Does Jiu Jitsu REALLY Work as a Self Defense?
I recently stumbled upon a blog of a well know Jiu Jitsu practitioner ( I decided to keep his name out of this post because I don't think its important). I read a really interesting post of his and it really made me think. Now, I can respect his reasons for taking Jiu Jitsu but I wholeheartedly disagree with his view on the art.
In the eight years I've been active on martial arts internet forums, I've said many times that I'm not interested in self defence. It isn't something I train for, firstly because I find it dull, and secondly because I'm dubious about the benefits. I'm small, weak and passive, so if some huge drunk with a broken bottle wanted to smash my head in for knocking over his pint, I doubt there is much I could do beyond running away.
Rickson Gracie said : if size mattered, than the Elephant would be king of the jungle. Yes, I realize that this is a nice poetic way of giving the small guy hope in Jiu Jitsu. We've heard countless times of how Helio Gracie was small and weak but really truly could handle himself in real fights in Brazil (not match fights).
I don't take issue with the blog writer not finding reality fighting interesting but issue with that he is dubious about the benefits. I'm small, weak and passive, so if some huge drunk with a broken bottle wanted to smash my head in for knocking over his pint, I doubt there is much I could do beyond running away.
Granted, the writer admits to not having interest in self defense nor do I believe he has ever had to use his skill set in a real fight. The writer is articulate, analytical, and opinionated. He is what I would refer to as an intellectual and sport BJJ player. Again, I have no issue with this.
Without having direct empirical evidence or having experienced this type of conflict on a regular (or even semi regular) basis, it makes sense that he would come to this conclusion. It pains me to think think that his "small, weak and passive" approach to life wouldn't be able to stand up to someone larger than him.
Actually, he is right. He most likely wouldn't fair well because a fighting mind set is where all fighting starts. A negative and defeatist attitude has you on the wrong end of winning to begin with. An amateur thinks IF he can take you. A professional thinks HOW he can take you. I see this a lot.
I have no doubt that the writer is very accomplished at his grappling game and probably has "more medals" than most. Knowing him, I am sure his personal took box is sophisticated and well thought out. He probably is a wonderful person to roll with too (that is the sense I get). But having been involved on the RBSD side for 20 years (including Japanese Jujutsu!) I can tell you from my direct experience that I have seen plenty of weak, passive and small people 'beat' larger people. And I mean plenty.
My martial arts experience has saved me many, many times (Japanese Jujutsu and Gracie Jiu Jitsu/BJJ) against men who are MUCH larger than me. It is not that I am a tough person but I have learned to use my knowledge in a way that has kept me safe for many years. I have seen people (literally 5'4 130lbs) take out larger people (200lbs plus) because of speed, technique or a good combative mindset. This knowledge has led to confidence.
I implore people like the writer of the blog not to sell themselves short. Doing 8 years of Jiu Jitsu has probably given him more tools than he is aware of. If conflict can be avoided ('running away'), that is fantastic. But violence sometimes doesn't give you that option.
Real fighting always starts with confidence. Real losing always starts with the words :I can't." Get your mind in check and see what follows.
Original Article Nov 2014