We need combat. It is one of the fundamental skills that everyone should be competent in. You can read about that here. Fighting is part of us it is ingrained in our DNA. We need to be versed in this area of physical practice. All of us do. We all don’t need to be well trained elite fighting machines but we all do need experience in this realm. Men, women and children. Everyone must experience what is like to be engaged in a physical struggle with another person. Every person must have some competency in being able to defend themselves. In my experience Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ for short is the ultimate medium to experience this need. What is Brazilian Jiu jitsu? Check out this video by the Art of Manliness.
At the foundation of combat is rough housing. An experience that everyone should have engaged in but less and less people are. It teaches you to deal with stress like nothing else. You develop practical skills that can be used when needed and it incorporates many of the other aspects of movement based training.
Not all martial arts are created equally and some are more applicable than others in self-defence contexts but this is not the scope of what we are talking about. Yes there are more self-defence orientated martial arts like Krav Maga and other military based combative systems, but for many they won’t do it consistently or not at all. A martial art like Jiu jitsu has a lower “buy – in” the barrier of entry is much lower. It might not be the best solution to self-defence, but it does teach you many things. For one you realise how easy it is for somebody out there to destroy you!
For me BJJ is the ultimate starting point. It is the foundation that will let you develop a broad skillset, is the most forgiving and addresses the area of combat that most people struggle with. Someone grabbing them. It is basically a simulated death match. When you spar in BJJ you go to the point where someone could have serious damage done in a joint lock or they could pass out in a choke unless the TAP. This is a signal of submission to tell your sparring partner to let go of the hold. When you tap you learn. You see what your course of actions led to in the sparring match and you can adapt and grow.
This is much harder in striking based martial arts because it is near impossible to mitigate the damage of punches and kicks while going at the same speed and intensity as you would during a BJJ sparring session.
I spoke to the instructor at Rio Grappling Club TDA in Stellenbosch John – William Lotriet about his take on why everyone would benefit from training Jiu Jitsu. John has a background in many martial arts from the more traditional arts like Karate and Tai Chi to Muay Thai,CQC (Close Quarters Combat)and BJJ. He is a lifelong martial artist and a true student of the martial arts. These are the key points from the conversation.
· It exposes you to the threatening environment in a safe way
· Trust your gut
· Situational awareness is key … read the room
· BJJ is the safest simulated death match you can get involved in.
· BJJ is a solid foundation for Self defence
· BJJ is high level problem solving
· It has a mind-set that transfers to other areas of your life
· Consistency = progress
· A growth mindset is essential to improve.
· As you progress you tighten the wave
Listen to the full talk below. We went deep down rabbit holes in this chat and I learnt a lot. The background music and setting provided by Deluxe coffeeworks Smidswinkel.
Fighting and violence is not for everyone but the truth is that it is part of your world whether you like it or not. As the saying goes it’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war. BJJ might not be the ultimate in a self-defence context. For me it is the ultimate in a movement context. You develop your ability to problem solve. You develop strength and skill.
There you have it. If you need more convincing. Here is Jocko willing former navy seal giving his opinions on martial arts and self-defence.