Even though Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of the most popular martial arts on the planet, some people wonder if it’s something you could really use in an actual street fight. In this article, we’re going to answer that question and provide you some details to support our answer.
Avoid Street Fights at All Costs
Before we get into this topic, we want to point out that no one at our gym would ever advise anyone to get into a street fight. Even if you’re the best fighter the world has ever seen, too much can go wrong. All it would take is your opponent to have a friend for all of your training to be useless. They could have a weapon, too.
Also, even if you “win” you could hurt the other person badly enough that they’re successful at pressing charges.
Nonetheless, these things can be unavoidable, so we’ll continue, but please keep this in mind.
The Roots of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
That being said, the short answer is yes. Street fighting is in the DNA of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. When Helio Gracie was creating the sport roughly a century ago, he did it largely by picking fights with larger men on the street and challenging people from rival martial arts.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu was refined through street fights and much of what we still use today has survived these rudimentary beginnings.
Of course, if you have YouTube, a simple search of “BJJ” and “street fight” will offer further proof that this martial art is incredibly effective in real world circumstances.
Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Is One of the Best Martial Arts for Real Fights
We’d even go so far as to say that BJJ is probably the best martial art for actual confrontations.
The first reason for this is that it doesn’t rely on striking. While knocking someone out may be how you imagine a fight would go in your head, it’s unlikely. Most fights end up on the ground for a number of reasons, though striking could certainly be one of them.
Striking is also very unreliable. Even expert boxers could end up with a broken fist when they have to throw one without the use of wraps and gloves. The human skull can be surprisingly strong and in a real fight, all kinds of other elements can come into play, keeping a veteran’s fist from landing the way they had wanted.
If you’re a striker and break one of the bones in your hand, you’re now without 50% of your arsenal and have shown the other person you’re committed to an actual fight.
Second, Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists are at home on the ground. Again, this is where fights tend to go. It could be because of a strike or simply because the ground is loose or slippery. You might get blindsided.
Whatever the case, proficiency in BJJ will help you protect yourself and get back to your feet.
Third, BJJ is still effective from the feet. You don’t need to wait for your opponent to knock you over because you can use a throw to get them to the ground without putting yourself in harm’s way.
Finally, as we touched on before, you really don’t want to hurt someone any worse than you need to in order to survive.
While BJJ is known for breaking bones and choking people unconscious, it also doesn’t need to come to that. You can simply hold someone in place until you’re able to get up and run or help arrives.
A true street fight might cause you to modify your BJJ game slightly (you wouldn’t want to pull guard on concrete or use your head as a base when in mount, etc.), but it is still your best bet for surviving the incident and minimizing the damage you take.