Brazilian Jiu Jitsu For Self Defense Purposes pt. 1

Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of light weight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – find more about his academy at Black Diamond Mixed Martial Arts.

Recently, I wrote about how mixed martial arts training can help an everyday, average Joe develop proper skills when it comes to the self defense field. Likewise, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is another fantastic form of training for someone looking to gain some self confidence, and proper skills to utilize if they are ever placed in a tough situation.

For various reasons, BJJ can be an excellent tool to defend yourself; let’s take a closer look.

Ignoring The Comfort Zone

In BJJ, it’s no surprise that you have to get over someone being in your personal bubble. I teach this concept to many of my students at my Rhode Island MMA academy. Every day you hop on the mat, you’ll find yourself becoming more and more desecnitized to having someone that up-close-and-personal.

In a street fight, it will likely end up on the ground at some point.  If you take the upper hand and purposely bring it to the ground, then right away you’ll have an advantage on your opponent.  They likely started it, and expected it be a brawl and play out on the feet, till you spring a surprise on them.

Let’s face facts, those who aren’t BJJ players are not comfortable with having another human being on top of them.  This increases when you begin to advance your position or look to apply a submission hold.

Being Comfortable With Discomfort

Let’s continue with this concept.  Being on the ground—given that you won’t be in a fight friendly atmosphere—can cause discomfort.  You’ll likely be in a bar, on the street—somewhere that isn’t padded and nice and cozy.

Yet in still, when you’re used to fighting off of your back or on the ground in general, it doesn’t matter what the surrounding will be.  The mental aspect is still the same; you’re grappling with another person on the ground. This is a major shift that I teach my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu RI students.

Being able to stifle the attack right away is also a very important factor.  Chances are high that this person started the fight, and since we’ve brought them to the ground, there are a few things that will upset them:

  • You treated him like a chump and threw him to the ground.
  • He has a person laying on top of him, not allowing him to budge.
  • His strikes become irrelevant.

Sure they can throw (modified) punches from the ground, but they most certainly won’t pack the same impact that they would have while on the feet.  Take them out of their element and right into yours; it’ll work wonders.

There are other obvious factors—submissions, for one—that make BJJ great for self defense, but I’ll save those for another day.  The above tactics are more mental and will give you a large level of comfort in such a dangerous scenario.

Dan Faggella


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