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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Unraveling the Pros and Cons for Self-Defense In NJ

Grounded Guardians: Exploring Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu's Pros and Cons in Self-Defense In The NJ Community

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has gained immense popularity worldwide for its effectiveness in self-defense situations. Originating from traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, BJJ has evolved into a dynamic martial art that empowers individuals of all ages and sizes to protect themselves.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Unraveling the Pros and Cons for Self-Defense In NJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Unraveling the Pros and Cons for Self-Defense In NJ

In the 1920s Japanese jūjutsu evolved into Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) with a stronger emphasis on grappling, ground fighting and submission holds. Jiu-Jitsu concentrates on skills that control opponents, gaining a dominant position, and neutralize them using a number of moves.

The moves are used in a defensive or offensive manner to kill or neutralize an opponent using pins, joint locks, and throws and submissions.

Many of the submission techniques were born out of the need to defeat an armed and armored enemy. Opponents may or may not possess a weapon, body armor in be located in an environment where striking is ineffective.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a self-defense system, shedding light on why it has become a preferred choice for many seeking to enhance their personal safety.

Pros of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Self-Defense:

  1. Practicality and Real-World Application: BJJ focuses on ground fighting techniques, which are highly applicable in real-life confrontations where the attacker may attempt to take the fight to the ground. Since most altercations end up in close-quarters or grappling situations, BJJ provides practical and effective solutions to defend oneself in such scenarios.

  2. Empowering for All Ages and Sizes: One of the most significant advantages of BJJ is its emphasis on leverage and technique rather than relying on strength and size. This makes it an ideal martial art for people of all ages, genders, and body types to defend themselves effectively against larger and stronger opponents.

  3. Builds Confidence and Mental Resilience: Training in BJJ cultivates mental resilience and self-confidence. Regular practice in a safe and controlled environment helps individuals become more composed and focused during stressful situations, increasing their ability to make rational decisions and react calmly in real-life self-defense encounters.

  4. Teaches Self-Control and Conflict Resolution: BJJ training emphasizes the importance of control and restraint. Practitioners learn to neutralize threats without causing excessive harm, promoting self-control and non-violent conflict resolution skills.

  5. Continuous Learning and Improvement: BJJ is an ever-evolving martial art, which means practitioners are continually learning and refining their skills. This constant evolution ensures that self-defense techniques are up-to-date, relevant, and effective in modern-day scenarios.

Cons of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Self-Defense:

  1. Limited Effectiveness in Stand-Up Striking: While BJJ excels in ground fighting, it does not focus on stand-up striking techniques like kicks and punches. Practitioners may not be adequately equipped to deal with attackers who initiate the confrontation with strikes.

  2. Vulnerable to Multiple Attackers: BJJ training often revolves around one-on-one encounters, which might not prepare individuals to defend against multiple attackers simultaneously. Self-defense situations may involve more than one opponent, making it crucial to complement BJJ with additional training in situational awareness and multiple attacker scenarios.

  3. The Learning Curve: Mastering BJJ requires consistent training and dedication, and proficiency in self-defense techniques may take time to develop. Beginners may find the learning curve challenging, and it may not provide immediate solutions for those seeking quick self-defense skills.

  4. Risk of Injury: Like any contact sport, there is a risk of injury in BJJ training. While proper training and safety measures can mitigate this risk, participants should be aware of the potential for injury.

  5. Situational awareness is compromised, less visibility and sensory use.

  6. You become within edge weapon range.

However, you never know where you'll find yourself. And, the best way to avoid ending up on the ground and being dominated there is to have an understanding of clinch fighting and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Everyone should have a basic understanding of ground fighting so you'll be better able to avoid it. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an excellent source of training.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Unraveling the Pros and Cons for Self-Defense In NJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Unraveling the Pros and Cons for Self-Defense In NJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu BJJ Training and Practice

Sparring in BJJ is called rolling and looks like wrestling to laymen. Classes begin warmup and stretching. Techniques are demonstrated by the instructor then drilled in with a partner back and forth taking turns. Once the student is accustomed to the move they progress to limited resistance.

