Mixed Martial Arts and Realistic Self-Defense

UFC 165: Jones v Gustafsson

By Daniel Faggella 

Since the beginning of time, people have had to fight to survive. Luckily, nowadays we aren’t fighting mammoths and saber-tooth tigers, but the want and need to have the ability to protect ourselves from bodily harm is one that is literally ingrained in our DNA, and has been for centuries.

In the modern world, the want and need to have the ability to defend ourselves in any given situation still strongly exists.

That is one of the reasons why the martial arts have become so popular throughout the world.

Who knows, you might run into that mugger in the dark corner of the alleyway or maybe even that really drunk guy at the party who wants to try and test you. Whatever the situation is, people want to feel like they can protect themselves if they have to. It gives a sense of security as well as confidence.

Many people will argue that one style of martial arts is the best for self defense, and may even tend to be biased against other martial arts because it’s not the one that they practice or train in.

In all reality, every martial art is good for what it was meant for. All of these different martial arts have been brought to different parts of the world by different practitioners, and this is one of the main reasons why we have seen modern “mixed martial arts” become so popular.

What is mixed martial arts? Well, let me tell you what it isn’t. Mixed martial arts isn’t a martial art in itself. It is a combination of different styles brought together by the practitioner to form a complete system of fighting.

You may see mixed martial artists with backgrounds in boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Karate, Brazilian jiu jitsu, Judo, Tai kwon do, Sambo, Krav Maga, Jeet kun do, wrestling, heck maybe even kung fu. These fighters and practitioners take these combinations of these styles to transform themselves into complete and well-rounded martial artists.

Why? Practicality. Being a good wrestler means that you will probably be able to take most people down. However, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to throw a good punch or be able to fight an elite kickboxer without taking a hit. The same example can be made for any style of martial arts.

The best mixed martial arts fighters in the world are able to take bits and pieces from different martial arts and create their own style with these pieces. They are ready for almost any punch, takedown, kick, or whatever it may be that comes their way because they have taken what is personally useful from these martial arts and implemented it into their fighting style.

This is why training in mixed martial arts is ultimately the best form of self defense one can practice. It takes the practical and effective techniques from different styles of martial arts and blends them together to form a more complete and self-defense oriented style of martial arts.

Here’s a video of a self defense technique that is based off of mixed martial arts techniques

(Head Lock Defense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnChdnjB6oE)

So right there you see a basic defense to an all too common head lock position.

The nice thing about this technique is that it’s simple, yet practical. It doesn’t involve any intricate movements or crazy flying strikes. It addresses the threat and neutralizes it with minimal effort.

Like he said in the video, the technique is his own rendition of the classic head lock escape from the Gracie Combatives system. The Gracie Combatives system is a jiu jitsu bases style of self-defense that offers the practitioner an excellent understanding of ground fighting as well as overall self-defense techniques from any position. Many mixed martial artists have a strong jiu jitsu base, as it is essential to be able to fight on the ground.

More than not, many self-defense altercations end up on the ground in some way or another believe it or not, and knowing some extremely practical yet extremely easy mixed martial arts and jiu jitsu techniques can get you out of a bad situation.

If the video above happened to be a real situation, the coach could either decide to further attack now that he is in the dominant position, or he could escape the situation if necessary as well.

Speaking of escaping situations, let’s look at another video where we see a mixed martial arts technique being used for self defense:

Again, this technique isn’t exactly flashy and it doesn’t look over-the-top cool or anything, but it’s extremely practical and effective.

Knowing how to get out of a situation properly can literally be your best self defense sometimes, especially if you’re in a situation where an attacker has a weapon of some sort.

This technique can be seen in mixed martial arts competition when one fighter has somehow knocked another fighter to the ground. Typically, we see the downed fighter scrambling and using this technique to avoid getting hit with any punches on the ground.

With good speed and technique, the coach in this video is easily able to avoid any type of strikes and safely bring himself to his feet to either escape the entire situation or maybe even continue to fight. Again, it all depends on the given situation, and every situation is much different than the last.

So, when it comes to choosing the best self defense system, the ideal way to go would not be learning one specific style of martial arts, but rather learning a wide array of effective and practical mixed martial arts techniques.

If you think about it, these fighters and competitors test and prove these techniques every time they step into the ring or the cage. Mixed martial artists are truly masters of self defense, and are typically prepared to defend themselves from any spot the fight goes.

Having a decent base in mixed martial arts is exactly what you need in a real life self defense situation. You need to be prepared for anything!

Daniel Faggella  

Dan Faggella is a No Gi Pan Am Champion in BJJ, a writer for BJJEE.com, and head Jiu JItsu instructor at Black Diamond MMA in Wakefield, RI. His passions are teaching, rolling, and the psychology and strategy of BJJ training.