Groundbiting revisited

As promised, I saved the "JKD or BJJ" thread a while ago, and am now posting it. Enjoy!


Most of VUNAK instructors based their fighting on RAPID ASSAULT TACTICAL. Use chain punches to get in and proceed to clinch knee to take to the ground etc... The difference between VU BJJ and the one you see being taught is Vu students bites to create space. NO SHIT either! They don't bite hard...but they do BITE. And they similuate eye gouging and slapping yo nuts. I'm not kidding. I trained with Dan Mikesva who is a Vunak instructor/student and he went dirty all over me. I assume it would be great in the streets cause they use the dirty tactics after they get the BJJ positioning.

From 4 Ranges:

at our academy, the biting/gouging on the ground is a separate scenario. We don't do that during bjj class. If that were the case, I'd be blind and have tetanus by now. :)

From Boyscout:

Just a side issue
I hear from a friend who trains BJJ in Brazil and who made the mistake of biting in regular rolling that it's an SOP to knock the bitters front teeth out and choke them a little longer until they do the "funky chicken".
It may be just my friends school any oneknow if it's the same anywhere else.
I am talking about even "friendly biting". And yes my friend lost his two front teeth after being knee mounted and pounded.

From 4 Ranges:

"made the mistake of biting in regular rolling"

You NEVER do anything that's outside of a class's normal parameters unless it's been specified by the instructor. Your friend got what he deserved.
Biting on the ground can be trained. It just has to be specified by the instructor, and done progressively. Biting on the ground sounds all funny, until, of course, you've been bitten. Nothing sets in the panic response more than being bitten.


4 Ranges...I had no problems with it since this was a friendly sparring match. And Dan woke me up to several other avenue of escape thru biting. I wonder if I get him in the 69 would I...???

From Twinkletoes:

Biting is a great thing to add, but you NEED to AGREE on this BEFOREHAND.

I have one student in the Wesleyan club who insists that no matter what drill we're doing, he grabs his partner and starts throwing strikes. He made the mistake of doing that to me once, so I picked him up and slammed him into side mount, slapped him around for awhile, and then choked him very close to unconscious.

There is NO ROOM for horseplay when we are training dangerous techniques. Period.


From Fatbuddha:

Biting seems kind of gay and dangerous from a health perspective - do you really want someone else's blood in your mouth?

From 4 Ranges:

If that someone else happens to be a 260 lbs. perp who has broken into my house, has me pinned, about to stab me with a knife, and could do more harm to my loved ones if I don't act fast...sure I'll bite him.
Nothing "gay" about it. Certainly not gayer than having your opponent between your legs now, is it?

From DJColdFusion:

Personally, I love the formula that Vunak defines in RAT. Some of his students have redefined it as CAT (Counter Assault Tactics) or RCAT (Rapid Counter Assault Tactics) for legal reasons but the formula is basically the same Pressure-Pain-Finish (or more pain if necessary).

However, I know of several people who have attended Vunak's apprentice instructor course, which is essentially an introduction to RAT and its training methods, and now charge $85+ bucks a month because they claim to be a JKD "instructor" (conveniently leaving off the "apprentice" part of it).
The differentiation between apprentice instructor and instructor is extremely important in Vunak's organization. An apprentice instructor is someone whom Vunak has essentially welcomed as a training associate. They might know they most basic rudimentary elements of the RAT but that's about it.

I trained with Mike Brewer in Colorado Springs, Co. and it was an awesome experience. I learned more in my first week than I did in years of TMA work. Find a good instructor from Vunak's organization and check out the class, they tend to be contact oriented are not for everyone.

From John Frankl:

I would absolutely HATE to get bitten (who wouldn't?). That said, I place biting's efficacy in the same dubious category as the eye jab. Will it hurt? Yes. Will you need to go to the hospital AFTER the fight is finished? Probably. Will it end the fight in your favor if you are in a poor position and unable otherwise to extricate yourself? Not likely.

Paul Vunak did a lot to get people out of horse stances and into boxing rings/BJJ academies. He cannot be thanked enough. But he also grossly overstated the effects and effectiveness of many of the methods he advocated. His stick tapes suggest that anywhere you hit someone with a stick is effective. Perhaps as effective as a "gunting" to the bicep, but not very good for stopping fights. Check out the other Rodney King or talk to a prison guard and you will find out that even repeated blows from multiple "attackers" weilding sticks much heavier than the rattan twigs Vunak whips around on his videos don't end violent confrontations that well or quickly.

Same goes for the knife. Vunak talks about a cut on the hand/arm leading to nearly immediate shock and bleed out. Not in real life. Police reports are full of accounts of people sustaining multiple stab wounds and still finishing fights--many report thinking they were being punched. In my other life as a bladesmith I have been working on a very pointy knife in a vise, gotten careless, and impailed myslelf about an inch deep in the forearm. I had no adrenaline to dull the pain or keep me from realizing exactly what had happened. Did I go into shock and bleed to death? Hardly. I washed the wound and wrapped it in toilet paper and duct tape so I could finish the project. The most painful part of the entire experience was both my wife and the doctor chastising me for waiting till that evening to go in for stitches.

