Why Sport Matters for Self-Defense


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Since BJJ was first recognized as a sport in and of itself and not a martial art for use as the grappling component in street self defense or vale tudo competition, there has been a debate raging about the purity of the martial art and whether sport is good for it or not. While it is true that there are many techniques employed in sport jiu-jitsu today that don’t have much carryover when striking is allowed or you’re fighting more than one person, I feel that sport training does have value for the self-defense concerned student, for a few main reasons:

  1. Sport Training Requires Fitness – To be successful in sport jiu-jitsu, it’s obvious that you have to be in good shape. What may not be so obvious however to those who haven’t been in a street fight or trained under someone with a lot of experience in it is that self defense requires you to be in good shape as well. The combination of the fight itself and the extreme stress makes it absolutely exhausting to fight for even a minute or two.
  2. Tournaments Prepare You Mentally – While a tournament can’t compare to the feeling of your life legitimately being in danger, almost everyone still gets nervous when they compete so it gives you a taste of what it’s like to have to handle yourself while dealing with the adrenaline dump which is arguably just as important a self-defense skill as the techniques themselves.
  3. Sport Provides Full Resistance – This is a big one. It’s hard to believe in 2017 with the popularity of the UFC that there are still people walking around thinking they know how to snatch someone’s eye out or stop the heart by hitting a precise pressure point in the armpit or cause paralysis with their minds, but they exist. The reason they believe these things is that their training is largely hypothetical since obviously you wouldn’t want to maim or kill your training partners. They can’t train against full resistance, so ultimately they can “learn” the techniques but have no idea until they’re in a real life self defense situation whether they can do anything at all. Rolling and sport solve this problem for BJJ. Even though we don’t want to maim or kill our training partners either, we can still train almost all of our techniques against full resistance and know they work. The only thing different about most self defense situations is what happens instead of tapping.

For Fb 30 day trial profilethese and other reasons, it’s always good to train both sport and self-defense techniques in BJJ. Come and check out our new St. Albert location for a 30-Day FREE

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