Sensei McClagish demonstrating Juji-Gatami
Grappling is an essential part of a karate-ka's armoury. Any fight out on the street could well end up with either the assailant or his victim, or even both parties, rolling around on the ground.
Any so called traditional karate-ka that believes he can always handle being attacked whilst staying on his feet is deluding himself. Just watch any freestyle bought in any competition and within any fight competitors will be seen falling off balance, being thrown or swept to the floor. Shotokan karate, some believe, does not recognise this fact.
Sensei Woods gets out of body scissors
Although I will agree many current practitioners of “traditional” Shotokan do not recognise this fact I will argue the point that it is there in our kata. Many advanced Kata include wristlocks, sweeps and throws hidden between the more recognisable techniques. Just take the Mawashigeri kicks from the floor in the kata Unsu as a point of interest. Why are they there then, does that not prove my point?
It can therefore be argued that traditional Shotokan does recognise groundwork and grappling techniques and any serious karate-ka ignores the practice of them at his or her peril.
We in CFTS do believe groundwork and grappling is an essential part of our training as important as any other aspect of our training and attempt to practice it on a regular basis. Techniques from the ground still work but they require much more practice to execute them as proficiently as if one were stood on one's feet.