Which brings us to biting, chewing through pot roasts and other circus feats. Biting works to escape an armlock in Enter the Dragon. do that to a motivated BJJ man and he will howl and tear your arm off and take it home and put it in his freezer. Biting will not make up for poor position. Pain will NEVER make a difference in a fight with a truly motivated individual. You must turn out the lights.
I suppose, if you are a psycho, biting can be very effective from a dominant position, but then you are just a crazy wannabe vampire since you could finish with strikes or chokes just as easily.

Finally, I do agree that I would bite someone if I thought it was my last and only hope. I wouldn't expect to win, just to be remembered. But, guess what, my baby daughter already knows that technique and she didn't need JKD privates or steak-biting interval training to perfect it.

Just say no,
John Frankl

From DJ ColdFusion:

"Biting will not make up for poor position"


However, biting was never a method of achieving victory in Vunak's formula. Biting is performed when you are trying to escape a position and cannot create the space. You bite to get that little bit of room so that you can get into a position that will allow you to move. And he DOES NOT teach anyone to bite from every position or just to bite for the hell of it.

And twigs??

First off, Vunak promotes learning how to use EVERY weapon through the examination of a limited number of basic principles that can be applied across the spectrum of "weapons" fighting. This "chunking" of technique has the practitioner working against real force, with a limited number of angles of attack, with a limited number of techniques that are designed to deliver maximum effectiveness and portability across weapon types and situations.

The real wealth of Vunak's "system" is in the multiple assailant area. When you are in a club waiting for your buddies to show up and some a$$ wipe in cowboy boots (who is backed up by his three buddies that happened to show up on time) starts up with you . . . then Vunak himself will tell you that you're probably going to take a beating; however, he has also put together a system of training that if followed properly, and trained diligently, will give you the best possible options for surviving such an attack.

One of the things Vunak pushes when faced with a multiple attack scenario is finding an "equalizer" (translate this "equalizer" as weapon). The "twigs" you discussed are a training tool that help you recognize and work with distance, your opponent's movement, they condition you so that you don't become "weapon fixated" (pay more attention to your, or your opponent's weapons than necessary). The knife work is designed to get you out of a bad situation as quickly as possible, it's not fancy and it's not designed to be a "complete" system of knife work.

The beauty of Vunak's "system" is its recognition that it is essentially a set of principles with a small number of applicable tools that are practiced repeatedly under different "live" scenarios as often as possible against REAL resisting individuals. Its not easy, people get bruises, egos get hurt . . . but it works.

It's not a replacement for BJJ, Muay Thai, or even Kali . . . it's the glue that can bring them all together.

Sorry about the deluge.

From Aaron Little:

Another problem with biting is that most people, whether engaged in physical confrontation or not, will never think of biting. If you are in an inferior position and attempt to bite in order to create space then you just changed to game. I realize that in a fight for your life "Anything Goes" but I want to be the one doing anything, not the other guy. Biting someone who has full mount would most certainly lead to a rain of hell down on you.

From DJColdFusion:

Biting someone who has full mount "may" cause them to sit back for a split second and open up an opportunity for you to upa, recover guard, reverse the position, or whatever.

And if a guy has full mount on you in a street fight then he is already raining "hell down on you". There is a falacy out there that if you use every tool at your disposal then you'll make your attacker angry . . . guess what? He's already angry, you're in a sh*tty position and you need to do whatever is possible just to save your a$$. Refusing to consider biting as an option (notice I said option, not THE answer) is a flat-out prissy thing to do.

Do you need to study Vunak's system to defend yourself? No, but don't dismiss it either.
I don't like "everything" that I hear from the SBGI people (although I own more than one of their instructionals); however, one thing that I read from a post by Thornton went something like, and I'm paraphrasing from memory here: "be like water, then add dirt". He may have been quoting someone else, but wherever it came from it has a great deal of truth in it.

Vunak doesn't have all of the answers, and he's never claimed that he did, but he does have a formula and a method of training that does work.

It doesn't take much to "add dirt" but it does take time and good instruction/great training partners, diligence, to "be like water". Vunak's promotion of biting, gouging, whatever, is about "adding dirt". His focus on it, and the focus is minor, is just a recognition that you should be familiar "as possible" with any weapon you decide to use while witholding nothing (even biting) from the range of options that you might have in a selfdefense situation.

From Aaron Little:

I used the full mount scenario because back when I used to be a Vunak Full Instructor that was an example of a time one would not want to bite. The primary underlying principle of Kina Muti was the theory of the "Uninterrupted Bite". If I am mounted I am not in a position to do that. The approach certainly could have changed. I have been away from PFS for quite a while now.

From 4 Ranges:

First of all, this thread has definitely "evolved" into a very interesting discussion. I like hearing all "sides", because it helps me examine my own view of the big picture.

