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Is BJJ good for street fighting?

Chokes and Holds BJJ is a grappling-based sport. It doesn't start on the ground, but that's where most of the fight occurs. BJJ is great because it doesn't rely on strength or size to submit your opponent. Along with its use of chokes and holds, this makes it very effective for street fighting.

There's no denying Brazilian jiu-jitsu's immense popularity in today's world of martial arts. Like the famous John Danaher jiu-jitsu. The early days of UFC are a testament to just how effective it was in taking down larger fighters in the octagon. And ever since then, it has taken the world by storm.

Still, with that continued growth in popularity comes questions that revolve around its place in the real world. One of the most talked-about of these discussions centres on BJJ's effectiveness (or lack of it) in street fights and self-defence.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. Many people believe that it's not very effective for street fights, but this isn't true! This post will discuss why BJJ is an effective form of self-defence in combat situations outside the dojo.

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Chokes and Holds

We'll start with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). BJJ is a grappling-based sport. It doesn't start on the ground, but that's where most of the fight occurs. BJJ is great because it doesn't rely on strength or size to submit your opponent. Along with its use of chokes and holds, this makes it very effective for street fighting.

The core problem with it, however, is that it focuses on ground fighting. In a street fight, you never want to go to the ground. Ever. For one, grappling on concrete isn't the same as on wrestling mats, and that's not even considering the broken glass and other things you could be rolling around on. More importantly, it is in consideration of multiple attackers. As soon as you're on the ground, it's too easy for another attacker to blindside you. So you always, always, always want to maintain situational awareness: the sight of everything happening around you. And you always want to maintain the option to run.

What Makes Bjj Effective For Street Fighting And Self-Defense?

Learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu holds a ton of advantages. Among these is that it allows you to incorporate effective defensive techniques into your mixed martial arts game. As far as self-defence goes, it hardly gets any better than BJJ. Even so, you don't want to go looking for a fight just to experience its effectiveness firsthand.

Contrary to what some might believe, being in a street fight doesn't make you cool. In fact, it makes you reckless and irresponsible. So even if you have incredible fighting skills, you should still choose running away as an option overusing them.

​​BJJ Is All About Sparring

Another thing that sets BJJ apart from other martial arts disciplines is that it emphasizes heavily on sparring. That means getting better at it almost solely revolves around constant practice.

While drills and repetitions will dominate most martial art forms' practice sessions, live sparring will cover most BJJ training. Unlike in boxing and Muay Thai, which have sparring sessions once a week, BJJ has it almost every day.

That said, should a BJJ practitioner find himself in a street fight, he should be able to execute correctly in the situation rather than feel like a sitting duck at being thrust into something entirely new. Therefore, more than developing basic drills and techniques, each daily training session is also capped with live sparring as a form of evaluation.

You can do this in BJJ and not in other traditional martial arts disciplines because the combat sport's less emphasis on strikes. With BJJ, it's more about grapples and holds rather than heavy-impact blows.

How is that going to translate to the streets? Well, as you become more experienced at BJJ, you can deliver more aggressive rolls to your opponents. Also, unlike heavy strikes, rolls have a lower risk of injuring a person, which is something you always want to aim for in an actual fight. 

BJJ Is Great For Self-Protection

BJJ focuses on self-defence more than anything else. That's why it can offer the best form of self-protection when executed correctly out of all the martial forms that exist.

The core focus of BJJ is pinning your opponent to the ground and getting them to submit. What's great about putting yourself in this position is that you're able to avoid strikes and still somehow have control over the pain you're inflicting on an opponent. This allows you to subdue them without doing any damage.

Where Does Krav Maga and MMA Fit Into the Picture?

When talking about effective street fighting, there was no way for Krav Maga and MMA not to be mentioned. These martial art forms train in multiple disciplines and get you used to competition fights early on—a combination that provides leverage in street fights. 

Suppose you're an MMA fighter looking to compete in the octagon someday. In that case, it is worth noting that incorporating Krav Maga moves into your game could give you a considerable advantage over most opponents. When fused, these two combat styles have the potential to turn a fighter into an incredibly complete warrior both in and out of the octagon.

