Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Effective?

You may have seen some videos, watched MMA or heard some stories about how effective BJJ is. And now you are wondering is BJJ really effective in a street fight or is it fiction like a Steven Seagal movie. I’ll show you why BJJ is very effective in a street fight but also why it won’t turn you into a superhero.

Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) effective? Yes BJJ is effective in a street fight particularly in a one on one situation. Fights are about controlling your opponent. BJJ specifically teaches you how to establish total control over someone without taking damage. BJJ also teaches you how to end a fight through submissions which have the potential to maim people such as arm and leg locks and kill people such as chokes.

Street fights often involve people grabbing each other and often end up on the ground. BJJ teaches you how to incapacitate someone through submissions both standing and on the ground. To find out in detail what makes BJJ so effective please read on.

How Do We Know BJJ is Effective?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s effectiveness has been proven in street fights, mma and fight challenges. You can go to youtube and find street fight videos of people trained in BJJ effortlessly dominating their opponents in no rule street fights. The Gracies first showed the effectiveness of BJJ to the world in the first UFC tournament in 1993 where Royce Gracie fought in an open weight no rules bare knuckle fight contest and despite fighting men much larger than himself was victorious.

After this effective display BJJ has become a staple in MMA with all serious competitors training extensively in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Before the UFC the Gracies had an open challenge to the world where they invited any martial artist or street fighter to come to their gym at any time for a fight. These fights were recorded and are known as the Gracie Jiu Jitsu in action tapes. You can find these videos online and they show just how easily the Gracies were able to defeat their opponents no matter what techniques they used.

Why is BJJ Good for Self Defence?

BJJ is good for self defence for a number of reasons. You can use BJJ to win a fight without hurting your attacker. Striking arts like boxing don’t allow this to happen and many people have been killed or been seriously injured by being punched in a fight and then falling and hitting their head on concrete. BJJ allows you to control your opponent by placing them in positions where they can not move through pins and back control, while also allowing you to incapacitate your attacker through submissions that don’t do permanent damage if they aren’t held too long like a choke.

If you seriously hurt someone in a street fight you can be looking at spending many years in prison, paying huge fines and having your life completely destroyed because of a stupid street fight. This can be avoided by using BJJ to defend yourself.

BJJ does not require large amounts of strength or athleticism to implement. Of course it helps to be big and strong but everyone who trains BJJ has experienced being toyed with by someone half their size. BJJ places a large emphasis on technique and by using your whole body weight as leverage even a small person can exert large amounts of force which can render a much larger opponent defenceless. Even other grappling arts such as wrestling and judo place a much greater emphasis on size than BJJ does.

BJJ does not require much time to learn. Yes it may take years and years to master BJJ but to reach a skill level where you can defend yourself against an untrained opponent can be achieved in 12 months of consistent training. To see this yourself go to your local BJJ gym and spar with someone who has been training for 12 months and see how you go.

Why is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) the Best Martial Art?

I wouldn’t say BJJ is the best martial art but it does have some key advantages over other martial arts. To find out if a martial art is effective it needs to be tested against 100% resistance. Many martial arts do not have hard sparring or full contact competitions. Therefore it is difficult to determine how effective they are in a fighting situation. BJJ does not have this problem as hard sparring is incorporated into every training session and full contact competitions are regularly held.

Effective martial arts which do have competitions and hard sparring often are too damaging on the body to train for many years and sparring and competition has to be limited. This is the case in boxing and kickboxing. Due to the lack of brain damage and the overall safeness of BJJ sparring can be done daily which allows people to find out what techniques work and to rapidly improve their ability in stressful situations.

BJJ has a less intense atmosphere than many other effective martial arts. People often comment on how friendly people are in BJJ and how relaxed and welcoming the culture is. This easy going culture can help beginners who are starting out to commit to attending training as many can be intimidated. Boxing and kickboxing gyms often have a more intense and aggressive atmosphere which may suit some people but many beginners feel put off by this atmosphere and may find it harder to continue to train in such an environment.

How to Use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a Street Fight?

There are strategies you can use in a street fight to make your BJJ even more effective. Even though BJJ focuses on ground fighting, if you find yourself in a street fight you should not use your BJJ to go to the ground as once on the ground a different attacker can come up behind you and start kicking your head. If you search youtube you can find examples of such fights. Being punted in the head should be avoided at all costs.

I recommend you use one of these two strategies to win a street fight using BJJ. Take your opponent down while remaining standing. This can be down with a snapdown, different trips and throws. Once your opponent is on the ground you then can either subdue them by pinning them with knee on belly or neck or if required knock them out with soccer kicks.

The second strategy involves putting your opponent in a standing submission. I recommend a standing guillotine or taking your opponents back by using a throw by or arm drag and then applying a standing rear naked choke. A standing rear choke is very effective as the attacker will struggle to do any damage to you from this position and you can use their body as a shield against other attackers.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Criticism – Is BJJ Overrated?

If you think BJJ will turn you into a superhero where you can easily defeat any attacker, yes then BJJ is overrated. However if you think BJJ can quickly and greatly improve your ability to defend yourself in a street fight, I think BJJ’s reputation as being effective is well deserved.

There are a few issues with BJJ’s effectiveness. If you have no experience with being punched or kicked you may have issues with judging the range at which your attacker can hit you. To avoid standing in striking range ensure that you stay very far away from your attacker or glued to their body. It is not a good idea to voluntarily go to the ground in a street fight as you can be attacked by other attackers.

BJJ is not well equipped to deal with multiple attackers. Boxing is more effective to deal with multiple attackers as you can quickly punch multiple people and maintain your distance. Whereas BJJ requires all your attention to deal with a single opponent.

BJJ is very effective in a street fight and evidence of its effectiveness can be seen in street fight videos and MMA. However to ensure your BJJ is most effective in a street fight it should be complemented by training in boxing and wrestling to make you a complete fighter.

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