Is Bjj the Most Effective Martial Art for Self-Defense?

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Is Bjj the Most Effective Martial Art for Self-Defense?

One of the most prevalent questions people in the Jiu Jitsu community ask is if bjj is the most effective martial art for self-defense.  This is a relatively difficult question to answer. The reason it is so difficult is because every self-defense altercation is typically different.

For instance, how many assailants are you defending yourself against?  Where is this event taking place? Is there a weapon involved?  There are just so many variables that may play a factor on whether or not bjj is really the most effective martial art for self-defense.  In certain situations, we believe it definitely is, and for others, it may not be.

Bjj for a One on One Self-Defense Confrontation

First and foremost, the most effective self-defense weapon is the ability to avoid confrontation, and if you can, run.  Secondary to that, if a situation escalates to a point where you need to get physical, bjj is your next best thing.  This is especially if it is a one on one confrontation.

 Many people may claim Jiu Jitsu has evolved from self-defense to sport, but this article is not about that, we have a great post identifying the difference between sport and self-defense bjj titled “Not Just for Sport, BJJ is Self-Defense.” Today we discuss Brazilian Jiu Jitsu assuming it is the traditional art that implements self-defense techniques.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely practical way for someone to defend themselves against a single attacker.  Jiu Jitsu teaches control and breaks moves down more than any other martial art.  If there is one person that is instigating an altercation, Jiu Jitsu is the best martial art to train.  Why is this?

 Bjj allows you to keep a cool frame of my mind and implement techniques in a high stress situation because of how intense and realistic sparring is.  When you roll with your partner, you actually have to control, takedown, and submit a strong and realistically resistant opponent.  In many other martial arts the flaw is that they cannot simulate the reality of using what they teach in real life.

 It is very difficult to practice eye gouges, throat hits, etc, so some of these martial arts may provide a false sense of security.  Jiu Jitsu simulates resistance all the time, so if there is one person provoking a physical altercation, a trained bjj practitioner is extremely dangerous.  They can implement exactly what they do in the gym.  Check out this video of Stephan Kesting discussing what positions in bjj you should use for self-defense and which you should avoid.

Bjj against Multiple Attackers

Jiu Jitsu is not the most practical martial art if the self-defense situation is against more than one person.  This is because so much about bjj is focused on controlling one person and taking them to the ground.  You rarely and sometime never train to face multiple opponents. When you are facing multiple opponents, things may change.

Bjj is probably the best martial art for a one on one situation as we discussed above, but against more than one person, things are different.  If for some reason you find yourself in an altercation against more than one person, try to run.  Jiu Jitsu can definitely be effective against more than one person, but it may also be dangerous.  Why is this?  Assume one person charges you and you take them down, there may be moments where your back is exposed and you can be blind-sided. 

Being on the ground with one person is great, but if another person is also trying to attack you, it may make it more difficult to defend yourself and you may sustain some blows. Check out this video on creating angles for bjj in the street, it is a great learning tool for self-defense.

Bjj Self-Defense setting, Parking Lot, Bar, Club, etc..?

Another aspect that may play a part on determining whether or not bjj is effective for self-defense is the setting where the altercation is taking place.  If you are in a tightly packed bar and someone instigates a fight, it may be difficult to utilize bjj because of all the other people around, if you can control them from standing, you may be better off.

If you are in an open space like a parking lot and someone without a weapon tries to rob you, this may be the perfect setting that is conducive towards using your Jiu Jitsu.  In an open space your takedowns may be higher percentage because there are no barriers that can stop them, and you can have the space around you to control your assailant.

 If you want to sharpen your self-defense, knee on belly is a great position to control an assailant from.  We have a great post going over knee on belly attacks here. Also check out this video on a hip sweep for self-defense, it is an imperative for bjj practitioners to know this sweep.

Bjj for Self-Defense Conclusion

In conclusion, if there is ever weapons present make sure not to engage anybody for any reason, if they want your money, GIVE IT TO THEM.  Also, if a situation can be deescalated, do everything in your power to avoid it.  If things can’t be avoided and you have to be involved in a physical confrontation, your Jiu Jitsu will be the best thing you can have.  Bjj has saved countless lives and will continue to do so.  It is by far one of, if not the most effective martial arts for self-defense.

If you want to sharpen your bjj and make it more self-defense applicable, check out this DVD “Street Fighting Secrets” by Chad Lyman.


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