Brazilian jiu-jitsu, despite its popularity, does not include all the different aspects of fighting, that might be used in a street fight situation.
The main reason why Brazilian jiu-jitsu doesn’t work in a street fight is the lack of punches and kicks. In BJJ, you would have to be really close to your opponent. In a street fight, you want just the opposite, you want to keep your distance, in case they have weapons, such as knives with them.
Later in this post, we will dive deeper into the topic, of why Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not the best martial art for self-defense and street fighting. Let’s get started!
Why Brazilian jiu-jitsu doesn’t work in a street fight?
Let’s start by saying, that Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a lot better option for defending yourself, than not having any martial art experience at all.
However, in a street fight situation, you want to keep your distance from your opponent. They might be armed, and you could still be able to talk the situation through, without further physical conflict.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu needs the exact opposite. You would have to be really close to your opponent, in order to use your BJJ skills. Or even more, take the fight to the ground.
That leaves you open to any weapons they might have, or punches. In BJJ training, you are not taught how to defend yourself against punches.
In the real world, however, people can and will punch you, if they have the possibility to do so in a fight. That might come as a surprise, if you are used to only rolling on a mat, with other people who practice BJJ.
No matter how good your choke is, they can punch you. If you are not used to getting punches with a bare fist to the face, it doesn’t require a hard hit so you let your choke go.
Hard ground makes it more difficult to use BJJ in street fights
Another reason BJJ might not work is the fact that asphalt and BJJ gym mats are very different. You will have no trouble rolling on a gym mat, but your back and other body parts can take some serious damage from the asphalt, or any other hard surface you end up fighting in.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu can also be really difficult to be applied against multiple opponents. Where with MMA or boxing skills, you could be able to hold two people off, BJJ focuses on a single target that takes away all your attention.
In the end, even if you managed to practically win the fight, there seldom are winners in a street fight. You could get some serious physical damage to your body. Or you could get your clothes ripped, break your phone or lose your wallet while you are at it.
Fighting outside a ring or a mat is not worth it. Try to always talk yourself out of the situation if possible.
Is Brazilian jiu-jitsu effective in a street fight?
Even though Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not the best pick for a street fight due to the lack of punches and kicks, it is still a very effective martial art and it can help you defend yourself.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s effectiveness is based on frames and levers that are used. Those allow smaller people to beat bigger and stronger opponents.
Basically, frames are meant to make your opponent drain their energy while you are just holding your ground. Levers are used in joint locks for example, where you don’t have to use a lot of force to make your opponent tap out. More about levers and frames in this post.
BJJ will help you to take care of yourself in a street fight, even against a bigger opponent. As long as you can avoid getting punches, you can choke them out, take the fight to the ground and finish the fight.
Just keep in mind that in the “real world” the fights are a lot different, compared to fights at your BJJ gym.
If you get into a fight, and you want to use your BJJ skills to defend yourself, try to maintain the top position. Being on the bottom at the hard ground can be really unpleasant, and makes you extremely vulnerable to punches.
More about how effective BJJ is overall in this post.
Can Brazilian jiu-jitsu help you to defend yourself?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu can definitely help if you end up in a situation where you have to defend yourself. Even though it is not the ideal martial art for street fighting, it is definitely much better than no martial arts background at all.
Another benefit BJJ has in a street fight situation, is the ability to take the fight to the ground intentionally. If you take the fight to the ground on purpose, you reduce the risk of getting knocked out while standing.
If you get knocked out while standing, you are at serious risk of hitting your head on the ground or on other hard surfaces.
Taking the fight to the ground on purpose makes the fight less life-threatening statistically speaking.
So, even though BJJ is not the best choice for self-defense, it can definitely help you if you end up in a situation where you have to defend yourself.
The simplest way it can help is it makes you more confident. Therefore, if someone is just looking for a fight, you might not get chosen because you look overall more confident and they will pick someone, who looks “easier to beat”.
The best way to handle street fight situations
Really the best way to handle a fighting situation is to talk yourself out if possible. If that is not possible, walk away or run.
Your ego might take a hit, but at least you are alive. You didn’t get beaten to the hospital or robbed. Talk or walk yourself out of the situation, whenever possible.
I know it is not always possible, therefore, it helps to know how to defend yourself. I have listed reasons, why everybody should train BJJ. You can read it here.
So, is BJJ useless in a street fight situation? Absolutely not. Even though BJJ is not the best pick for self-defense, it can still have a lot of benefits from the self-defense aspect.
If you want to make yourself unbeatable and be able to defend yourself the best way possible, MMA could be the best path to go by. It focuses on all aspects of fighting, including ground fighting, punches, and kicks.
Therefore, it will overall be more effective in street fight situations, and help you defend yourself. I have a lot of posts about MMA as well, you can read them here.
Hopefully this was helpful to you, have a nice day!