Everyone always wants to know what is the most effective martial art in a street fight. Nobody wants to learn a martial art that has no applicability in the real world. Let’s breakdown the effectiveness of boxing and BJJ.
Is Boxing Or BJJ Better In A Street Fight?
Boxing is better suited to a street fight as all fights involve striking, boxing’s specialty. Boxing is also more equipped to deal with multiple attackers than BJJ. However a BJJ fighter would be a favorite over a boxer as a boxer can’t stop takedowns.
Wait how can boxing be more effective in a street fight but a BJJ fighter be more likely to defeat a boxer in a fight? Let’s find out why!
Punches Are The Most Common Form Of Attack In Street Fights
Nearly all street fights start with 2 people standing and then one starts throwing punches. I would estimate this is the reality of over 95% of street fights.
Boxing will teach you to master this exact typical street fighting situation. In boxing you will learn how to:
- Block punches
- Evade punches
- Measure striking distance
- Throw punches
- Deliver knockout blows
These skills will ensure you can dominate in street fights. How is some drunk throwing telegraphed punches with his hands down going to defeat a boxer who has spent hundreds of hours punching and evading strikes from skilled boxers? The answer is he isn’t. A trained boxer will be able to quickly knock out an untrained thug.
In contrast, BJJ does not teach practitioners how to deal with strikes at all. This puts them at risk of getting hit by an untrained striker because they do not know how to gauge distance or effectively block and evade punches.
If you never have had someone throwing hard punches at you before it can shock your body and cause you to freeze. Martial artists need to train against strikes to develop superior reactions especially when punches are the most common form of attack in street fights.
In street fights there are no rules and you can’t expect people to fight fair. This means that you will often be facing multiple attackers. While neither boxing or BJJ is going to give you superpowers to easily defeat a group of assailants boxing is better equipped to deal with the situation. Here’s why:
Boxing works from a distance – When fighting multiple attackers you want to keep them far away from you and in front of you. If multiple attackers get close they can grab, bite and eye gouge. Also they can get behind you and start throwing strikes you can’t see coming.
Boxing can deal with this street fight situation because a skilled boxer can stand slightly out of striking range so his attackers can’t hit him. And then quickly step in and throw punches and before the attackers can respond be out of striking range again. This makes the boxer unhittable.
BJJ is a grappling martial art and therefore requires you to be holding your opponent to work. You need to be almost glued to your attacker for it to be effective. This may be ok against 1 attacker but against multiple it puts you at risk of being surrounded or blindsided.
A BJJ athlete can not control his surroundings as effectively as a boxer because all his attention has to be on the attacker he is pressed against.
Boxing can quickly end a fight – A skilled boxer can literally throw two punches and knockout 2 attackers. This makes it well suited to facing multiple attackers. How many people do you think Tyson Fury could fight at the same time? I think he could pretty easily handle 3. Once he knocks out 1, taking care of the other two shouldn’t be too hard.
Ending a fight with BJJ is not as simple as throwing a quick punch and walking away. BJJ requires multiple movements including establish grip, establishing position and then finishing a particular submission. Even against an untrained attacker this could take almost a minute.
Boxing is incredibly energy efficient – A trained boxer is not going to become tired fighting against multiple opponents. They have the stamina to throw hundreds and hundreds of punches. Throwing 20 to 30 to deal with 3 attackers is going to gas them out.
BJJ is the opposite of energy efficient. Grappling is incredibly tiring. Wrestling against 1 attacker is going to have you sucking wind and your muscles burning let alone 3 or 4.
You stay standing in boxing – When up against more than 1 attacker the best strategy will often be to run. As boxers are always standing on their feet they can easily just take off sprinting.
Most BJJ techniques occur on the ground. If a BJJ fighter is on the ground it is going to be far more difficult for them to escape.
Location Of A Street Fight
Street fights always start on the feet with people standing. Boxing is also a sport where athletes fight on their feet, making it easily adaptable to a street fight situation.
A boxer can easily go from a neutral stance to a fighting stance before the attacker even knows what is happening. Unfortunately, a BJJ fighter can not.
For most BJJ techniques to be effective the fight needs to take place on the ground. And as street fights start standing BJJ fighters need to find a way to take the fight to the ground. The issue is that many BJJ athletes have poor takedown skills.
If a BJJ athlete is unable to take the street fight to the ground their chance of winning the fight goes down dramatically.
Who Would Win A Street Fight Boxer Or BJJ Fighter?
A BJJ fighter is more likely to win a street fight than a boxer. A BJJ fighter will be able to easily takedown a boxer who will be helpless on the ground. A boxer will have to score a quick KO which is unlikely.
Boxing is the superior art when fighting untrained attackers in street fights. However, BJJ athletes are favorites over boxers if the two martial artists squared off in a street fight. Why is that?
Boxers do not know how to defend takedowns and have no idea how to defend against submissions. Where as BJJ athletes specialize in these areas of fighting.
BJJ athletes spend hours and hours taking down and submitting other trained BJJ fighters. When they come up against a boxer who has no grappling skills they will find it very easy to quickly take them down and choke them unconscious.
When fighting a BJJ athlete boxers really only have a puncher’s chance. If they don’t score that quick knockout the BJJ athlete will grab a hold of them and quickly throw them to the ground. After that the fight is over.
Boxers have a small window of opportunity to score the knockout. The BJJ fighter will quickly step into striking range and only be there for less than a second before grabbing a body lock or snatching the boxer’s leg. The chances of a boxer landing a knockout punch in that split second is low.