Why is Gracie Jiujitsu appropriate as a Self Defence Art?

Please watch this short demonstration of the Gracie Jiujitsu self defence curriculum and competition sparring by masters Rickson & Royler Gracie. 

I recently found myself on the train to my professor Eddie Kone's HQ academy to teach the Wednesday introduction and advanced classes. As always, the focus and centre of all the sessions at EKBJJ is Gracie Jiujitsu as a complete art of self defence and my reading companion for the train journey today is: Brazilian Jiujitsu Self Defence Techniques by Royce Gracie, Charles Gracie and Kid Peligro. 

If you're not familiar with the book, I highly recommend it as a 103 position / technique encyclopaedic overview of how the Gracie Family approach self-defence but before you get to these positions, there's a 17page introduction that is already worth the price of the book. The technical portion of the book deals with the how (and to a certain extent, the when) but that intro delves nicely into the why and why not. We're given a brief historical overview of Jiujitsu in Brazil but also two articles that, unfortunately, many academies I've visited around the world ignore. I'll share here a couple of bits out of each that I feel sum them well:

What is it about Brazilian jiu-jitsu that makes it so effective as a self defence system? 

We can break the answer into four main points:

1) it is designed to work even when you are surprised and in a poor position 
2) it is designed by small people to defeat larger ones 
3) it allows you to develop instantaneous reactions by practicing in extremely lifelike exercises and 
4) it provides you with a range of severity in dealing with your attacker

Now I invite you to rewatch this clip and ask yourself:

1) could those techniques have worked even when you are surprised and in a poor position?
2) would those techniques have allowed a small person to defeat a larger aggressor?
3) would it be possible to create extremely lifelike exercises and drills for these scenarios that'd facilitate instantaneous reactions? 
4) did you witness a range of severity in dealing with your attacker?

Training Guidelines:

Class structure: this is something I have quizzes every son or grandson of Grandmaster Helio's that I've met: If someone is on a tight schedule and can only make a one hour session 2-3 times a week, how should the professor structure their session?

Every single one agreed on one thing: Technique drilling and repetition and positional training / sparring is far more important, and therefore should hold the lion-share of a lesson, than free sparring. Check this excellent study by Gracie Jiujitsu black belt Mr Josh Vogel of positional sparring.

Study the art. Don't just train aimlessly and hope for the best.



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