We're at a point in time where the booming popularity of martial arts has given rise to martial arts schools on nearly every corner. I remember as a kid, you might see one or two dojos in your whole city, but these days things are different, and we've come a long way. The UFC's meteoric rise to popularity changed the way we look at martial arts, and even changed the martial arts that many of us practice. We used to see traditional arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do at the forefront. But here in 2018, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools are sweeping the nation. Many martial artists are well versed in the striking arts, but the burning question on everybody's mind is: "CAN YOU DEFEND YOURSELF ON THE GROUND?"
The aim of my post today isn't to bash any other martial art. Every martial art has its strengths and its weaknesses, and I'm not here to discredit anyone. I only hope to state my case for why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu makes such a solid first martial art. We all have to start somewhere, and its my firm belief that BJJ is the number one, absolute best place to begin. And here's why...
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a defensive art. In no other martial art are you taught to fight off of your back in such a complete and effective manner. Some of these other arts may show a move or two to get you out of that position, but none with the intricate, well detailed processes of BJJ. A skilled BJJ practitioner is so comfortable fighting off of their back, that in practice many of us actually prefer to start there. We call this "pulling guard", and there are so many high level practitioners and even competitors who feel so solid fighting off of their backs, that they even opt to start from there in tournaments! In my eyes, this is IDEAL for self defense, and should be the cornerstone of any good self defense curriculum. Learning the escape, in my opinion, should always come before learning the attack.
Jiu Jitsu is commonly referred to as "the gentle art" or "the smooth art". What this means is that the intricacy of these techniques allows them to be practiced in a safe, but also effective way. Techniques in BJJ are based on timing, balance, and leverage, and when practiced responsibly; its very rare to see any injuries at all. In fact, a skilled practitioner can train at a high intensity, and still remain relatively safe. The same simply cannot be said for any other martial art. I don't know about anybody else, but even at 50% contact, I still don't like the idea of my young daughters being punched in the face. Then there are combative arts that offer more violent techniques, even "kill" moves that can't even be done in practice, how do we know that its effective? You can't effectively simulate gouging somebody's eye out. And if your gym does actually practice that move realistically, I don't want to train there! On the other hand, a BJJ chokehold or arm bar can be practiced very safely, and leaves you plenty of time to tap out before any injury takes place.
BJJ is a comprehensive, intricate system that involves knowing the ins and outs of every possible position two bodies can end up in. Knowing how to navigate your way in and out of each of these positions provides a complete knowledge of self defense, ultimately turning your fighting abilities into one big flow chart that can be studied, memorized, and perfected; something that no striking art could ever provide.
All in all, BJJ provides a well rounded framework for any goal you may have in the martial arts. Whether you are clumsy, nonathletic, weak, or out of shape; you can learn these techniques and excel. I have seen small, frail children, elderly men and women, and young adult super athletes all find their place in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and I'm fully positive that with the right instruction; you can too!