Does BJJ Work in a Fight?
Learn It, And Hopefully Never Have To Use It...
Does BJJ work in a fight when the attacker is standing over top of you throwing strikes? A test done by John Danaher black belts, Firas Zahabi, Garry Tonon, and Gordon Ryan in 2016 shows that BJJ does work in that situation. Not only do they show the ability to avoid punches and control the attacker, they also submit them mostly with leg locks.
Firas Zahabi, Garry Tonon, and Gordon Ryan are not the average BJJ or MMA practitioner. They have an understanding of BJJ that most of us will never comprehend and can do things that most of us will never accomplish, but that does not mean the ability to defend oneself through BJJ is reserved just for them. In the above video they say exactly what they are going to do to defend themselves, pressure test it, then break it down one more time at the end.
Some of the biggest takeaways from this experiment is distance management, they always had the attacker to far away to strike them or to close to do damage, after protecting themselves from damage they can then look to counter with sweeps and submissions. Another takeaway is the idea of kuzushi or off balancing the attacker. When the attacker is standing they manipulate their legs to break balance and make it difficult to keep their footing to land significant strikes, this also opens them up to leg attacks so where their concentration was on ground and pound, it is now on protecting their legs from being torn off. A third takeaway is the concept of monitoring biceps.
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Rather than trying to catch individual punches, they control the biceps and can feel when the punches are coming and from where. A fourth takeaway is using limbs to control somebody. In this video you see that done by controlling the attackers legs. Gordon Ryan explains that if a 120 lb person tries to control the torso of somebody much larger than them, say 240 lbs they will have a very hard time whereas controlling just that person's limbs will be much easier, going back to the idea of using leg locks and leg locking positions for self defense, this is a very effective way for a smaller person to control someone larger than them and to submit them as well because the ankles are typically weak on all people.
Take these lessons from the video and apply to your own training. Grab a partner and a pair of boxing gloves and work from all kinds of positions, see if your Jiu Jitsu is effective in a real fighting scenario!
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