BJJ as self defense?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by mikeffd, May 31, 2008.

  1. mikeffd Brown Belt

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    I'm nearing 5 years of BJJ training, and my passion for the sport remains as strong as ever. However, the more BJJ matches I watch the more I question the effectiveness of the art as self defense. We spend so much time working positions and techniques that are completely redundant in a real fight let alone MMA. Most of the time we're training to beat someone else who knows bjj.

    I dislike seeing so many people pull guard in BJJ matches. It's not uncommon in the lighter weight categories to see the competitors pull guard at the same time. Perhaps the CBJJ should give the competitors a minus 1 for pulling guard as do encourage them to train takedowns. I think ideally BJJ should look something like what Jacare, Roger Gracie, Damian Maia or Xande Ribeiro do. All of them play a complete game; Standing and ground.. without a great deal of exotic (unrealistic) positions.

    What do fellow BJJers think? Would you rather have a great half guard or the ability to toss someone on their head:)?
     
  2. agente809 Green Belt

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    I think that BJJ is GREAT for self defense as long as you have the right focus and the right strategy.
     
  3. Malchir Orange Belt

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    It's a useful tool. But it's just that.
     
  4. brackis1 Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    The 400 meter sprint is the best self-defense tactic.

    As a hand to hand combat between unarmed men, BJJ is an excellent fighting tool.
     
  5. Shemhazai Black Belt

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    QFT.

    As long as you have some perspective on the nature of real fights (i. e. don't pull turtle guard in a street brawl), BJJ is possibly as good a tool as any one art in isolation. If you're interested in effective self defense, though, it might be an idea to train some striking as well. 99.9 % of fights and assaults begin standing up, and voluntarily taking it to the ground is very risky, as well as unnecessary if you have the tools to finish it standing.
     
  6. spirez Purple Belt

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    parkour is the best seld defence. Just run up your nearest building!

    I never look at BJJ as a self defence art but it definitely helps to knw how to disable/sweep someone if you end up geting taken down. Also good for just getting back up off the floor quickly and proceeding to kick their nuts or slam their head into the bar, rutten stylee.
     
  7. LocalNmass Blue Belt

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    I think the best info/advice/examples can be seen by early challenge/vale tudo type fights like Rickson,Renzo and Royce took part in that can been seen 93-96. They don't use any exotic technique's.

    Look @ the paul vunak stuff on youtube for idea's to make your bjj "filthy"
     
  8. lethalazn Purple Belt

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    preferably behind you, with both hooks sunk in
    having training in Grappling/BJJ and going against someone who can't grapple is like carrying a rope/tranquilizer needle/garrote all in one! it's always with you! and it's perfectly legal too!

    On the other hand...you wouldn't use any of those tools against people with firearms, knives or more than 2 assailants either...
     
  9. Oldguy Blue Belt

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    The basics are what will help you in a street fight. Of course, you won't be using your X guard. But, the longer you train on at BJJ and these more exotic things, the better your basics become that will help you on the street.

    I look at the Gi and the sporting techniques as the equivalent of baseball players that swing a leaded bat for practice before they go up to bat. It makes them better when they get to the plate.
     
  10. Goat Meal Shhh Belt

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    BJJ is highly effective for self defense, you just don't want to start playing inverted guard or anything. You'd use BJJ to sweep your opponent or minimalize damage while on your back. You'd use BJJ if you were on top to control your opponent while landing strikes of your own. BJJ as a whole is effective, just some aspects of BJJ like certain guards, would not be. Also, as someone else said, if you are concerned with street defense, you might want to mix in 1 or 2 days a week of boxing or muay thai.
     
  11. bobbylight** Banned Banned

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    Judo is better against an opponent that doesn't know any martial arts. You can get the opponent on the ground, and once there it is all about dominant positions.
     
  12. Zankou Bringing peace and love Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Judo is better than BJJ for self defense, IMHO.

    That said, any remotely skilled BJJer should be able to effortlessly take down an unskilled opponent. Just because you don't want to get thrown on your head by a judo blackbelt in a competition, and so jump guard as a strategy, doesn't mean you won't pwn an unskilled opponent standing up.
     
  13. Balto Silver Belt

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    Have you ever trained any other arts besides BJJ?

    The reason I ask is because when you do, you will realize that almost every art runs into this at some point. The practical self-defense techniques are almost always the stuff you learn as a white belt.

    So why progress beyond white belt? Why bother learning "exotic" positions and techniques?

    The reason is that it trains the attributes necessary to use the basic techniques dynamically. So even though the truth is you will probably just use a white belt BJJ class sweep if you find yourself on your back in a real situation, the fact that you have spent time training more advanced techniques will give you the attributes and skill necessary to pull off the technique.

    Also, you mention throwing people on their head, which implies that maybe Judo doesn't suffer from this issue as much. I can assure you that it does. At higher levels of Judo, there is a lot of analyzing common skilled attack patterns and developing counter strategies.

    Do you really think your opponent is going to be "going for a gripping strategy" in a real situation? I doubt it. You're just going to find yourself attacked, and you will probably deal with it using one of the most basic and fundamental Judo techniques that you learn in your first week. It is no different than what you see happening in BJJ.
     