Since Jujitsu was developed from techniques of "Wrestling in Armor" it was uniquely suited to underwater combat where kicks and blows from the fist were so slow as to be ineffective. Many of the US armed forces have adopted Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills and techniques by adding them to their official self-defense course curriculum.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques

There is an endless knot of moves, techniques, and variations on positions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu . The positions and techniques listed below are some that we feel are fundamental and a necessary base for ground grappling training for self-defense.

Standing or Kneeling

  • Scissors Sweep

  • Push Sweep

  • Technical Stand Up

  • Guillotine Choke

The Guard

Maintaining the Guard

  • Closed Guard

  • Closed and Open Striking Guard

Escapes from Guard

  • Elbow Escape

  • Stand up with groin punch

Locks and Chokes from Guard

  • Kimura

  • Guillotine

  • Straight Arm Bar

  • Getting the Back

  • Triangle

  • Omoplata

The Mount

Escapes from Mount

  • Bridge and roll (arm and foot control)

  • Buck, fists in the pelvis

  • Knee To Elbow Escape

  • Bridging Or “Upa” Mount Escape

  • Feet Over Shoulders

Submissions from Mount

  • Chokes

  • Straight Arm Bar

  • Americana

The Headlock or Scarf Hold

Escape from Headlock

  • Face push with headlock

  • Framing the Arm

  • Bridge and Roll

  • Walk Around

Submissions from Headlock

  • Arm Bar with Leg

  • Bent Arm Lock with Leg

  • Step Over Arm Bar


Escapes from Knee On Belly

  • Elbow Push Knee and Shrimp

  • Scoot Under

Submissions from Knee On Belly

  • Baseball Bat Choke

  • Straight Arm Bar

  • Cross Choke

Side Control

Escape from Side Control

  • Shrimp to Guard

  • Leg Over Head

  • Shrimp to North-South

  • Sweep

Submissions from Side Control

  • Arm Across Face

  • Arm Bar

  • Americana

  • Kimura

The Top 3 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu BJJ Moves

Even in the professional combats sports, you’re more likely to get knocked out than you are to get submitted. Most violent attacks last less than 30 seconds and are over before it goes to the ground.

Regardless, it’s clear that the Rear Naked Choke is dominant, it’s responsible for more than a third of all submissions ever achieved in the MMA. Astonishingly, the top 3 submissions account for around 70% of every submission. If you were going to prioritize any of your submission defenses, these would be the ones to practice!

Top Jiu-Jitsu Submissions

  • Rear Naked Choke

  • Guillotine Choke

  • Arm Bar

  • Triangle Choke

  • Arm Triangle

  • Kimura

  • D'Arce Choke

  • Anaconda Choke

The percentage of MMA fights that end in submission versus TKO generally speaking, submission victories tend to be less common than TKO victories in professional MMA.

New Jersey Offers Excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Training

New Jersey (NJ) has a strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) community with several reputable BJJ schools and academies. BJJ has gained popularity throughout the United States, and New Jersey is no exception.

In cities and towns across NJ, you can find various BJJ schools led by experienced instructors, some of whom may even be well-known in the BJJ community. The quality of BJJ schools can vary, so it's essential to do some research and consider factors such as the instructor's lineage, credentials, reputation, class schedules, and facilities before choosing a school.

Final Thoughts

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu undoubtedly offers numerous advantages as a self-defense system. Its practical ground-fighting techniques, focus on leverage over strength, and mental resilience-building make it a compelling choice for personal safety. However, it is essential to acknowledge its limitations, such as the lack of stand-up striking techniques and the need for supplementary training in dealing with multiple attackers.

Ultimately, combining BJJ with other self-defense disciplines and adopting a comprehensive approach to personal safety can provide individuals with a well-rounded skill set to protect themselves effectively in diverse scenarios. With the right mindset, training, and dedication, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be a valuable asset in enhancing self-defense capabilities and fostering confidence in one's ability to handle potential threats.

Violence Prevention and Conflict Management Resources

The Center for Violence Prevention and Self-Defense Training (CVPSD) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing evidence-based training in violence prevention and self-defense. With a focus on unbiased program development, CVPSD offers customized programs to individuals and organizations, equipping them with the tools to enhance personal safety and contribute to violence prevention in their communities. The Center reaches individuals and communities through partnerships with schools and other nonprofits, community groups, as well as classes for the public.


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