Jujitsu Self-Defense Myths Exposed

My 12 year old nephew (DSD Green Belt) was watching the news with his mom last night when a story came on about Brazilian Jujitsu being the “ideal” form of self-defense for all people… especially women.

It didn’t take him long to turn to his mom and tell her that this isn’t very practical at all and wouldn’t go very far in a real fight.

He’s right!

Jujitsu based ground defenseHere at DSD we use a lot of Jujitsu moves in our ground fighting (grappling). Where we diverge is in the fact that the street and the ring are two very different scenarios – so they require very different goals and training approaches. Our goal is never a submission and we never waste time getting wrapped up with a single attacker.

In the ring you are often matched with someone of similar size and usually similar athletic ability. It’s an athletic competition with clear rules and it pits skill against skill.

In self-defense there are no rules. Often your attacker wants to kill you or at the least cause serious injury to you. You don’t get to choose the size of your attacker or whether or not they have a weapon. And many times there will be two or more attackers, not just one.

When it comes to joint manipulation or the next step, join breaks, Jujitsu is remarkably efficient. However, because the moves are often very technical, they become impractical for the average person. You see the more technical a self defense move is, the more you must train itin order to be able to use it.

As you watch the video below, consider what my young green belt recognized…

  • Attackers don’t wear a Gi (martial arts uniform) and neither do you on the street. Jumping guard and other high athletic events just don’t work like that when you are wearing street clothes.
  • Attacks never start in a clench (a stance where both opponents grab each others Gi) nor do they stand still and allow you to throw them or choke them out. While you are doing this they may be unloading a magazine of bullets into you or beating you into unconsciousness with a piece of re-bar.
  • Many Jujitsu grappling moves only work within a certain size differential. A lot of things change dramatically when your attacker is 50% bigger than you – something sport Jujitsu simply does not train for.
  • You will rarely face a lone attacker. Even if you are really good at Jujitsu, and you get a guy locked up, you yourself are locked up too. All another attacker has to do is kick you in the head or pull a weapon – you are an easy and mostly immobile target. Sad part is that I have heard this very scenario first hand at least three times – each case ending in very serious injury to the Jujitsu expert.
  • Jujitsu techniques have their place on the “street” but not in place of more practical techniques that assume multiple attackers and the fact that your performance will suffer from stress, fatigue and possibly an already sustained injury.

Sport and competition martial arts have their place, but they should not be seen a synonymous with self-defense. Unless you train extensively for self defense situations, you will revert to sport martial arts when in a self-defense situation. Statistically speaking, applying sport martial arts to an encounter where someone literally wants to kill you or do serious bodily harm, is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

If you want to train in 100% self-defense (including practical striking, grappling and multiple attackers)… schedule a time to stop by our school in New Albany and see if Dynamic Self-Defense is right for you or your child.

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About Mr. Vatke

Mr. Vatke has studied and practiced martial arts for over 20 years. The quest for a practical self defense based system led him to Dynamic Self Defense. Mr. Vatke holds a 2nd degree Black Belt and is the Chief Assistant Instructor at the New Albany Dynamic Self Defense School.

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