Sport BJJ/BJJ Self Defense?

Just wanted to get everyone's thoughts on the current status of BJJ training. From what I have seen, lately it appears that more and more schools are focusing only on Sport BJJ and neglecting to teach practical self defense BJJ. Before I relocated to N. Carolina, I lived in So. California. There were maybe 2 or 3 schools in Orange Co., including the one I came from, that taught BJJ self defense techniques in addition to sport BJJ. The other schools seemed to focus only on cagefighting and NHB grappling.

It seems that within the past few years since the UFC has gained increased popularity, people want to get into sport jiu jitsu, and so BJJ schools seem to market sport BJJ. I can see this from a business standpoint as far as making money to pay the bills, but what about teaching the self defense aspects of the art?



You should read article 1 and 5.


I think Luis Gutierrez makes some very good and valid points in those article.

My personal opinion is much of self-defense can and does derive from the very same techniques used in combat sports including NHB.

It all boils down to how the individual modifies and use them to served their needs in a so-called self-defense situation.

Truth be told...I think most people will "naturally" make those necessary adjustments to whatever technique they may know to actually "save" their life when in danger. Defending oneself is the most natural instinct a person has. The instinct (fight or flight) is already hard wire into the human psyche all a person needs is some "tools" to work with. The situation will naturally cause one to use those exactly in the way they need to for that situation.

So-called self-defense situation are very unpredictable and very from individual situation to individual situation YET people have be known to actually survive and even be victorious in their own circumstance that require self-defense action with the little bit of training and techniques they knew. This is something that is rarely discussed in the Martial Arts world.

Believe me it is that natural survival instinct, that flight or fight response that is within us which causes a person to actually successfully use a martial art technique they haven't trained much and learn years ago the exact moment they needed to in that situation when their "life" was in danger.

I can attest to this.


thanks for the link. those are some very interesting points that Luis Gutierrez makes in his articles. They gave me an entirely different perspective of looking at my reasons for training.

One of the things that I noticed was how much emphasis Luis placed on the psychological preparation (i.e. flight/fight response, awareness of surroundings, etc.) moreso than just the physical applications of a person intelligently defending themself. This is an extremely important issue that I think instructors should learn to cover aside from just "rolling" in class.


thanks for your input. i agree that every self-defense situation is different. my bjj instructor had a poster of "murphy's laws on streetfighting" hanging up on the wall. one of those laws said something to the effect of "your training can prepare you for any situation except the one that you are in." How true is this? Very true, I'd say. I agree that people have a natural instinct to survive, and that adding "tools" or proper self-defense training can increase their chances of survival in some type of encounter.

However, if a person's focus on training has only been NHB, will they be able to adapt to the situation by disengaging their "sport" mentality of fighting, and now mentally/physically engage in a street/danceclub/hostile environment? Obviously, only the individual in such a situation can answer that question. Again, this is just my way of looking at it.

Thanks again for your responses!


I would personally still choose sport BJJ to most martial arts out there for street defence.

As mg said, it's really a matter of "mind set".

From a personal experience. I have managed to convert certain aspects of Olympic fencing into workable street effective stick/knife applications.

I can't see it being any different to converting certain aspects of sport BJJ to the street.


Saying that training in a sport-oriented martial art like Sport BJJ, Judo, Boxing, etc. will breed bad habits that will get you killed in combat is kind of ridiculous - yes, we train the way we fight but we are also capable of filtering out stuff that would not be appropriate in a "real" situation.

It's kind of like saying that an American football player will suddenly stop beating the crap out of you if you throw a football at him, triggering his reflex to want to catch the thing and run to the nearest end zone with it.

lol. Good one.

LOL! If I ever have to fight a football player I may have to try that.

Yeah, just walk around with a football down your pants.

This has two effects:

1) Women will dig you more and men will give you much respect.

2) If you get into a fight and start to lose, open up your zipper and release the football - since every redblooded American boy has played football at one time in his life, he will have the reflex to stoop down and pick it up and run for the end zone hardwired into his nervous system. As he does that, knee him in the head.


3) Don't ever get in a fight in Europe since those guys don't have any idea what the hell this strange brown egg you're pulling out of your pants is supposed to be. You'll get killed.

Fighting in Europe only requires a subtle change in my "football defense" technique:

You substitute a soccer ball for the football.

Most Europeans have played soccer at some point in their lives. Once you drop that black and white sphere out of your shorts, they'll start kicking it around which will give you the chance to cold-cock them.

Soccer, Europe and fighting...hell yes they go hand in hand.


Thanks for giving them there words a look at. ;)


Soccer is a gentleman's game played by thugs.

Rugby is a thugs game played by gentlemen.