Grappling refers to the gripping, handling and controlling of an opponent without the use of striking, typically through the application of various grappling holds.
A grappler is a person who predominantly practices grappling in Martial Arts or combat sports.
Grappling can be used in both a standing position, where it is known as stand-up grappling, and on the ground, where it is known as ground grappling. Grappling is an essential part of both clinch fighting and ground fighting.
Grappling is a mode of fighting used by many different Martial Arts around the world. It is not a distinct Martial Art, but rather, similarly to striking, a collection of techniques and strategies aimed at defeating an opponent.
The degree to which grappling is utilized in different fighting systems varies. Some systems, such as Amateur wrestling, Submission wrestling, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are exclusively grappling arts, and do not allow striking. Many combat sports such as Shooto and Mixed Martial Arts Competitions, put much emphasis on grappling, while still retaining striking as part of the sport.
It is however forbidden to grapple in many Martial Arts and combat sports; usually for the sake of focusing on other aspects of combat such as punching, kicking or Mêlée weapons. Opponents in these types of matches, however, still grapple each other occasionally when fatigued or hurt; when this occurs, the referee will step in and restart the match, sometimes giving a warning to one or both of the fighters. Examples of these include Boxing, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Karate, and Fencing. While prolonged grappling in Muay Thai will result in a separation of the competitors, the art extensively uses the clinch hold known as a double collar tie.
Grappling techniques and defenses to grappling techniques are also considered important in self-defense applications and in law enforcement. The most common taught are escapes from holds and application of pain compliance techniques.