Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter cascao vital and runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.
Let’s be honest, the creation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was to defend against violence, violence from a street attack, violence from a bigger, stronger, aggressive opponent and violence from weapons. It was adapted for the military, air marshals and law enforcement. It has been proven in no rules contests with no weight limits or time limits. Today we have a lot of BJJ practitioners that can’t stop a punch, that can’t close the distance, can’t stop a takedown, can’t do a takedown, don’t have any weapons training offensive or defensive, can’t control an opponents posture without using the gi, or even stop a head bunt. There is a reality of violence in today’s world, yet the BJJ training has gotten very soft and not effective in the way it was intended for.
Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to this rule, the Gracie Brothers in Torrance are bringing back the effectiveness of BJJ by including the street ready self defense. Rickson Gracie started the Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation to bring back the true effectiveness of the art. Eddie Bravo has started competitions that take away the gi and now include hand slaps to simulate strikes. Tim Kennedy is teaching the way of the Sheepdog with BJJ that deals with today’s reality of violence. But those are the exceptions. The majority of schools do little to no takedowns, little to no strike defense, little to no weapon defense, only tournament rules, starting on the knees and playing 5 minute rounds of grips on the gi.
The reality is BJJ is one of the most effective fighting arts in the world today. But this fact is on the path of becoming less true. We are following the patterns of the other martial arts, “Once upon a time effective, but over time less effective, watered down while reflecting nothing of reality and only sport”.
The solution is simple. Start adding drills that include striking offense and defense.
And remember, it doesn’t have to be all out sparring with risk of concussions. Add a few rolls a month with MMA gloves on and do light tapping to simulate when your vulnerable to strikes. Warm up the classes with takedown drills with little to no resistance, clinch drills, closing the distance drills, kicking defense drills and self defense drills, ect. It beats the same run in circles and hip escapes for 30 minutes that we have done for years. Throw a training knife into the roll once in a while so you know how to control two on one while not letting them hand off the knife and stab you. Practice getting up from all positions in 30 secs or less, because sometimes we should not be on the ground. The variations of effective training are endless.
The bottom line is that we have two choices, train what’s comfortable and pretend its good enough or see reality for what it is and make sure our training reflects that.
Is training sport BJJ better then nothing for self defense? Yes, but look how bad Marcelo Garcia did in his only MMA fight. That X guard got him in serious trouble with strikes to the face and he is a multiple time world champion. So when you’re bowing out of class about to step off the mats, ask yourself, am I prepared to stop a larger guy mounted on top throwing punches down on my face? If the answer is no, fix it. If you need tips and ideas on how to incorporate this, follow Rickson Gracie, the Gracie brothers in California, the Cascao BJJ association, or Tim Kennedy’s Sheepdog Response team. Just keep your training effective for reality. It may seem intimidating to train with more violence in mind, but there are ways that make it approachable and safe.
If you want to learn some very old school and authentic bjj using strikes, that will work for self-defense, BJJ Fanatics has some products for you. Check out Luis Heredia’s 4 DVD Set “Pure Jiu Jitsu.” In this DVD Set, you will learn some of, if not, the best fundamentals for bjj in the world. Luis Heredia is one of Rickson Gracie’s Black Belts and was Rickson Gracie’s “Hitman.” If anybody would show up to Ricksons School to challenge him they had to go through Luis and none of them made it…