Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a discipline that exploded onto the martial arts scene, allowing fighters in the sport of MMA to absolutely dominate their competition. While the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in MMA is beyond dispute, how does this martial art stack up as a means of self defense? In this second part of our blog series comparing martial arts to concealed carry, we look at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and how it compares against Muay Thai and concealed carry when it comes to self defense.
Domination from the Ground
There’s conflicting figures about the percentage of street fights that end up on the ground. After all, it’s not something you can study in a lab. Regardless of the exact number, the point is that a large majority of fights do eventually end up on the ground. This is great news for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters since their training allows them to absolutely dominate an opponent on the ground. In a striking fight, there’s always the chance that an inferior fighter will land a lucky shot that ends the fight. The odds of someone with no grappling training defeating a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter on the ground, though, are about the same as a middle-schooler beating Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm-wrestling match. Best of all, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters are trained on how to take a fight to the ground, allowing them to drag an opponent down into their home turf even if their opponent is doing everything they can to avoid going to the ground.
So long as you are only facing one attacker, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu allows you to completely control the nature of the fight. If you take someone down into full mount (or into side control, or into guard, and so on…) they aren’t going to run and pick up a lead pipe from the alley. They probably won’t even be able to pull any weapons out of their pocket if you do a good job controlling their hands. If your aim is to hold a person until help arrives, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is highly effective, and there are even stories of good Samaritans holding crooks in an armbar or a chokehold until help arrives. Rest assured that a person isn’t going to be doing a lot of struggling if you’re threatening the snap their arm at the elbow. This superior level of control offered by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is unlike anything that any other martial art provides you with.
Less than Lethal Solutions
The real world isn’t like Hollywood, and punching or kicking a person with too much force in just the wrong place can cause permanent damage and in rare cases even death. While this may be a positive thing if your life is on the line, there are many situations that don’t call for this level of force. With Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you only cause as much damage as you intend. Chokes are almost always harmless so long as you let the person go as soon as they pass out, and even joint-locks are only permanently damaging if you follow through and actually break the bone. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter can hold a person in a state of struggle-deterring pain all day long without actually ever causing any permanent damage. For situations where you want to control an individual without severely hurting or killing them, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the perfect solution.
Advantages of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Self Defense
Overall, what self-defense advantages does a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter have over a Muay Thai fighter or a concealed carry holder? For starters, the general consensus is that, all things equal, an experienced grappler will usually have an advantage over an experienced striker. If an experienced grappler is in a street fight against someone who isn’t trained in grappling or striking, 99.9% of the time they’re going to walk away victorious.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu allows you to destroy opponents one-on-one while at the same time limiting the amount of damage they are able to do to you. An experienced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter who takes a fight to the ground is in very little danger of getting seriously hurt unless they are fighting someone who is an equally experienced grappler. While teeing off with someone standing up puts even the best striker in danger of catching a stray punch, the only way for someone to land significant blows when you take them to the ground is for them to gain an advantageous position such as mount, and odds are someone highly trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu could fight an untrained grappler a thousand times without ever giving up a position such as this.
As for the advantages that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has over concealed carry, they’re really the same advantages that Muay Thai has over carrying a gun. For one, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offers a less-lethal means of self defense for situations that don’t call for lethal force. Second, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is something that a person always carries with them. While a firearm can be left behind, malfunction, run out of ammo, and so on, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a means of self defense that, once you are trained, you will never be without.
Disadvantages of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Self Defense
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great for self defense until one of two factors are thrown into the situation: weapons or multiple attackers. If either of these two threats become a reality, the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu goes out the window.
For example, taking someone down into a rear-naked choke is a guaranteed victory if they are the only person you’re fighting. However, the second their buddy comes up behind you and starts kicking you in the back of the head with their steel-toed boots you’re going to be in a world of hurt. The unfortunate truth is that grapplers cannot effectively deal with more than one opponent.
Likewise, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is largely ineffective against armed attackers. Even immediately taking someone down into a perfectly applied choke will give them a few seconds before they pass out. If they happen to have a knife in their hand, how many times do you think they’ll be able to stab you in those few seconds? Even once would be one too many. While leverage and dominate positions are needed to land forceful blows on the ground, it doesn’t take much force to stick or cut someone with a knife, meaning that no matter what position you have your opponent in, you’re in danger.
In short, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great for defeating unarmed attackers one-on-one. It gives you a great deal of control over the fight and limits the damage you take. For unpredictable scenarios on the street, though, where weapons or multiple attackers are a possibility, Muay Thai or concealed carry are the better choice.
Read Part I of this Three-part Series here: