Why is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu definitely #1 as a Self-Defense System?

Apr 20, 2023


Looking for the most effective way to defend yourself in real-life situations? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is your answer. This martial art is widely considered the best self-defense system due to its emphasis on technique, leverage, and ground fighting. Let’s explore BJJ’s history, principles, and benefits and why it’s a superior self-defense option.

The History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The Gracie family

The Gracie family is synonymous with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They transformed the martial art into what it is today and are responsible for its widespread popularity. Carlos Gracie, one of the founding fathers of BJJ, opened the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Brazil, which set the stage for its global expansion. His son, Master Carlos Gracie Jr., is the founder of Gracie Barra and more than 35 years ago, he envisioned what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is today: a martial art that everyone can benefit from.

Mitsuyo Maeda and the birth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The roots of BJJ can be traced back to Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka who traveled the world demonstrating his art. Maeda eventually settled in Brazil, where he taught Carlos Gracie. Gracie adapted Maeda’s techniques, blending them with other grappling styles to create Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The Principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Leverage and technique over strength

BJJ focuses on using leverage and technique to overcome larger and stronger opponents. This approach allows smaller individuals to defend themselves effectively without relying on brute force. One of the main reasons that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is considered “the gentle art“.

Ground fighting and submissions

The majority of BJJ techniques take place on the ground, emphasizing joint locks and chokeholds to subdue opponents. This focus on ground fighting helps neutralize the advantages of size and strength.

Position before submission

BJJ practitioners prioritize securing dominant positions before attempting submissions. This strategy ensures control over the opponent, reducing the risk of counters and escapes. As you are imagining, patience is key.

Why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is Effective for Self-Defense

Realistic training and live sparring

BJJ emphasizes live sparring (rolling) in its training, which simulates real-life situations. This practical approach helps students develop effective self-defense skills under pressure. Usually, we don’t really think about it, but most of these situations that happen for real (everywhere) really resembles the usual Jiu-Jitsu roll as people close distances and end up in the ground.

Adaptability to various situations

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques are incredibly versatile and can be effectively used in various situations, ranging from standing combat to grappling on the ground. This adaptability ensures that it is a highly efficient self-defense system, especially when faced with uncertain or unexpected circumstances during real-life encounters.

Size and gender neutrality

As BJJ focuses on leverage and technique, it is suitable for people of all sizes and genders. This inclusivity enables anyone to learn and benefit from its self-defense capabilities.

BJJ vs. Other Martial Arts

Striking-based martial arts

Striking-based martial arts like boxing and Muay Thai are effective in self-defense situations. However, BJJ’s ground fighting and submission techniques provide a more comprehensive approach, allowing practitioners to control and subdue opponents without relying solely on striking.

Other grappling arts

While other grappling arts, such as wrestling and judo, also emphasize ground fighting, BJJ’s focus on submissions makes it a more versatile self-defense option. In addition, BJJ practitioners are equipped with an arsenal of joint locks and chokeholds to neutralize threats effectively.

Learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Finding the right gym

To get started with BJJ, finding a reputable gym with experienced instructors is essential. Be sure to look for academies affiliated with well-known BJJ organizations and ask for recommendations from friends or online communities.

Check out this article to learn about every important aspect you should be looking at when looking for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school for you or your family.

The importance of consistency

Consistency is crucial when learning BJJ. Regular training will help you develop muscle memory, refine techniques, and build the confidence needed for effective self-defense. At Gracie Barra Flatirons, we offer a flexible schedule with unlimited classes to every member, making consistency a breeze while keeping its importance.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is often considered the best self-defense system due to its emphasis on leverage, technique, ground fighting, and adaptability. The martial art is suitable for people of all sizes and genders, offering a comprehensive approach to self-defense that encompasses both standing and ground scenarios. If you’re interested in learning BJJ, find a reputable gym, and commit to consistent training to reap the benefits of this highly effective martial art.

Gracie Barra Flatirons’ introductory free class is the best way to get started. You can easily schedule your free class on this page or, if you prefer, leave your contact information at the end of the current page, and a staff member will contact you as soon as possible.


  • Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu suitable for beginners?

    Yes, BJJ is beginner-friendly and can be learned by people with no prior martial arts experience.

  • How long does it take to become proficient in BJJ?

    The time it takes to become proficient varies by individual. Consistent training and dedication are key factors in developing skills.

  • Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu effective against multiple attackers?

    While BJJ is highly effective in one-on-one situations, it can be challenging to manage multiple attackers. However, the skills gained through BJJ training can still be beneficial in such scenarios.

  • Can Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu be used for self-defense without harming the attacker?

    Yes, BJJ techniques allow practitioners to control and subdue opponents without causing severe harm.

  • Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu suitable for children?

    Yes, many BJJ academies offer classes tailored for children, teaching them self-defense skills and promoting discipline, respect, and confidence.

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