There was a time when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was actually trained for self defense. There were no tournament or title aspirations, there was simply a desire to learn and be able to defend oneself. Fast forward to the modern day and it seems almost reverse in ambition. We are fighting to keep takedowns alive in our art let alone self defense. Some schools however train some of the classic defensive techniques like headlocks and bear hugs with a bit of striking thrown in, but are we missing the ball by not incorporating weapons defense in our training?
There are a few reasons why weapons training is not routinely trained. The first being that many practioners actually don’t have a primary training goal of self defense. Nothing wrong with treating BJJ as a pure sport, but they must realize that they are not learning the full art or capturing the essential core and intention of the style.
The second reason is most people think that defense against a weapon is unrealistic and a waste of time. My response to that is simple, unarmed vs armed is never a fair fight. The person with the weapon will always have the advantage. But we have two choices, defend yourself and fight back with a small chance of survival or do nothing and die. There have been countless examples of unarmed people defending themselves against great odds. Does anybody remember the BJJ military guys who stopped a AK 47 armed terrorist on a train in France recently. Went against a military weapon and a knife and still were able to choke the guy out. That example alone shows that it’s definitely possible.
Rickson Gracie explains why he chose to cover weapons self defense in his new online instructional from Gallerr. For Rickson, weapons training is important for a BJJ practitioner because you need to cover situations that you probably never will face, but they are still important because they also teach you Jiu-Jitsu, and they are fun to practice.