Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu good for self defense?

The answer is yes and no.

But the reality is the following:

The martial art of Jiu Jitsu will not work most of the time on the street.

Yes you read correctly, the martial art of Jiu Jitsu will not work most of the time on the street.

Unfortunetly Jiu Jitsu self defense has gone extinct.

I'm sure many readers clicked on the title because how dare I criticize Brazilian JiuJitsu.

Before you get on your high horse and start defending your art wait for a minute and take a breath.If you are a newbie to martial arts then I also have some good news for you.

Let me put it as simple as I can in one sentence.About 90% of Jiu Jitsu Academies only teach sports Jiu Jitsu.

What does this mean?Well, they don't teach distance management and defending against strikes and other kinds of attacks.

Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Good for Self Defense?

“A man cannot understand the art he is studying if he only looks for the end result without taking the time to delve deeply into the reasoning of the study.”

-Miyamoto Musashi

Most Jiu Jitsu academies train students to win medals in tournaments but let's look at the problem with that.

Your Average Joe, Women, and Children Don't Care about Tournaments; they want to survive on the streets.

So what happens?Let's take a fictional example, a guy called Mike is in his 30's, and he works as a delivery guy in a dangerous area of New York.

He wants to learn Self Defense because he has been in a few dangerous situations where he was violently assaulted.

So he saw on TV and the UFC that Jiu-Jitsu was the “best form of Street self-defense”.

So he goes to his local Jiu-Jitsu academy, and he tells his teacher that he wants to learn Self Defense.

The instructor says yes he will teach him self-defense.

Months later Mike walks down the street and gets confronted by a bad guy.

Mike tries to defend himself because he thinks he learned self-defense.

Mike is unaware of the fact that he is trained to win competitions and not how to win a street fight.

So mike gets his ass kicked and gave up on Jiu-Jitsu.

Why Is Distance Management So Important?

“Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.” 

-Miyamoto Musashi

In any martial art that focuses on Self Defense, distance management is crucial.

But why is it so important?

The simple explanation is that if you don't manage the distance between you and your opponent, then you are going to get punched in the face.

Different styles of martial arts have different approaches to managing distance, however the key is to always be in control of the distance between you and your opponent.

It's also crucial to learn skills on how to regain control after losing distance control in a fight.

Therefore you must train in a very similar way to how you would handle yourself in a street fight.

Unfortunately, in most JiuJitsu academies that only teach the sporting aspect of the art, distance management never even gets mentioned.

At these academies, the students look great with fancy moves.

But the same students don't know how to defend against a punch or a kick while they are on the ground.

Why Did You Start Doing Martial Arts?

“Perception is strong and sight is weak. In strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”

-Miyamoto Musashi

The Main Reason, most people, learn martial arts is self-defense.

I'm sure if you ask most people why they take up a martial arts the reason would be self-defense and not win a tournament.

The reality today is that you have to do research and look into Jiu Jitsu Schools to make sure they have a self-defense curriculum.

Jiu Jitsu's original culture was Self Defense.

Unfortunately, this culture has been diluted with many academies losing the real budo culture of Jiu Jitsu.

The Martial Art Of Jiu Jitsu Traditions: The Gracie Academie 

“You can only fight the way you practice.” 

-Miyamoto Musashi

I was fortunate to find the Gracie Academy where they teach traditional Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Self Defense as the foundation and then build everything else on top of that. BJJ for self defense is the Focus of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

So let's ask the question:Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu good for self defense?

So here is the good news.There still are legitimate Self Defense Jiu Jitsu Academies out there that will teach you Self Defense.

And yes if you go to these Academies and learn real Gracie Jiu-Jitsu then you can say Jiu-Jitsu is the best form of street Self Defense available.

If you want to learn Jiu Jitsu for Self Defense, then I suggest joining the Gracie Academy or the Valente Brothers Academy. The Gracie Academy has a great new program called 32 principles of Jiu Jitsu to help you get the fundamentals of Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

I'm sure there are other schools out there that teach real Jiu Jitsu Self Defense, but I'm only telling you about schools I have personal experience training at the academy.

Be careful about academies that says they teach self-defense, but you never train distance management both on your feet and the ground.

Also, make sure they train for different types of strikes on the ground and on your feet.If they don't then you are not learning how to fight.

You are learning how to win a medal. What you need is combat Jiu Jitsu for street self defense.


“I choose to live by choice, not by chance.” 

Miyamoto Musashi

There is nothing wrong with competing in Jiu Jitsu competitions if that is your focus and you want to have fun with the sport.

Just make sure you know what you are signing up for.

Unfortunately, there are many stories of disappointed blue, purple and brown belts who get beaten up in the street because they had no idea that they didn't know how to defend themselves in a real street fight.