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  1. Shuma-Gorath is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/30/2005 1:26am

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    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.
  2. Shuma-Gorath is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/30/2005 1:14pm

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    Bumping for people who read the New Posts list.
  3. UpaLumpa is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/30/2005 2:04pm

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    Frankly I don't give two craps about self-defense. I don't get in fights and generally avoid situations that would put myself at risk for other types of attacks. I do this stuff because it is fun and have a hard time thinking of rational arguments to the contrary for most americans.

    Stand up grappling to ground is probably around 20-80, though that ratio changes with upcoming tournaments.
    Generally all ground technique is introduced with some minimal amount of discussion of its relevance or modification for sd or vt.

    Striking and vt techniques are generally covered in warmups or in seperate classes.
  4. UpaLumpa is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/30/2005 2:07pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Can you expand on a description of these sets in another thread?
  5. Shuma-Gorath is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/30/2005 5:08pm

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    I'll certainly see what I can come up with. I may have written down a few sequences already.
  6. UpaLumpa is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/30/2005 5:11pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    In other words we're deficient in striking and throwing.
  7. Shuma-Gorath is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/02/2006 12:44am

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    This thread isn't getting the level of response I thought it would, so here's another one of the progressive sequences.

    Defence against side headlock
    -Opponent attempts to headlock you from side.
    --Posture up and bring your near hand up to block the headbutt attempt and prevent your opponent from closing his hands
    --Pull the encircling arm out away from your far shoulder at the wrist, then duck under to bring it up the attacker's back. The hand blocking the head moves up under the opponent's far armpit and cups the shoulder so they can't spin out.

    --Opponent breaks your posture and closes his hands, then punches your head.
    ---Block punches to your head at the bicep with your far hand. As the attacker brings their arm back to punch, the near arm goes behind their back as you push their elbow out with your far hand to catch it with your near hand. His arm is now trapped. Duck behind hand trap his far arm as above.

    --Opponent breaks your posture, locks his hands and starts to drag you away. Danger of healdlock throws.
    ---Base and do a rear trip takedown, then perform standard headlock escape on the ground and finish appropriately (usually armbar).


    Does everyone see what I'm getting at? Is this something you would practice on a regular basis?
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 1/02/2006 12:52am at .
  8. BSDaemon is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/02/2006 1:01am

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    No it isn't something I would practice on a regular basis. Time spent doing the compliant drill patterns would be better spent doing live training.
  9. Shuma-Gorath is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/02/2006 1:29am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Shi Dist
    No it isn't something I would practice on a regular basis. Time spent doing the compliant drill patterns would be better spent doing live training.
    The instructor often has the attacker add resistance relevant to the attack to make sure the defender had the technique down. This is not "dead" training.

    How often do you do anything live in your BJJ class that involves strikes and common attacks? This is the distinction I'm trying to make.

    To elaborate: If you were headlocked while rolling in class you would probably go straight to the trip takedown, take the back, etc. But this is a solution more suited to the sport aspect of BJJ and not necessarily the first thing you want to do in an uncontrolled setting.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 1/02/2006 1:34am at .
  10. Torakaka is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/02/2006 1:32am

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    Quote Originally Posted by UpaLumpa
    Frankly I don't give two craps about self-defense. I don't get in fights and generally avoid situations that would put myself at risk for other types of attacks. I do this stuff because it is fun and have a hard time thinking of rational arguments to the contrary for most americans.

    I'm in this guys boat 100%

    edit: in fact, I often get a little annoyed when they teach the "self defense" techniques in my muay thai class because usually they're something you can't safely spar with or aren't allowed to use in competition, which is the whole point of why I do martial arts. Also, the addition of "Self defense" to the curriculum seems to mainly be a marketing gimmick to help attract all the peopl interested in doing martial arts for self defense.
    Last edited by Torakaka; 1/02/2006 1:37am at .
    Ranked #9 internationally at 118lbs by WIKBA http://www.womenkickboxing.com/wikba...rch%202009.htm
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