We all know self-defense skills are crucial, especially in this day and age. Most people do not realize you don’t have to be an expert to protect yourself. That isn’t to say there’s no point to becoming an expert in a particular area of self-defense. But, when you are beginning to learn a martial art, you can still refine the skills you need to keep yourself safe.
Jiu-Jitsu has been around for centuries and has long been seen as not only a form of self-defense but an art. It has been used since at least 1530 to defend against armed and unarmed threats. The word’s origin expresses this with the first part of the word “jiu,” meaning gentle, flexible, or yielding. The second half of the word “jitsu” means art. Gentle art is an excellent way to describe this skillset, as it takes not only athleticism but great form and fluidity. In the 1920s, the Gracie family modified the traditional Jiu-Jitsu art form into their own “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu” style, which we know today as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
BJJ is a defensive style that can take quite a while to master, primarily since much of it relies on your opponent or attacker making a move and knowing exactly when and how to turn their momentum into yours. However, that doesn’t mean that beginners’ moves are not effective- they are. For those who are new to the style, here are a few BJJ techniques to start out with, especially for self-defense:
-Simple Sweep: If you find yourself in the bottom guard and aren’t yet skilled in submissions and sweeps, the first one to learn is the “simple sweep.” This sweep allows you to quickly throw your opponent over and pull yourself on top of them, taking you from bottom guard to top mount in one fluid movement. From there, you have strikes and submissions at your disposal and can control your opponent, or break away, gaining distance.
-Rear Naked Choke: This submission only takes a few seconds to render a person unconscious. Highly effective in a sparring scenario, this hold is extremely effective in the real world as well. If you have the element of surprise and can approach an aggressor from behind, you can quickly stop their actions with this technique. This is especially useful for protecting others who are in danger.
-Guillotine Choke: Same principle as the Rear Naked Choke. However, a brief time in this hold means a nap for the recipient. A guillotine choke can save you from ending up on the ground at your opponent’s mercy.
-Kimura: A classic shoulder lock submission achieved by weaving both of your arms around one of your opponent’s, resulting in serious leverage. This hold has countless variations and can be implemented from many positions. Kimura can disable an attacker in a variety of ways.
-Rear Mount: The rear mount is often a nightmare scenario for the person on the bottom. Hooking your legs inside the opponent’s hips allows you to flatten them out and immobilize them. Once in this position, it will be very difficult for them to continue fighting. But, if they do, the rear mount lends itself to strikes and countless chokes, arm locks, and additional advanced submissions.
In order to excel in this art form, you must be in the right mindset. This is because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu takes care and precision to master, and it is best to start practicing this mindset on day one. You will find the more you focus, the better you will be able to perfect your craft and the more natural each movement will become.
Once you are comfortable with the basics of sparring and have a few sweeps and submissions under your belt, try sparring with your eyes closed. When you focus only on what you feel, you can better predict what is coming next. Of course, this is not recommended if you find yourself in a situation where an aggressor may have access to a weapon or other people are around. Always be aware of your surroundings.
Precision and concentration will also allow you to get the best out of BJJ. Not only will you be more accurate in each step, move, and posture, but you will also be in a great mindset that may help you in all areas of life.
Why are Jiu-Jitsu moves great for beginners to learn? The benefits are endless. Firstly, your body will thank you. This art form works your body in a way you are likely not used to. You’ll be sore in places you didn’t know your muscles. This creates power and flexibility as well as mental strength. Not only do you need to pay attention to your positioning and your timing, but you need to pay attention to your opponent’s moves and be one step ahead of them.
It will also teach you order, patience, and structure. This is because in order to do well in this art form, you must be self-regulated and disciplined. No one can train for you, and it is up to you how much effort you put into each training session. The benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are many and for those who practice, it will become not only a way to self-regulate, self-discipline, and self-defend, but a way of life.
BJJ will also teach you safe falling techniques. A large portion of BJJ is getting to the ground. Sometimes you reach the ground on your terms, and sometimes it’s the other way around. Learning the right way to position yourself and brace for a fall may prevent injury, and with enough repetition, this will become second nature. This may come in handy even when you are not practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The art of BJJ has also been linked to better sleep and is a known confidence booster. This is because when you are confident in your ability to protect yourself, you can release tension and anxiety.
Lastly and most importantly, it is an excellent way to quickly and efficiently end a threat. Being able to protect yourself and the ones you love is crucial. Practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and honing your skills will bring you peace of mind.
Disclaimer: Naturally, none of this will do you any good if you do not have a proper instructor. Find a reputable BJJ school and learn the correct way to execute each of these techniques. Do not operate under the assumption that you know what you’re doing. Allow yourself to be taught. While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is highly effective for self-defense, it is not advisable to use these
techniques outside of practice and tournament scenarios unless absolutely necessary. Some of these techniques can be deadly. Familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal self-defense laws before implementing any of these techniques outside the mat.
Skillset has a lot more than just Jiu-Jitsu moves for beginners, check this out: Stick Defense