold. What happens then?
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