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Understanding the Art of Jiu-Jitsu

Understanding the Art of Jiu-Jitsu


Self defense is at the heart of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Unfortunately with the popularization of MMA with such events as the UFC and the WEC, the public at large tends to look at BJJ as a tough guy sport.  In the excerpt below from “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Self-Defense” written by Royce Gracie, Charles Gracie and Kid Peligro you’ll have the chance to get our take on the issue.


As Royce Gracie said; “A fight does not start with a referee asking if you are ready.”


“What is it about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that makes it so effective as a self-defense system?  We can break the answer into four main points; it is designed to work even when you are surprised and in a poor position, it is designed by small people to defeat larger ones, it allows you to develop instantaneous reactions by practicing in extremely lifelike exercises, and it provides you with a range of severity in dealing with your attacker.


To understand Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you must understand the difference between a grappling art and a striking art.  Grappling arts (such as Jiu-Jitsu and Judo) use wrestling-like holds to control an opponent, while striking arts (such as Karate) use kicks and punches to incapacitate an opponent.  Striking arts work best when you know an opponent is there and can launch an attack before he is close.  Grappling arts are designed for real close contact, so even if you’ve been attacked from behind or are caught in a clinch – even a headlock – you will have a range of effective responses at your disposal.  Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu famously turned the martial arts world upside-down by showing that, when flat on his back with his opponent on top of him, a skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner was still in an extremely favorable position.  Having an instant and effective reaction to an attack makes all the difference in the outcome, and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu self-defense system places much emphasis on this element of surprise.


A karate chop is not always the answer.  As Royce points out, “It is very important to realize that striking someone bigger and tougher than you may just aggravate the situation.  Take, for example, a small person trying to punch a 260-pound man; it is just going to make him angry.  With our techniques, we use the pain from an arm lock or another submission hold to control the situation.”  Because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was developed by men of relatively small build, it had to develop ways to defeat larger opponents that could be employed by smaller ones.  This makes it the ideal self-defense system.  It takes little strength – just skill – to properly execute a guillotine choke, wrist lock, or arm bar that will have your attacker begging for mercy and completely in your control.


Because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu emphasizes control, not striking, it is particularly sought out by people whose job it is to subdue individuals without hurting them – bouncers, policemen, security personnel.  It is a great self defense option to have for anyone else as well.”


You can order your copy of “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Self-Defense” at www.bjjmart.com