Jocko Willink is an outspoken fan of jiu jitsu. The navy seal is a black belt under Dean Lister and is impeccable in his work ethic. As such the current bjj zeitgeist that often favors flashy strictly sport jiu jitsu can be grating for individuals for him. Here’s how he outlined the goals of jiu jitsu:
I am a fan of jiu-jitsu. No. 1: It’s very practical, like I said, for self-defense. And again, the goal of jiu-jitsu in self-defense isn’t to take someone down to the ground — the goal in jiu-jitsu for self-defense is actually to be able to defend yourself on the ground, get up, and get away from an attacker. That’s what the goal is.
Now, some people might think: “Well, Jocko, I don’t want to run away if somebody wants to fight me. I want to fight them.” Well, let’s think about where that might end up for you. No. 1: You don’t know if this person has a weapon or not. What if they have a knife? What if they have a pistol? What if they’ve got three or four friends? And now you’re getting either shot, stabbed, mutilated, or otherwise maimed and killed. That’s not what you’re looking for on a Friday night as you’re walking down the street.
OK, so let’s say you’re so tough that the other guy — he doesn’t have a knife, he doesn’t have a gun, he doesn’t have any friends — and you take him out and break his arm, choke him, and put him to sleep. Well now guess what happens? You’re getting arrested. Now you’re getting in a lawsuit. Now you have to pay this person money that you actually wanted to beat up.
So it’s a lose-lose situation to get in a confrontation on the street. If you can break contact and get away, break contact and get away. That’s what you should learn self-defense for. Obviously, if someone is doing something that they’re attacking someone in your family and you have to step in to defend yourself, well, that’s why you continue training all the time — because that might happen, and you have to be prepared for that. Optimally, you get out of there: You break contact, you get away. If you have to stand and fight, you train yourself so that you’re able to do it.