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Preparing Your BJJ For The Street With Burton Richardson

Preparing Your BJJ For The Street With Burton Richardson



Do you consider the threat of a weapon regularly in your training? Even though BJJ’s deepest roots are in self-defense, this element of training is often overlooked. There are certain variables that we will never face int eh comfort of our academies. It’s not likely that any of your training partner’s will ever pull a gun or knife out of their gi and threaten your life. Unless you’re a really bad training partner. But seriously, understanding the way our jiujitsu must be adapted to these types of scenarios is a great thing to have on your radar and something we should all take a little more seriously. 

It seems there’s always a debate with sport vs. street and the different methodologies of training. Training for the street doesn’t mean you have to buy 100 hundred rubber knives and never invert again. It could be as simple as changing your focus once in a while to deal with the threat of weapons and other outside chance circumstances.  Should one of these dangerous situations arise, you’ll have a better understanding of how to use your jiu-jitsu effectively in this moment, 

Burton Richardson is quite simply an OG in BJJ. He started training in 1992, which is likely before many of you reading this were even born. He’s worked with and coached some of the most iconic figures in combat sports and has largely contributed to the growth of the scene. Richardson, an expert in multiple fighting arts, has recently released an instructional with BJJ Fanatics entitled, BJJ For the Street. In the new instructional Richardson makes us aware of the not so appealing reality of the street confrontation. He covers a variety of topics dealing with weapons, the use of clothing, clinching, and even the conundrum of multiple attackers. Most importantly he helps us see our jiu-jitsu in a different light and how it can be adapted for an off the mat confrontation. 

In this video, Richardson discusses a couple of different variables and gives us some important things to think about in our training. This is an interesting take on fundamental BJJ and how we can put it to work in some very critical self defense situations. Have a look!


Richardson begins with easing my mind about my terrible jiu-jitsu. Just keep showing up. Got it! It’s always comforting to hear from a pioneer of the art. Ok, moving on to some technique. 

In this first example, Richardson uses the half guard. A simple and common half guard pass leaves Bernardo Faria unaware that Richardson has pulled a gun and stuck it in to his side. With this type of pass, knowledge of the gun and knowing where the hands are would fail us in a dangerous situation. Look at how Richardson modifies the pass by securing double under hooks. This keeps his vision and awareness of what’s going on in the right places. With the double under hooks, Richardson also knows exactly where the assailant’s hands are, so there’s no surprises. This is key in the street. 

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With some quick and interesting details from the guard, Richardson explains how a knife and gun differ, using the gun as a lever to disarm, but a two one grip to control a knife. Richardson even uses a top lock and a basic knee shield to disarm, which many of us are familiar with. These are things we already do daily, applied to weapons, not a huge departure from what we’re used to as BJJ practitioners. 

Richardson gives us a quick look at how to spar in these scenarios, which he believes is the missing link in this kind of training. WE practice our BJJ and we spar regularly against resisting bodies, but this isn’t so much the case with self-defense. Look at how Richardson brings in the element of a weapon from any position. He begins to train with a weapon hidden, and the opposing party can choose to bring it in to the mix at any time. This completely changes the game and the focus. I’ve had a chance to so some of this training. It's actually quite fun and gives you a whole new set of goals during a sparring session. Just the awareness its beings in to your training alone is incredibly important. 

Dispelling a couple of tired knife defense techniques, Richardson closes with some thoughts on how to disarm a standing assailant. The days of spinning around in a circle and putting someone’s arm behind their back are over. In fact, I’m not sure if this was ever a viable option. It seems that with the knife all roads lead to the two on one and Richardson reminds us of an important theory here. The focus is not to control the arm, it’s to control the knife. Using the two on one and intelligent body positioning, Richardson can defend against the knife effectively and have a much better chance of coming away unscathed. 

This is thought provoking stuff. Richardson is on a quest to change the way we learn and train for self defense scenarios and I have to say, he has me very intrigued. Consider this important aspect of your training and give it some attention. You might be very glad you did one day. Thank you Bruton Richardson for the incredible insight! 

BJJ For The Street by Burton Richardson

Take your Jiu-Jitsu and battle-harden it for the streets with Burton Richardson. Learn how to deal with pistols, blunt weapons, and even ideas on how to handle multiple attackers! BJJ For The Street is set to give you the tools to transfer your Jiu-Jitsu to the Street!



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