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 Ideas On Self-defense And Jiu Jitsu

 Ideas On Self-defense And Jiu Jitsu


A brief conversation on Jiu Jitsu and self-defense...

The Gracie Challenges, Vale Tudo Fighting and the early UFC cemented early Jiu Jitsu's place as a martial art well equipped for self-defense. Many would argue as the martial art has evolved into a sport, it has lost it combat effectiveness. Techniques that may not be applicable in a street situation are often valued in a tournament setting. Many in the Jiu Jitsu community have called for Jiu Jitsu to return to its self-defense roots.

Opponents to this view would argue that any blue belt should be able to handle himself in a self-defense situation. Just because you run the spider guard in competition that does not mean you will be unable to handle yourself against an attacker who has a significantly lower level of training.

One thing that many school’s Jiu Jitsu curriculum does not adequately address, in my opinion, is self-defense against a knife or gun.  While certainly there is training curriculum in the Jiu Jitsu community on how to handle an attacker with a weapon this material has garnered limited popularity in many schools.

Maybe one limitation of this curriculum is how to effectively implement in training. The mats always tell the truth if a technique will work.  Yet, how do you effectively measure the defense against a gun or a knife in what would be the equivalent of a live roll? I love drilling technique but I believe you need the live roll to validate it. Even beyond that, how many current Jiu Jitsu Black Belts would be recognized as having the same level of expertise with a firearm or knife as they do with submissions? I certainly believe self-defense training is important. This training is especially important against a gun or a knife. However I am arguing that the solution may not be as straight forward some would advocate.

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Perhaps the onus is ex-military of the Jiu Jitsu community to develop a program of self-defense against weapons. I would certainly feel more confident if former Navy Seal and Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Jocko Willink or former Army Ranger and Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Broc Hooten developed curriculum on dealing with weapons in self-defense.

Until that training program is developed or unless my family is endangered, I plan to follow Jocko’s advice. He advocates, “If someone attacks me and they want to punch or kick me, I can just run away. They're not holding onto me. I can get away from them. It's when someone grabs you that you need some technique to get out of there, or someone takes you to the ground — that's when you need some technique to get out of there. If someone just wants to punch me, well, I'll walk away from them or run away from them. That's OK.”

He expands the statement by arguing that even if you are victorious in a violent encounter, you still have to see possible repercussions with law enforcement or lawsuits. I would add to that communicable disease may also be an issue in an violent encounter.

While everyone in the Jiu Jitsu community would agree self-defense is important, there are widely different views on the best approach to take. In my opinion, adequate training against a gun or knife needs to be developed by Jiu Jitsu practitioners with the right background. Perhaps as Jiu Jitsu evolves, the community will become more unified on its approach. Or perhaps, as some fear, the sport will evolve to the point where it is no longer effective for self-defense.


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