Can BJJ Be Self Taught?

You are interested in training BJJ or you may have recently started training and now want to find ways to learn and improve your BJJ skills. In this article we will look at different ways you can improve your BJJ knowledge.

Can BJJ be self taught? BJJ can not be self taught. To learn BJJ you need to be taught by a skilled coach and then practice your technique with a training partner. You also need to stress test your technique by sparring. You can supplement your BJJ training by learning alone however this can not replace training at a BJJ gym.

The problem with self taught BJJ is you have no way of knowing if your technique is correct. You need a second person to correct your mistakes and teach you techniques which are actually effective. Also you need a second person to perform your techniques against. BJJ is not like boxing there is no shadow BJJ. You need a partner to perform your moves on.

A martial art can only be considered effective if it has been stress tested. Stress testing in martial arts takes the form of sparring and competitions. If techniques do not work against 100% resistance they need to be modified or discarded until you are left with core techniques which can be used with great success against trained opponents who are offering strong resistance. BJJ is a highly effective martial art because it has been rigorously stress tested in Vale Tudo, MMA, BJJ competitions and street fights. In every BJJ class there is sparring to ensure practitioners can be under no illusion of their skill.

If you attempt to teach yourself BJJ there is no ability for the aforementioned stress testing process to take place. Instead you will have no idea if the techniques you have taught yourself could be implemented against a resisting opponent.

Theoretically you could teach yourself BJJ and then go to a BJJ open or competition use your techniques and see what works. Then return to teaching yourself BJJ. However this process would not be entirely self taught BJJ as you are relying on outsiders to stress test your techniques and it would be highly inefficient as the stress testing would be infrequent and all technique breakthroughs would have to be generated by yourself. The reason students are able to progress so quickly by training in BJJ gyms is because they can stand on the shoulders of giants and can avoid the mistakes that their coaches have made.

How Can I Train My BJJ Without A Partner?


How can I train my BJJ without a partner? You can train BJJ without a partner by practicing solo drills which will be improve your movement, using a grappling dummy which can improve your technique and watching BJJ instructionals which can teach you new techniques.

Solo drills are a great way to improve your flexibility and the fluidity with which you move. Great solo drills include:

  • Shrimping
  • Bridging
  • Animal Movements (bear, crab, leopard)
  • forward rolls
  • backward rolls
  • granby roll
  • cartwheel
  • headspring
  • handstand
  • front flip
  • headstand
  • Sit outs
  • Inversion
  • Guard retention drills
  • Hip bump
  • Shooting hips in the air (great for practicing triangles and armbars)

You can’t go wrong practicing these movements. All will help you move more efficiently when training BJJ. You can never be too athletic and these drills can help with your coordination.

Here is a great video with some BJJ solo drills which are worth trying out

Are BJJ Dummies Worth It?

Are BJJ dummies worth it? No, BJJ dummies are not worth it. You can not replace training with a partner with a BJJ dummy. BJJ dummies are expensive ($90-$300). BJJ dummies do not simulate a real person, there is limited skill transfer you can take from training with a dummy to live training. Save your money and go to more BJJ classes.

If you want to do some extra training outside of BJJ that is great. However you don’t need a BJJ dummy. BJJ dummies are mostly a marketing gimmick. You do not need some overpriced outline of a man to be laying on the ground to practice BJJ movements. Not only is this type of BJJ training not very beneficial to your development but you can use any object such as a boxing bag or pillow.

Can I Learn Jiu Jitsu Online?

Can I learn Jiu Jitsu online? No, You can not learn Jiu Jitsu online. You need to practice Jiu Jitsu with a training partner. Online classes and BJJ instructionals can supplement your training but you need to attend a BJJ gym. By learning Jiu Jitsu online you won’t be able to develop the feel for the techniques and you won’t know if they work against resistance. 

Online Jiu Jitsu can be a great way to learn new techniques and it is better than nothing if you can’t make it to your gym. However online classes need to be combined with in person training to determine if you can perform the move correctly during drilling and sparring. This process is only possible if you have access to training partners.

How To Learn Jiu Jitsu At Home?

How to learn Jiu Jitsu at home? To learn Jiu Jitsu at home you need create an area which is suitable to train in (buying some BJJ mats is recommended). You need a partner to drill with and spar against (ideally similar size and skill level). You need learning materials to teach you new technique and help you with mistakes (BJJ instructionals are perfect for this).

How do I practice BJJ alone?

How do I practice BJJ alone? To practice BJJ alone you need a padded area (Judo, wrestling, yoga mats), learning material (BJJ instructionals, online classes, seminar recordings, MMA fights) and a way to monitor your technique such as a camera to record your movements so you can review your progress and correct mistakes.

How Long Does it Take To Learn BJJ For Self Defense?

How long does it take to learn BJJ for self defense? Within 6 months of learning BJJ for self defense you should be able to defend yourself against a smaller or similar size attacker. After 12 months of learning BJJ (blue belt skill) you should be able to defeat a larger untrained attacker in a street fight with relative ease.

After 6 months of training BJJ you will have a good understanding of the basics. You will know a number of sweeps, passes, takedowns, escapes and submissions. You will be comfortable maintaining guard, side control, mount and back control. You will have large holes in your game and your technique may not always be pretty but you will have solid fundamentals. You will be able to submit a new student with relative times multiple times a round. You will have no problem controlling and dominating them during rolling.

In a street fight you should be able to control an attacker who is of similar size. As a street fight is much more intense than a rolling session at your gym and the fact that anything goes including strikes it will be much more difficult to win a street fight than a sparring match. However you should still be able to implement your techniques to effectively control the situation and come out of the fight unscathed.

After 12 months of training BJJ you will be at or close to a blue belt in terms of skill. This means you will be an intermediate BJJ practitioner. As an intermediate student your fundamentals will be strong. You will be comfortable in all the major positions in BJJ and have multiple strategies you can implement to counter your opponents. Your technique will still be developing however you will be able to execute fundamental techniques fluently and smoothly without much thought. A lot of BJJ techniques will be ingrained into your muscle memory. During sparring you will be able to easily defeat opponents who are larger and more athletic than you but are not as experienced as you. You will have no problem tapping such an opponent out multiple times a round.

Defeating a larger more athletic attacker in a self defense situation where strikes are involved will not be easy. However with your extensive BJJ training you should be a favorite in defeating an unskilled attacker. If you remain calm and implement your BJJ techniques you should be able to defend yourself and your family from harm. The best way to ensure you defeat your opponent is to be aggressive, implement your strategy and have a couple of go to techniques which you will use. For example an effective sequence could be; clinch, arm drag and standing rear naked choke.


BJJ is a grappling sport which requires a partner to practice and to compete against. The techniques in BJJ are intricate and difficult to learn, requiring the guiding hand of a seasoned coach. Due to this BJJ can not be self taught. Attempting to teach yourself BJJ is only going to end up with you wasting your time. Over the years I have come across people who have tried to teach themselves BJJ by watching MMA, BJJ instructionals and rolling around with their buddies. When these people finally decide to train at a gym they are never good. At best they are an average white belt. Don’t waste your time. If you want to get good at BJJ find a high quality gym, train multiple times a week and within a year you will be a solid BJJ practioner.

Recent Content