GB Student Question: “Is Jiu-Jitsu effective for self defense?”

A question from someone who has experience in some other martial arts asks Gracie Barra Blog “Is Jiu-Jitsu effective for street self-defense?”
The short answer is YES! We will go into the reasons shortly, but let’s consider the question first.
It’s very likely the questioner came from a striking martial art that is focused on defeating an opponent by powerful kicks and punches. This is of course a part of being a complete martial artist, but if you have spent any time at all watching street fight videos you will know that most often the fights end up in a clinch and then to ground grappling situation. This is where Jiu-Jitsu is King and can mean the difference between personal injury and neutralizing the attacker.
Secondly, many people who have seen only the sport aspects of Jiu-Jitsu where competitors are using sports specific techniques like Spider guard or deep half guard wonder about the applicability of these techniques to real street situations. There are techniques in Jiu-Jitsu that are only for sports use as there are self-defense techniques that you are unlikely to see in a Jiu-Jitsu tournament.
The Gracie Barra Curriculum includes Self defense techniques that address specific situations that are common in real-life situations. The techniques are tested and proven over time by thousands of Jiu-Jitsu students and a student learning Jiu-jitsu for self-defense can be confident that the techniques are valid and really work against a fully resisting opponent.
There are other significant but less obvious ways in which training Jiu-Jitsu is great preparation for self-defense encounters.
The first would be the confidence and awareness in dealing with aggressive situations that you develop from training Jiu-Jitsu. For most people who don’t train, they are completely psychologically unprepared to deal with an aggressive person. Being aware of your surroundings and being confident makes one a much more difficult target for a would-be the aggressor.
Familiarity with dealing with another person in an intense physical situation. Outside of the Gracie Barra school, very few people have had another human try to grab them and try to choke or armlock them at close quarters. It is a shock to them if a confrontation happens in real life. In Jiu-Jitsu classes at Gracie Barra, we jokingly say that all of your best friends have tried to choke you at one time 😉
That is to say that the Jiu-Jitsu student is very familiar with another person’s aggressive physical energy and ready to deal with an aggressor that puts their hands on them.
The physical attributes that Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu students develop – strength, agility, endurance – are all invaluable in personal protection.
The nature of Jiu-Jitsu rolling reflects the chaotic nature of real fights. Instead of the choreographed moves against a cooperative opponent, that is the way self-defense is taught in some other systems of self-defense, in Jiu-Jitsu sparring, you must constantly react to and deal with the actions of an unpredictable opponent. This is excellent preparation for our reactions in a split second, adrenaline-filled self-defense situation.
If you are looking for self-defense training to protect you and your loved ones, Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent way to get fit and instill confidence.
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia