My last Martial Arts News garnered some interesting hate e-mail. It was a combination of Martial Development’s post on Brazilian Jiu-jitsu’s effectiveness for street self-defense, and at least one of the comments that I left in my post. (Chris always gets me in trouble!)
I think ANY ground wrestling art that emphasizes staying on the ground is 2nd choice in a street setting — that’s just my personal opinion based on the fours years I spent working in prison. You need some ground (enough to enable you to get up!) but you also need something that works standing. I saw too many inmates (and a couple guards too) get bum-rushed in prison. Once the defender was on the ground they’d just swarm the guy on the ground and put the boots to him until we broke it up. – Bob Patterson
“Roy” from Ohio totally had an MMA flame out on me! He and at least two others commented that you can be swarmed on the street standing up and that standing up is no different than finishing an opponent on the ground. Roy also claims to have a brown belt in BJJ and actually challenged me to my first-ever cage match!
First, let’s take care of the challenge. Roy — I’d be happy to compete with you in the cage. However, the only way I’ll do it is if I can bring my tactical baton. If you are open to that stipulation then I’ll consider your challenge with all the seriousness it deserves. I’ll also warn you that in a true fight (not a sport MMA competition) I personally believe that there is no such thing as “dirty fighting”. So I’m not above using psychological warfare and our bout just may go something like this:
I’ll let you figure out if I’m on the top or on the bottom.
Now for the second part of Roy’s comment. Roy, I have to respectfully disagree with you. Standing up IS different than going to the ground in a street setting. Yes, you can get swarmed standing up. Yes, again that you can even get pinned against an obstacle or tied up in a standing clinch while others beat on you. This is all true. However, the one thing you can’t do on the ground is “stick-and-move”. Period.
I suspect the fellow in the video had training in boxing. Note how he sticks, moves, and keeps on standing? If he had went to the ground in this particular situation he’d be done. Period.
Back in the long-since-gone prison days I saw many groups of inmates who specifically tried to get their victim on the ground. Why? Because it was easier to put the boots to him! This even happened to one correctional officer who had boxed and who had also wrestled in college. He ended up with a separated shoulder and ruptured testicle. Granted, he did put one of the inmates in the hospital but were it not for other officers saving the day, he admitted that he was about done for. My point is that if you end up on the ground in a street setting you probably want to get back up and quick! Especially if there is more than one attacker.
The other point I made in my MA News post is what I call the “MMA mentality” that mostly seems to promote violence as the first choice. Take a look at the hilljack cheeseburger video. At about 1:46 hilljack approaches Mr. BJJ in a threatening manner. Before hilljack can do anything Mr. BJJ takes him to the ground.
Now perhaps from a combat perspective this makes perfect sense. But from a get-your-ass-sued perspective it does not. First, Mr. BJJ eggs the hilljack on all throughout the video. How about de-escalating the hilljack? Maybe give him your cheeseburger or offer to buy him some underpants? Better still, engage him in conversation while someone calls the cops!
Basically Mr. BJJ makes a bad situation worse by shooting his mouth off. Moreover, I’m not even sure he could claim self-defense because he DID strike the first blow (or tackle).
Another misconception that I need to address: no, I do not think that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sucks for self-defense. I repeat: “I think ANY ground wrestling/grappling art that emphasizes staying on the ground is 2nd choice in a street setting.” Nor do I think that MMA sucks for self-defense. In fact, any average MMA fighter could “stick-and-move” as well (or better!) than the guy in the above video.
Related to this are three posts by fellow martial arts bloggers. The first addresses why I think traditional martial arts offer something that is being lost in “Ultimate Fighting”.
If you learn nothing from those traditional systems, learn that etiquette, and the world will definitely be a better place for all of us who live in it.
The second post gives BJJ practitioners something to consider.
If BJJ students think about how they can adapt the techniques they learn, for the street, they shall find that they will be able to defend themselves very well from the clinch and when on the ground.
Finally, the third example underscores what I’m ranting about!
In the video below, I demonstrate a few different applications of Can-ryu ground defense concepts.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a cage match to prepare for!