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Will Sport Jiu Jitsu prepare me for self defence situations?

A new student from Caringbah recently asked me: “Does Sport Jiu Jitsu prepare you for defending yourself in the street”? Whilst my first reaction to this question is a resounding “Yes”. It is a little more complicated than that. Lets explore this subject a little further.

Jiu Jitsu practicioners should feel that their training will stand them in good stead. After all some training is better than none! Learning to control someone who is trying to control you is hard. But the more you train the more these things become second nature. Which is important in an altercation. The less you have to think the better. We need good instincts and a high fight IQ. The better these are the less effort and power you will need. Keeping you in better positions with more gas in your tank. It sounds simple. Adrenaline and the chaos of an altercation make simple tasks much harder. This is one of the principle reasons why you should try and enter a competition at least once. Understanding the adrenaline dump and chaotic nature of a match is like that of a fight. The more you experience this, the more you understand whats happening. This allows you to get control of your emotions and focus your energy.

gracie miranda sports jiu jitsu

Getting control, and managing yourself during a fight is important. Especially if things aren’t going your way. Being able to control yourself and not panic when you are in a bad position is very important. This exposure in the controlled setting of competition is invaluable.

Horses for Courses:

There are so many techniques in modern day Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Are they all useful for self defence? The short answer is no! Some techniques like a berimbolo for example is not a technique that you would want to do on concrete or on a night club floor. These moves still get the practitioner to have an understanding of spatial awareness. Movement skills and general fitness are a great help in confrontations as well. So certain techniques might not be the best to employ in a fight. But as a boxer has to choose his/her best weapons, so too does the grappler. Technique selection is of paramount importance. So the martial art is important. But the martial artist is the driver. Its up to them to deliver the best outcome possible. By selecting moves that keep him or her in the safest position possible. A good instructor should highlight which positions are favourable and which are not. But ultimately, its up to the martial artist to decide.

Should we invest our time specialised sport techniques?

This depends on how much time you have to spend on doing BJJ. Also you need to consider why you started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the first place. My thought is that if you are training a martial art, then self defence is important. If its a hobby, then by all means, do what makes you happy. But why not do the martial art as intended? Learning the skills to defend yourself takes time. Don’t be in a rush. Enjoy the journey. Open your mind up to all of the sport techniques. Learn them and incorporate them into your game. But have the presence of mind to think critically. Assess which technique would be suitable for self defence. Ask yourself “Could I be punched from here?” Developing this mindset allows you to take on sport BJJ. But still have your personal safety front of mind.


Sport Jiu Jitsu has a lot to offer. It gives you many experiences which can help in everyday life. But knowing when and why to use techniques is very important. Empower yourself to know the difference. Use your critical mind. Now, go train!