Regardless of where you look, it’s unavoidable to see Brazilin Jiu Jitsu near the top of any list for best martial arts for self-defense.
We may live in the most peaceful period in history and if you are in the developed world chances you will not find yourself in a dire situation on the street. But to believe that this is impossible is wishful thinking. You may limit the possibilities of being involved in a physical conflict, but you can never completely eradicate the possibility.
The famous Chinese proverb “It’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener at war” is still very relevant today. So, the best thing you can do is prepare yourself physically and mentally to prevail in a physical conflict should the need arise.
You are probably thinking “what martial art should I learn”. While there are many details to the answer to this question, BJJ surely provides one of the main skillsets you must possess to be confident that you are prepared for a real-life fight.
We will explain why BJJ is considered one of the top martial arts for self-defense and break down some of the effective strategies and techniques that will help you on the street.
BJJ Is Combat Proven
Since its inception in the early 20th century, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has been battle-tested countless times. The Gracie family, who transformed the traditional Japanese style of Jiu-jitsu into the system we know today, tested and perfected their craft against any willing opponent of any style in challenge matches, sanctioned competitions, and even street fights.
BJJ’s popularity skyrocketed worldwide in the 1990s thanks to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The UFC was created to answer the ages-old theoretical questions of which martial arts is superior in practice. After the first editions were won by a relatively small unassuming man with the name of Royce Gracie it became painstakingly clear that grappling is an essential part of a complete fighter’s toolkit.
BJJs track record and proven efficacy in real altercations are why we at Granite Bay jiu-jitsu like to call it evidence-based self-defense.
Sport BJJ vs Self-Defense
Modern BJJ has two distinct branches that share the core principles of the martial art, but also have some significant differences that may not be so obvious at first glance. These are the sport of BJJ and the self-defense martial art BJJ.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a hybrid martial arts style based on grappling intended to control a resisting opponent with techniques that force him to submit or neutralize him. The “gentle art”, as BJJ is sometimes called, does this by utilizing leverage, timing, and natural body movements.
In theory, the main premise of the art is to use skill, technique, and precision to overcome greater strength, size, and aggression. This is why BJJ is the perfect style for women’s self-defense.
In sport BJJ however, some of these principles are not valid. Here you are not fighting against an unskilled and possibly larger opponent, but quite the contrary. You are trying to win against an equally trained practitioner in the same weight class as you.
Since the 1990s BJJ has grown into a worldwide sport with a very well-developed tournament circuit starting from small kids and reaching all the way to professional athletes.
As with any other sport, there is a strictly specified ruleset and the majority of the practice time and moves are oriented to win in this ruleset. This is great and practicing to compete brings immense benefits. The level of competition constantly rises and with it rises the level of technique, mastery, and strategies.
However, there is one giant gaping hole in sports BJJ. There are no strikes. Which immediately makes the most common distance used when rolling in BJJ a terrible situation for you in a street fight.
Practicing jiu-jitsu specifically for self-defense is focused on understanding how to defend yourself in a scenario with no rules. If done correctly, this practice will give you street awareness that is fundamental in real-world scenarios in addition to the physical skills to decide the confrontation in your favor.
The Best Techniques For Dire Scenarios
The most significant difference between pure grappling and fighting is the distance. There are two safe distances for you when fighting. You either keep your opponent too far for him to strike, or you smother him close, so he has no space to strike.
With this in mind, we will discuss a few of the best techniques from BJJ that are very potent in a real fight.
First, you need to control the distance on the feet. Fights start there not only in MMA but on the street as well. If the fight is unavoidable or you are attacked the best option is to close the distance and smother the opponent, so he has no space to throw haymakers. From the close clinch position, you can drag the fight to your domain-the ground.
Of course, in a street fight, unlike in grappling, you being on the bottom is not preferable, to say the least. But if you find yourself there use your feet to either keep the opponent far so he can’t hit or tangle him with arms and legs as tight as possible where BJJ gives you the clear advantage over an untrained opponent.
Taking the bad guy’s back is undoubtedly a smart decision in a street fight. From there you have a plethora of options to harm him without being in danger yourself.
Getting the opponent to the ground in the first place reduces the opportunity for explosive movements and by taking his back he is pretty much helpless if untrained. The rear-naked choke is one the most common submissions in MMA for a reason. Once in tight control of the back, it’s only a matter of time for you to find the position and stop his airflow.
Another great and popular technique that can be used is the guillotine choke. This is the best move to end the fight quickly if your opponent shoots a crappy takedown. He will quickly regret his decision while gasping for air.
But always don’t forget to be vigilant for potential helpers that may surprise you while you swim in your own waters on the ground.
A very important benefit we haven’t mentioned before is that BJJ gives you the invaluable skill to resolve a violent confrontation without actually having to harm the opponent. Simply by controlling him or placing him in an inescapable position a much more serious and damaging outcome is avoided.
Is Bjj The Best Martial Art For Self-defense?
A real fight is terrifying and messy and no one martial art can have all the answers. There can always be a situation where your skill may not help you, or even harm you if chosen poorly. But to answer what martial arts should I learn for self-defense- Brazilian jiu-jitsu should be your first choice.
It’s created for this exact reason, it’s accessible to all kinds of people and it has proven itself as efficient as martial arts get on the toughest stages on the planet.