Self-defence in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
The purpose of this thread is to ask what kind of self-defence training you do at your Brazilian Jiu-jitsu school, specifically how it is different from training for the sportive aspect of the art. Jiu-jitsu practitioners routinely (and rightfully) proclaim that their art is the best for self-defence in an unarmed encounter, but what do you, personally, base this on?
At our school we train specific groups of self-defence techniques for different situations, such as being on your back against a standing opponent, the headlock, the guillotine, attacks against a wall, various grips from behind, common strikes and a limited number of stick and blade defences. As we all know, almost every martial arts school claims to do this but Iím hoping jiu-jitsu has enlightened you enough to make the proper distinction. Some of the techniques Iíve done can be found in Royce and Charles Gracieís Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Self-Defence, but we train them in a much more organized fashion than presented in that book. As mentioned, techniques are collected into groups of a specific attack, then progress to deal with worse situations or, more specifically, better quality attacks.
For instance, take the rear naked choke attack from behind. Iíve tried to represent the hierarchy as best I can in plain text:
-Attacker comes from behind and grabs your neck
--Base, throw him forward onto his head
-Attacker comes from behind and grabs your neck, stars to drag you back
--Base, try the throw, but the attacker has started dragging you. Turn and reap his leg while pulling on the arm.
---The attacker follows you when you turn
-----Base and throw him as he comes to your back again
-Attacker comes from behind and clasps a proper rear naked choke
--Kneel, block the legs and throw him over, then turn to sidemount as you break his grip
In gradings these are done in sets. A set consists of one attacker doing all the prescribed attacks in order in rapid succession with the person grading doing all the defences. The next person then rotates in and does a different set. These can be mixed up such that one person will do a rear clinch and when the person defends the next attacker will do a shoot or front kick or whatever is asked. Our coach has used this to help train vale tudo fighters as it is not only exhausting when you make the numbers high enough but also covers a large range of single attacks in a typical vale tudo fight. The groupings also cover attacks seen in sport grappling; I and some of my team-mates have used them to win matches in tournaments.
Now, going back to my previous mention of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Self-Defence, I have found that people generally hold a low opinion of that book online. Now, I can understand complaints against organization but I cannot find significant faults in the content. In the same vein, Helioís recent book has been dubbed ďcoffee-tableĒ by several reviewers online. This is just an example; I have yet to encounter another BJJ practitioner outside of my own association, online or otherwise, who practices jiu-jitsu with self-defence as a significant priority.
Essentially, I feel the overwhelming demand from the BJJ community is for sportive training, primarily in a grappling context. I havenít been doing jiu-jitsu for very long, but all of my reading and everything Iíve heard in class has said that it was originally designed for self-defence primarily with a sportive aspect; not Judo with a ground game. This isnít a question of usefulness in my opinion, either. BJJ has been around for less than a century so I donít feel some major change has come about to render large parts of the curriculum useless like the death of armoured melee combat removed much of japanese jiu-jitsu from relevance.
Donít dismiss this as another tired ďstreet vs. sportĒ post. Iím actually more interested in how the curriculum at your school is divided up, much in the same way I would ask how much stand-up grappling you do vs. pure ground techniques. Iím also interested in your personal level of interest in training for one or the other. Some questions Iíd like you to consider when responding are:
-Why do you train jiu-jitsu?
-How often do you train specifically for unarmed self-defence, including strikes and techniques like soccer kicks and stomps?
-What percentage of your answers to these attacks end with you on the ground (opponentís status not important, but mention it if you like)?
-Do you feel there is any important distinction between gi and no-gi for self-defence?*
-Do you train against ďcommonĒ or ďdumbĒ attacks like frontal chokes and things an uneducated attacker would do?
-Given how you train jiu-jitsu and your self-defence and competition experiences (one of each, preferably), do you believe your training is adequate for self-defence?
-Do you believe modern BJJ is moving too far away from its self-defence and vale tudo roots and too far towards sport grappling? How so?
Please donít respond to those in point form unless you feel it better states your argument. Iíll be assessing whatís stated here by people whoís training I am confident in and possibly make a larger thread in one of the other forums to encompass the other martial arts, but I can already foresee a disaster there...
Thank you for your time.
*I personally donít think so and hate gi vs. short-shorts arguments, but feel free to touch on this. For reference, I go to a gi school and no-gi training is reserved mostly for the vale tudo team. I compete in no-gi grappling regardless.