The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Monday, September 22, 2014

Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Suitable for Self Defense?

Below is an excerpt from an interesting article by a BJJ Black Belt who contends that modern BJJ is not suitable for self defense. The full article may be read here.


Florent Luccioni is an important member of the French Jiu-Jitsu community. He and his twin brother Jean Claude are both BJJ Black belts under Francisco Nonato and run Arte Suave Jiu-Jitsu academy in Montpellier, France. He has been training BJJ for 15 years and has spent years training in Brazil. Luccioni also teaches Jiu-Jitsu and self defense to the French Police.

There are many posts on internet forums and advertisements of BJJ academy websites, which present our martial art/sport as an effective martial art for self defense and against a street aggression, even as the “most effective martial art” .

On the other hand, many other experts Self Defense see taking the fight to the ground as a big mistake in a street fight…

As an experienced Jiu-Jitsu instructor, I would be expected to practise the first theory, in order, perhaps, to see my number of students increase. Or maybe, I might look at reality without defending my dogma…

So, is Jiu-Jitsu truly an effective martial art in an urban context? Is it even the most effective, as some claim??

My first reaction when I read people who defend the theory of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu being an interesting martial art for street fighting is always the same … Has that person ever been in this situation? If so, in what context?

On the other hand, others argue that “Old School” Jiu-Jitsu  is more effective in a street fight than “New School”  Jiu-Jitsu ” that is closer to the sporing aspect.

As a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and instructor, former competitor, Jiu-Jitsu instructor to the French Police and having worked in the security industry in various situations (music festivals,  bars, nightclubs, commercial centers) I have acquired a personal opinion on this subject that I will share with you and, perhaps, will not fail to surprise most of you.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is absolutely not suitable for street fighting …

I will use several personal examples to support my point.

To begin with, let’s look at the difference between modern Jiu-Jitsu and the more traditional schools.

Indeed, the traditional school of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was more suited to street fighting than the current school, not only because it was taught as a valuable method of self-defense, coming from Japanese Ju-Jitsu, but also because the study of throws/takedowns was more present.

Helio Gracie, to quote him, saw Jiu-Jitsu as an art of self-defense, rather than as a sport, unlike the vast majority of current practitioners.

All those who have seen the recent video of the training of Budo Jake with Rickson Gracie could see the difference between these two visions of the same discipline.

Indeed, Rickson, demonstrates in this video, a very interesting part of his knowledge that is not shared by the vast majority of current black belts in Jiu-Jitsu, including me: the mastery of Self Defense aspect of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu .

Indeed, in the vast majority of current Jiu-Jitsu clubs in addition to the almost systematic neglect of the study of Self Defense, the teaching of takedowns and throws is often extremely minimalist.

The main reason is the development of competitions which make practitioners focus on the essence of our sport, ground fighting.

This is a mistake, even for Jiu-Jitsu competition and overall study of a discipline, but it can be understood.

On the other hand, the development of modern techniques for competitions actually greatly enriched our martial art on a technical level, but somewhat away from a more a pragmatic look.

Some point out that if we succeeded, for example, to sweep a BJJ brown belt using the Worm Guard, you can probably submit an assailant in a street fight …

Obviously, I highly agree with this idea … but … if you never work on takedowns, and in competition and training, you are always pulling guard, then how do you expect to  bring a heavier and more aggressive person to the ground in a street fight?

Indeed, here we see the difference in perspective between two schools of Jiu-Jitsu.

The second reason which led to the same sport to have great differences of view is a perverse effect of the professionalization of MMA.

Indeed, before the modern era of MMA, the sport at the time was called Vale Tudo or NHB and was a way to prove the effectiveness of one martial art face over another.

In this context, the effectiveness, the superiority even, of Jiu-Jitsu was demonstrated, and it was mandatory for “Jiu-Jiteiros” to bring the fight to the ground with a takedown.

It was then that the era of Cross Training appeared …

But the perverse effect for Jiu-Jitsu was that only when training for an MMA fight, would a BJJ fighter work on their takedowns. The majority of BJJ practitioners have  as a result, decreased even deleted, the study of takedowns, when focusing on sport Jiu-Jitsu

The sum of these factors has made the modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a formidable combat sport … on the ground …

So we come to the first argument.

Indeed, it appears, from my point of view, that the traditional school of Jiu-Jitsu was more suited to actual combat.

However, we will discuss here the foundation of the problem.

Can we rely on the victories of Royce Gracie in the UFC or other multiple wins of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners to make Jiuy-Jitsu an effective art, in combat?

I think so.

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