I got back to the station and my uniform was in shreds. My knees and elbows looked like I was some little kid that fell off his bike. In short, I looked like crap. I had just concluded a nice little ground fight with an MS-13 gang member. In retrospect, I should have simply stabbed him in the neck...but we learn and live…thankfully. He was brought in beaten up bad, and choked out...but very much alive.
In my experience, fights do not always go to the ground. They do if you lose your balance, or if you go to a clinch and both guys lose their balance (or one decides to lose the other guy's balance). The big problem with all of this is that you will never be fighting just one guy. There will be others waiting to kick you in the face when you are tied up with their "carnal"...their homie.
So my focus on learning to fight on the ground is not to apply arm bars, or submit people, but rather to get the f*ck back up on your feet as quickly as possible.
If you have no ground skills, learn some. BJJ is probably the best place to start. And if you do have those skills, reconsider the tactic of staying there. Ground fighting on a mat with ONE guy in the gym is one thing...finding yourself on gravel, or asphalt, tied up with one guy as his friends begin walking toward you for the boot party is quite another.
I will add a few things -
1). I thoroughly respect the BJJ guys...but I also respect Western Boxers and Muay Thai guys. Yes, they are sports, but I will tell you who I don't have much respect for - the “theory warriors” (in the martial arts world as well as the gun world) that can never go all out because their "art" is too dangerous.
2). I think the best thing I learned in my time doing BJJ (and I am no expert) is how to maneuver there to get access to your weapons. IMHO, if I find myself on the ground, other than getting back up if possible, my next course of action is to maneuver to pull steel and either inject lead (to slide lock) into whatever part of his body is available, or begin exploratory surgery with my Gang Unit on any part of the face, neck, torso I can get to.
3). On clinching: My POV is that if I clinch with you I am automatically going to guns or to knives as well. I will turtle up and allow all the elbows to land on my hard head and knees on my elbows and I shoot off his “man-junk” with my Glock, or have a try with my blade. Clinching often ends up on the ground so I don't want to linger there either. Break contact or go to caveman first.
4). Arm bars and submission stuff is great if it works, but I have seen them fail many times back in the patrol days. It was very de rigeur for the police to submit people without injury. I found that the hardcore convicts and bandits would not easily submit. They were tough as nails and not impressed with such tactics…and could muscle out of these. Maybe we weren’t doing them right, I don’t know. My best solution was a preemptive strike...with a Maglite right to the frigging head...or something along those lines.
5). Same for chokes. I choked a great deal of people then, but it had the same problems as the clinch. If you didn't set it right it was a clinch with the usual results. And if you did set it right it took several seconds (my best was a choke out in three seconds) to take the bad guy out during which time you were really vulnerable.
6). Like all things...specialization is for insects. But in hand to hand, what seems to work best for THE LONE INDIVIDUAL is great footwork, devastating strikes (usually works best if you are physically strong and physically fit), and the ability to go to animal before the other guy - sucker punching them into unconsciousness while they are still trying to convince themselves to fight.
7). Oh yes…one more thing. Will you be able to draw and shoot, or pull and cut in the clinch with your current carry method? How about on your back in a guard? Can you get up while holding a pistol and shooting w/o turning your back?
Just some things to consider. Stay Dangerous my friends.