  14. The Colonel Purple Belt

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    Has the original thread starter ever trained in the self-defense techniques of BJJ? My first Academy spent a lot of time doing so (tons of cops who trained there) and we spent so much time defending bear hugs, headlocks, various wrist and collar grabs, dealing with walls, other people, disarming (a lot of the cops were really, really good at disarming people)

    Its actually a really big part of the art, but no one on the forum or in a magazine is going to start a thread saying, "how do I do knife disarms in BJJ?" instead its all, "how do I go from butterfly to x-guard" etc.

    In BJJ, this is what I've always heard and I what I believe to be true, is that after blue belt you're basically training to beat other grapplers.

    For a good review of BJJ for self-defense, check out Royce Gracie's book on it, I think its titled, "BJJ for Self-defense". He wrote it strictly because he felt like too many guys were getting caught up in the sport jiu-jitsu counter to counter to counter type game. The techniques in the book are all ones that I trained in at my first Academy and they all work great.

    Hell, most of the self-defense techniques in BJJ don't even have you going to the ground, that's looked at more of an option that you have should you end up there either because of your choice or your opponent. But there are a lot of standing armlocks, wristlocks, escaping headlocks to hammerlocks, hell I can even show you how to do a kneebar from a bearhug and not go to the ground with it.

    All that being said, me personally in a self-defense situation, if it came down to swinging, I'd probably throw a couple punches just to close the range, tie him up, and pummle him into either a guillotine or a thai clinch (have you ever noticed how easy it is to snap someone's head down who doesn't know ANYTHING about fighting?) and finish from there.
     
  15. georgejjr Black Belt

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    Well, assuming we're talking about self-defense as in bar fight rather than self-defense against four guys with weapons (ie the typical mugging in these parts according to the police - in which case the best self-defense is not being there, or getting out of there as fast as possible if you have to be there, or carrying a weapon yourself) I'd agree with this. Its also the reason judo and wrestling work very well on the ground in self-defense - they're more than enough against unskilled opponents.

    The BJJ'ers who cross train with us in judo do fine throwing against beginners, they run into problems with higher belts. Same thing in reverse for judo. As as always there are exceptions, BJJ'ers who throw well, and judoka who are good on the ground*

    *-added to ward off the inevitable complaints.
     
  16. Trickster*** Banned Banned

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    I love BJJ I stopped doing MT, MMA and Kung Fu to train BJJ but BJJ is a SPORT!! BJJ is NOT EFFECTIVE for the street!

    I would never even CONSIDER using BJJ in a street fight, if I got knocked down I would get my ass back up! In the rare case that someone knocked me down then follwed me down (assuming the fight was one on one) MAYBE I would stay down!

    I love BJJ but its useless on the street! You MUST MUST MUST have other skills to be able to protect yourself on the street!

    Lets say you get jumped by two people....even if you get top position you are going to be getting cracked on the head by the other guy....and if you pull guard you are going to have your face stomped on! lol
     
  17. lethalazn Purple Belt

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    Agreed, but that isn't exactly detrimental to self defense as it sounds

    Let's take a move that is more likely used in self defense than competition: Standing Kimura when someone has double underhooks from behind on you, you COULD do it in rolling sessions/competition, but you would have to be a significantly better grappler (in terms of experience/timing/etc) than the other guy (or really lucky) to nail it on the guy, even if you may have drilled the technique many times in class before.

    but the only way you could become a better grappler is to try to beat other ones.
     
  18. Oldguy Blue Belt

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    There is no real self defense against multiple opponents on the street other than a weapon. If you are worried about that, get a concealed weapon permit.

    More people carry weapons than you would imagine. Just about everyone has some sort of Spiderco knife clipped to his belt. Many people carry a gun. It is just the way things are.
     
  19. ssckp86 Orange Belt

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    Only if:
    1 on 1
    unarmed
    they arent good strikers

    Its really quite limited on the streets

    train sprinting instead
     
  20. Zankou Bringing peace and love Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I've known several people who used BJJ successfully in self defense.

    One guy got cold-cocked by a bum who was pissed at his attitude. The bum knocked him to the ground by a blind side punch as he walked by, and then jumped on him. He armbarred him, broke the arm, and got up ... the bum ran off holding his arm.

    Another guy was hit with a similar situation while doing a bit of minor time in prison. He got hassled and sucker punched in the cafeteria, knocked to the ground. From the ground, he promptly heelhooked the leg and snapped the guy's ankle.

    Point being that it's not REMOTELY rare for you to get knocked down in a street fight no matter what your skill level is. Street fights are rarely fair, and often a surprise. Unless you are the aggressor, most of the time you will be starting under bad circumstances -- circumstanced dictated by the aggressor(s). Often you will have zero chance at all, because you will be KO'd before you even know the attack is on, or 2-3 guys will just jump you and beat the shit out of you. BJJ genuinely gives you a substantially better chance of success in some limited situations. That's certainly not going to make you some invulnerable juggernaut, but it's nice to have.

    If you see it coming, then by 1000 times the best self defense is to know how to leave, by sprinting or other means. Trying to duke it out with two to three guys is just stupid beyond belief.
     

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