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April 13, 2023

Jiu Jitsu as Self-Defense

Jason Kramer

Jiu Jitsu as Self-Defense

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gives us access to an exciting sport, lifestyle and discipline. Forged in street fights in Brazil and catch-wrestling challenges common 100 years ago, Jiu Jitsu’s roots have always laid in self-defense.

Self-defense is more than a collection of techniques. It first begins with our mind and the belief that we are worth defending. More than anything, BJJ shows and teaches us how to keep fighting no matter how difficult things are.

An indomitable spirit is the most important piece of self defense. That is what separates prey from the rest of the animals.

Avoid the “doctor predator” 

Hyenas have been called the “doctor predator.” They can look at a herd of prey and instantly recognize which one is weak, sick, vulnerable or just not paying attention. People show their strength or vulnerability in body language too, and it starts with our mind.

When we forge our minds in the fires of BJJ, we develop a degree of confidence and strength that we express in how we carry ourselves.

A 2013 study involving interviews of 47 inmates with a history of violent crime supports this point. They were shown a video of women walking down a street. They were asked to rate their vulnerability on a scale of 1-10. The inmates consistently chose those who had reported to researchers that they’d been victimized in the past or those projecting weakness in their body language.

Given that 70% or more of all human communication is non-verbal, this makes sense. Ted Bundy agrees. He told interviewers he selected his targets based on how they presented: their walk, how attentive they were, etc. Most attackers don’t want to target anyone that will draw attention or be difficult.

[Build an Unbreakable Spirit Through Jiu Jitsu]

Developing fortitude, kindness and confidence

Just training and developing fortitude substantially decreases the risk of being in a position where you have to defend yourself. This is perfect self-defense. Challenging ourselves to hard training, and the hard lessons it brings, makes us a less desirable target for violence. Then, if we absolutely have to defend ourselves, we have some tools we can use.

Not only do we hone confidence from training great self-defense, but we hone kindness too. Friendship makes life a better place. Knowing how to navigate social circumstances with soft skills and an ability to de-escalate situations is one of the highest demonstrations of self-defense skill.

The most perfect example of this comes from the classic film The Seven Samurai. When trying to find other samurai to assist on his quest, the main samurai sets a trap. He invites prospective samurai into a room, and his apprentice surprise attacks them with a wooden sword. One of the clever samurai invited into the room pauses before entering the door and simply says, “no tricks please.”

Avoiding this confrontation led to the beginning an amazing friendship in Kurusawa’s 1957 masterpiece film. The scene also perfectly embodies self-defense: confidence, situational awareness, kindness and skill. No better place to find all of this than on the mat.

Step up your self-defense game with Easton

Finally, in our training we have opportunities to practice controlling a fully resisting opponent. Learning the techniques to pin and submit another person takes years of practice, but the rewards are limitless. BJJ offers us the hard and soft skills necessary to practice self-defense.

Easton’s fundamental curriculum has outstanding self-defense principles and techniques that work. If you are interested in self-defense, either as technique or practice, get on the mat.  There is no better self-defense than training BJJ or Muay Thai. Even better? Do both!

Sign up for a free trial class today at one of our eight academies!

Some of our Easton cats from last year’s IBJJF Denver Open!


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