There’s no denying Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s immense popularity in today’s world of martial arts. The early days of UFC are a testament to just how effective it was in taking down larger fighters in the octagon. And ever since then, it has taken the world by storm.
Still, with that continued growth in popularity comes questions that revolve around its place in the real world. One of the most talked-about of these discussions centers on BJJ’s effectiveness (or lack of it) in street fights and self-defense.
Before reading on, you might want to consider picking out a good pair of MMA gloves from this blog to help improve your BJJ game.
What Makes BJJ Effective for Street Fighting and Self-Defense?
Learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu holds a ton of advantages. Among these is that it allows you to incorporate effective defensive techniques into your mixed martial arts game. As far as self-defense goes, it hardly gets any better than BJJ. Even so, you don’t want to go looking for a fight just to experience its effectiveness firsthand.
Contrary to what some might believe, being in a street fight doesn’t make you cool. In fact, it makes you reckless and irresponsible. Even if you have incredible fighting skills, you should still choose running away as an option over using them.
Still, there are times when you can’t avoid fights, and you’re called to do whatever needs to be done to defend yourself. Here’s how BJJ can be super-helpful in these situations:
1. Takes Place on the Ground
Unlike most martial art forms, BJJ takes place mostly on the ground. It starts out with both fighters standing, but the immediate objective of getting the opponent to submit means either fighter won’t be spending too much time in that position. On the ground is where each fighter will try to use their technique to dominate the other.
If you excel at BJJ, you definitely want to take the fight to the floor so that you can finish it quickly. Not even an experienced boxer stands a chance against you from that position. Not to mention, he could easily injure himself when striking. This is because street fights usually don’t give you the opportunity to put on a pair of boxing gloves for protection.
Getting into blows with someone without being governed by rules is an entirely different story. No part of the body will be off-limits, so the hands will be hurting a lot sooner. Then, there’s always that chance of striking from an awkward angle, which will be all kinds of painful and might even lead to some broken bones.
2. BJJ Is All About Sparring
Another thing that sets BJJ apart from other martial arts disciplines is that it emphasizes heavily on sparring. That means getting better at it almost solely revolves around constant practice.
While drills and repetitions will dominate most other martial art forms’ practice sessions, live sparring will cover most of the training for BJJ. Unlike in boxing and Muay Thai, which have sparring sessions once a week, BJJ has it almost every day.
That said, should a BJJ practitioner find himself in a street fight, he should be able to execute correctly in the situation rather than feel like a sitting duck at being thrust into something entirely new. More than developing basic drills and techniques, each daily training session is also capped with live sparring as a form of evaluation.
Why you can do this in BJJ and not in other traditional martial arts disciplines lies in the combat sport’s less emphasis on strikes. With BJJ, it’s more about grapples and holds rather than heavy-impact blows.
How is that going to translate to the streets? Well, as you become more experienced at BJJ, you can deliver more aggressive rolls to your opponents. Unlike heavy strikes, rolls have a lower risk of injuring a person, which is something you always want to aim for in an actual fight.
3. BJJ Is Great for Self-Protection
BJJ focuses on self-defense more than anything else. That’s why out of all the martial forms that exist, it can offer the best form of self-protection when executed correctly.
The core focus of BJJ is pinning your opponent to the ground and getting them to submit. What’s great about putting yourself in this position is that you’re able to avoid strikes and still somehow have control over the pain you’re inflicting on an opponent. This allows you to subdue them without doing any damage.
Where Does Krav Maga and MMA Fit Into the Picture?
When talking about effective street fighting, there was no way for Krav Maga and MMA not to be mentioned. Both these martial art forms train in multiple disciplines and get you used to competition fights early on—a combination that provides leverage in street fights.
If you’re an MMA fighter looking to compete in the octagon someday, it is worth noting that incorporating Krav Maga moves into your game could give you a considerable advantage over most opponents. When fused, these two combat styles have the potential to turn a fighter into an incredibly complete warrior both in and out of the octagon.
What’s great about training in MMA and Krav Maga simultaneously is that the former involves the type of mental conditioning that lets you employ Krav Maga moves with ease. They also complement each other in almost every way, making up for most of the other style’s general weaknesses and enhancing each other’s strengths.
Does this fighting-style mix trump BJJ in terms of street-fighting adaptability? Let’s just put it this way. Assuming that both are delivered by highly-capable fighters in a one-on-one fight scenario, both provide a similar chance of subduing an opponent safely and effectively.
Avoiding a Fight Is Best
As great as BJJ is for individual street fights, you don’t want to use it in scenarios involving multiple attackers. In a brawl, a striking-focused combat sport might be more useful as it can effectively keep opponents at bay. Nevertheless, you want to avoid fights entirely if it’s possible. After all, one of the reasons why you learn any form of martial art is so that you don’t have to use it.