What's great about training in MMA and Krav Maga simultaneously is that the former involves the type of mental conditioning that lets you employ Krav Maga moves with ease. They also complement each other in almost every way, making up for most of the other style's general weaknesses and enhancing each other's strengths.

Does this fighting-style mix trump BJJ in terms of street-fighting adaptability? Let's just put it this way. Assuming that both are delivered by highly-capable fighters in a one-on-one fight scenario, both provide a similar chance of subduing an opponent safely and effectively. 

The goal of BJJ is to get your opponent into a position where they cannot attack you. 

Let's imagine a drunk person attacks you on the street. If you're unable to run, you have to deal with them. But you don't want to cause too much damage due to legal and moral concerns. It would be best if you could simply put the person to sleep and call the police without punching their teeth out. Unfortunately, if your fighting style revolved around boxing or kickboxing, that would be the likely outcome. But with BJJ, you have many submission methods that will render your opponent incapable of fighting without causing any injuries. This is a significant bonus for self-defence.

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How dangerous is Jiu-Jitsu?

Some of the most catastrophic injuries in jiu-jitsu are caused by falling body weight. However, jiu-jitsu competitions are still generally much safer than other martial arts competitions. Most injuries in jiu-jitsu occur during training. Elbow injuries due to armbars are the most common injury in jujitsu competitions.

Does Jiu-Jitsu ruin your body?

Jiu-jitsu is a Martial art that does not damage the body, its founder Helio Gracie trained until he was 90 years old. Many BJJ practitioners trained in their 40s, 50s and a

BJJ vs Judo in a street fight

The judo-trained fighter would be the better option for a street fight. The reason is that this fighting style typically relies on throwing techniques to take opponents off balance and onto the ground, where striking power can then be applied from a dominant position either through punches or kicks.

Judo matches are usually scored based on throws, takedowns, and other grappling skills. But, again, the standing position is superior to the ground if you can maintain it. You're also less likely to get injured in a street fight in comparison to someone who practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu because your hands will be free to block attacks if the need arises.

BJJ vs Muay Thai in a street fight

When comparing BJJ and Muay Thai for the street fighting application, it's important to consider that both styles rely on takedowns and throws. In BJJ, these are typically done in the form of sweeping an opponent's leg under them or using a trip-throw, while Muay Thai relies more heavily on various kicks and punches.

A common misconception about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it will work when faced with a street fight scenario because opponents are taken off the balance before being thrown into submission from the top position. However, if this fighting style has any weakness, it would be against opponents who are willing to fight back; in a street-fight environment, you must use all of your limbs and keep moving.

In this case, Muay Thai would be more effective because it relies on striking techniques, resulting in a knockout if properly executed. On the other hand, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu relies on joint locks and chokeholds to force submission from an opponent. At the same time, they're still conscious – meaning even when applying knee strikes or punches, these fighters must do so without fully committing themselves. This makes BJJ less useful against opponents with strong mental resolve who will continue fighting despite being injured and until their body gives out.


FAQs About Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu, which advocates ground fighting, is certainly effective BUT unsuited to modern street fighting.


BJJ makes you stronger/more muscular than many other sports because it focuses on the whole body – legs, core arms, back muscles, etc. But it won't make you as strong as pure strength focuses training.

Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling based martial art, while boxing is striking based. Boxing is easier to learn than Jiu-Jitsu. Boxing is ideal for fitness (especially for beginners). Jiu-Jitsu has proven to be more effective than boxing in MMA competition.

Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu overrated? No, the martial art of BJJ is not overrated for various reasons and is still used consistently throughout MMA today. It is also useful in several situations outside of competition as well. BJJ is considered a foundational martial art in the world of competitive fighting. 

Avoiding A Fight Is Best

BJJ provides great skills for fighting on the ground. But most street fights are fought standing. It can be a great supplementary martial art if you end up on the ground or fight a large opponent and need to leverage his size to your advantage. However, it would still be beneficial to develop solid standing attacks and blocks through boxing, kickboxing or similar martial arts. 

As great as BJJ is for individual street fights, you don't want to use it in scenarios involving multiple attackers. A striking-focused combat sport might be more useful in a brawl as it can effectively keep opponents at bay. Nevertheless, you want to avoid fights entirely if it's possible. After all, one of the reasons you learn any form of martial art is to don't have to use it.


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