Imagine you find yourself in a fight with a giant man, standing 6' 8" tall and weighing in at 484 pounds. What would you do? Well, most of us would no doubt run the opposite direction and justifiably so.
On Dec. 31, 2004, Royce Gracie showed the world that a 180-pound man could defend himself and defeat an opponent almost 3x the size of himself. He was a world-class practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu has become one of the most effective martial arts for self-defense. Read this article for 5 ways Brazilian jiu-jitsu can improve your self-defense.
Brief History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ (other written versions being jujitsu or jujutsu) originated from Japan. It's a martial art that incorporates lever, torsions, and pressure to defend and take opponents to the ground. Once on the ground, jiu-jitsu martial artists use chokes and submissions to dominate their opponent.
Although Brazilian jiu-jitsu origins come from Japan, it wasn't until in the 1920s that four Brazilian brothers, Oswaldo, Carlos, Gastão Jr, George, and Hélio Gracie made it into what it is today. Carlos Gracie first learned the martial art form of judo by a traveling Japanese judoka, and used this knowledge to teach others.
Eventually, the Gracies developed their own self-defense system that's now called Gracie jiu-jitsu. Gracie jiu-jitsu became world renown soon after Joyce Gracie made his appearance in the Ultimate Fighter, quickly dominating the sport of MMA.
If you break down the meaning of the word, jū in Japanese means ‘gentleness,’ and jutsu means ‘art,’ ‘technique.’ The literal translation of jiujitsu is, the ‘gentle art.’
Learning how to defend yourself against punches is a fundamental skill in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Most street fights start standing up, and punches can be thrown with enough force to knock someone completely unconscious, leaving them defenseless.
At Element Martial Arts Academy, we teach you how to keep your opponent at a range that will keep you out of harm's way and in control. With arm and body blocks, and proper body posture, we show you how to defend a punch so that you can escape those dangerous situations.
If someone throws a punch at you, we teach you to close the distance and block with your arm while controlling your opponent with the other arm. Once the distance is close and that punch is blocked, you can move in with a throw or a sweep.
2.Take Down Defense
If most fights start standing up, then you can almost guarantee that they will end on the ground. Most punching matches will turn into a grappling match within seconds of a fight starting. So it's very important to be able to defend against someone trying to take you to the ground.
In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, we teach takedown defense through a combination of footwork, head and hand control, chokeholds, and sweeps.
One simple way to defend against a takedown is called the sprawl. This technique was adapted from wrestling and used in jiu-jitsu to keep one's legs out of the grasp of an opponent's hold. Once an opponent has your leg or legs, they can quickly maneuver to take you down to the ground.
3.Arm Locks, Chokes, and Submissions
Because most fights end up turning into grappling matches, armbars, chokes, and submissions are a key component in jiu-jitsu self-defense. Using arm locks and submission techniques allows you to dismantle your opponent's attacks, and quite literally end a fight in seconds.
An armlock is a defensive move that positions an opponent's joint in a way that either hyperextends, hyperflexes, or over-rotates it. An armlock is quite an uncomfortable position to be in and can cause serious injury.
Choke holds takeaway airflow to the brain of your opponent by applying pressure around the neck. This can be done using locked arms, locked legs, or a combination of the two. Choke holds are very effective at submitting your opponent and defending oneself.
Being taken to the ground in a street fight is inevitable. Once you've been taken to the ground, you could find yourself in a very vulnerable situation, and leave yourself open to a flurry of punches or kicks.
That's why at Element Martial Arts Academy we teach you how to gain ground control with a number of Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques. We take the worst possible situation in a fight and teach you the skills on how to defend and escape it.
One of the first ground positions we teach you at Element Martial Arts Academy is the full guard. This is the grandaddy of jiu-jitsu ground position and offers an enormous amount of both defensive and offensive options. It places the opponent in top position in the middle of all your available weapons.
5.Getting Back to Your Feet
Even though the ground is every jiu-jitsu martial artist's happy place, getting back to your feet in a street fight and on your way to safety is the most important thing. Whether a situation comes where you slip or you're knocked or thrown down, Brazilian jiu-jitsu will give you the athleticism to regain your footing quickly, so you can retreat to safety.
Come Check Us Out
Not only is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a great way to learn how to defend yourself, but it's also great exercise and a lot of fun! Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an effective and fun martial art that is good for everyone at any age level and skill.
Come in and try out our Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes—your first 7 classes for free!