Feature Article: “WHOSE FAULT IS IT WHEN YOUR GRAPPLING CAN’T PROTECT YOU?” – The Wise Grappler

This article was brought to my attention by one of our students.  It is a refreshing look at what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu really is, a self defense martial art.  It was sent in a email newsletter that you can sign up for by going to The Wise Grappler website and submitting your name and email address. While your there, check out his other articles on grappling and BJJ.  Great stuff.

“Imagine that you stop off at a convenience store after work to get a soda and as you’re walking through the door, a guy runs out the store and bumps into you.

You say excuse me for your part in the mishap, even though it wasn’t your fault, but the guy drops his soda and now demands that you buy him another or he’ll kick your butt.

And as you try one futile attempt after another to resolve the issue peacefully, our rude friend decides to…


Now, I ended the scenario right there because I don’t want to say exactly how it turns out since it could end a number of ways. But the question I want you to ask yourself is this:

Does your grappling training prepare you for this kind of situation or is it geared more toward competitions?

Why am I asking this question, you may ask?

Ever since grappling emerged on the MMA scene in the early 1990s, MILLIONS of people have joined grappling schools around the world, hoping to learn how to fight like they saw Royce Gracie do in those early UFC matches.

Some schools taught their students how to fight or defend themselves, but far too many schools made their students sport tournament grapplers incapable of defending themselves in that kind of convenience store scenario.

They never learned how to throw a punch, kick, head-butt, bite, how to hit someone with a brick or even the right self-defense mindset…
but they know how to apply an armbar or 3 different ways to escape a triangle choke.

Don’t get me wrong because I’m not against sport grappling at all. I just believe that every school should provide a vehicle to teach their students how to protect themselves outside of the sport tournament rules framework. And if they don’t know how, they should bring someone in that can teach them.

I also believe it’s the responsibility of each grappling student to ensure they learn how to defend themselves so they will feel confident to deal with those kinds of situations when they occur and can’t be resolved peacefully.

Flying triangles look cool, but they won’t do you any good if someone slaps you, puts you in a headlock and throws you down to the ground in front of your family, while you flop on the ground helplessly like a fish out of water. How do explain to your loved ones what happened when you’re telling everyone that you’re at the gym “fighting” 4-6 days a week?”

2 Responses to “Feature Article: “WHOSE FAULT IS IT WHEN YOUR GRAPPLING CAN’T PROTECT YOU?” – The Wise Grappler”

  1. Sen says:

    After last night’s combo roll (sounds like Sushi! Yum!), the truth in the WiseGrappler’s words. When you’re in a sport mindset, you often forget the self-defenses. And if you drill and train sport BJJ continuously, you have less of a chance of reacting properly when push comes to shove (literally).

  2. David says:

    I don’t see how the training cannot help you. I have been accosted several times where I grew up, Jane and finch in Toronto.

    If I had more grappling training I would have wasted the losers who tried to assault me. One guy even pulled a linoleum knife on me!!

    Needless to say I wound up victorious as I was not hurt (and very lucky) as street situations are very unpredictable and violent.

    Yes the gym does not prepare you for the street but you must use a little common sense and while grappling with a seasoned grappler should at least give you the strength to fend off most street thug losers that are unarmed.

    The other issue is that you do not want to go to jail for hurting some scumbag also and its up to the Police’s discretion and how you present your story ( they don’t teach this in the gym also)..

    The street is also like a territorial and posturing game..often no violence is required just posturing and standing your ground.

    Bar fights are for losers and that’s one reason why I don’t like going to bars.

    One thing I would also like to stress is that street fighting you only need 3 or so techniques not the myriad of techniques taught in clubs. Having been in fights, I don’t envy people whom are in them..there is no one to stop it unless the police come, and one could wind up very bloody and face permanent injury or even death as the result of a street fight.

    What you get from the gym is great cardio and a strong will that can help you in the street if your adversary is reasonably fit and most likely very stupid for fighting in the first place…they eventual will give out quickly with pot and cigarette soaked lungs.

    I don’t fully agree with your comments…the best fighters I have seen did not come fighting from the streets…most street fighters are cowards and have no sense of honor and respect and also lack intellect and formal education.

    My advice to all is stay off the street get an education and train hard and if and when you need it your training will protect you…

    In my humble opinion Muay Thai, Karate, and Jiu Jitsu are the most effective on the street. I have only had to ever use grappling and never really had to plow someone with my fist as much as I may have liked to at times. My JiuJitsu training gave me this and I am very thankful and happy that I had it and it kept me safe.