The eye jab does belong somewhat in the same category as biting, but that category is not necessarily "dubious." Both techniques are NOT, I repeat NOT, fight enders (then again, neither is an armbar - see Renzo x Otsuka on this one).

One of the most important principles of winning a fight is to be in an organized position, while your opponent is disorganized. In other words, my structure as a fighter must allow me to launch my attacks efficiently, and defend sufficiently in order to capitalize on an opening. If my hands are up, my chin is down, and my elbows are in during a stand-up, one-on-one scenario, I have the ability to launch an attack, and defend. Even if my opponent is smothering me with quick, powerful strikes from all angles (check DeLahoya x Vargas on this one), if I maintain this structure while slipping, checking, ducking, shielding, etc., I'm still in an organized position...and I'm still DANGEROUS to my opponent. However, if at some point during the exchange, my chin comes up, or my hands drop, or I turn away, or curl up from pain, then recovery becomes all the more difficult, if not impossible.

This is where the eye-jab comes in.

IF I get finger-jabbed in the eye, nothing can stop my structure from even PARTIALLY collapsing (i.e., my rear hand wipes my eye, my ATTENTION is drawn away from the opponent, or I turn away altogether), because this is an INSTINCTIVE response to an eye-jab. (Check Bobish x Goodridge on this baby).
This little lapse in my structure is the equivalent of not snapping my jab back into position, and this is when my opponent can capitalize on my mistake (see Norton x Ali part I, or Mayweather x N'dou).


From 4 Ranges:

Eye-jabs, arm-wrenches, destructs, all these techniques are meant to disrupt the other person's structure, so that we can capitalize.

Why the emphasis on disorganizing the other person's structure? Easy: For as long as my opponent and I have good structures in a street scenario, then the fight will simply be an exchange - and that's not the scenario we want. However, if we disorganize our opponent's structure (hands down, chin up, etc.), then are ability to capitalize and finish the fight increases, while his chances at recovery is gradually reduced, half-beat per half-beat.

Biting as a fight ender is a ridiculous notion. Anyone who's seen Holyfield x Tyson, or the underground footage of Ryan Gracie biting a fellow jiu-jitsu fighter knows that bites don't end fights. Unless you're being bitten by a pitbull or a shark...and then again there are still survivors from such savage attacks.

Biting, if done correctly and with the proper amount of savagery, does create a response in your opponent that collapses their structure (the conditioned response), and makes them fly into a more predictable and manageable set of actions (the instinctive response). During this lapse in their structure (and their relatively calm mental state), you can capitalize and ESCAPE.

Sure he can recover mentally, and perhaps even physically...but only AFTER that brief moment of panic, that allows you to capitalize and escape.
Mind you, biting on the ground is NOT, I repeat, NOT a substitute for proper ground training.


From 4 Ranges:

Just to finish with "biting", here's a thought: imagine if the mundials added a new rule where BITING was allowed. Everything else stays the same - 4 points for mounts, 2 points for sweeps, etc., but BITING is allowed. How would this affect the bjj game? Not sure, but I'll tell you one thing: everyone's gonna have to re-think the so-called superiority of the north-south position. :)

As for sticks, knives, etc. - I don't recall Vu ever saying that a strike with a kali stick anywhere to the body would stop any opponent. I don't know of any kali peeps who would make such a claim. Maybe vu said something like that to you, or some material I haven't seen or read (maybe the old panther tapes??), but I don't remember him every saying anything like that, or having such a belief be included in the PFS methodology. I, for one, don't believe that a strike ANYWHERE with a stick is effective. But, like DJColdfusion put very well, the "twigs" that Vu plays with are TRAINING TOOLS. A "twig" won't stop those pesky rioting prisoners...but I'm sure the same training methodology applied to a LEAD PIPE or ALUMINUM BAT would do wonders. :)

As for the knife, that's a WHOLE other thing. It's one thing to accidentally stab's a completely DIFFERENT thing when you're being ASSAULTED by an alive, uncooperative assailant with a knife. I don't think anyone can overstate the daunting odds of being in an assault scenario, where your opponent has even a cheapie boxcutter, and all you have are your "empty-hands."

However, there are many instances where empty-hand does overcome the knife (one of my former classmates is a living example)...but there are just as many, if not more instances, where the reverse has occured.
So when is a knife ineffective? To go even further, when is a stick, an eye-jab, a bite, or an armbar ineffective?

As always, the same boring, but true answers, come up: depends on the range, the scenario, the timing, the practitioner's abilities, and their willingness to do ANYTHING to "win."

I usually don't dig on the long symposium debate style threads, but this is a good one.

I have actually been biten in a fight. It was by a crazy drunk girl who literally jumped on my back and started clawing at my face and biting my shoulder/trap area. I can't say it was the worst pain i've ever felt, but it wasn't pleasant. I didn't want to fling her off of me and hurt her so I kind of fell to my knees and scrambled away from this hell-dwelling shrew.
The most horrifying part of the whole experience were the noises and facial expression that this banshee made, it was like something out of the Exorcist.


dude, I swear the stuff you come up with! Hysterical! LOL!!


interesting story.