Saturday, January 24, 2009

Defending A Somewhat Bold Statement

In my second blog post, I made a statement that I have since been thinking about quite a bit. I now realize that without a bit of explanation, the statement could seem rather brash and arrogant—this was not my intent, so here comes the statement followed by the explanation:

I said: “Leverage, technique, and focusing on the principles of Jiu Jitsu vs. just learning individual moves makes this Art the most affective fighting system to which I have ever been exposed.” Who am I to make such a claim, and why do I believe that the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Art is the “most” affective” fighting system?

Firstly, you should know that I have a great respect for traditional Martial Arts. I actually have earned a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo—an accomplishment that I’m very proud of. While this is a Jiu Jitsu blog, here comes a few photos of this accomplishment. Click any to enlarge.

Photo of the LTrain at his TKD Black Belt Testing using his right fist to smash through a stack of wood on bricks in order to get to the Black Belt that had been placed underneath the boards.

Photo of 6th Degree Master Rick Morad tying on the LTrain's Black Belt for the very first time.

Photo of the LTrain adjusting the fit of his new Black Belt.

Photo of the LTrain bowing to 6th Degree Master Rick Morad after receiving his TKD Black Belt.

I believe that many of the striking arts have a number of valuable skills that one can learn, and I’m actually a big proponent of the physical fitness benefits of such disciplines.

But we’re talking about a “fighting system” here, and what techniques serve as the best means of defending oneself. I’ll base my assertions on some of the altercations in which I’ve been involved in the past as well as what I have learned thus far on the GJJ self-defense front. What are the primary goals when engaged in a physical confrontation? In my estimation these are, but may not be limited to the following:
1. Keep yourself safe! All of the fancy, flashy strikes in the world aren’t going to help you if you end up looking like the one who lost the fight. The best way that I know how to keep myself safe is to: “Close the distance” between me and my assailant, one of the first things taught in the self-defense element of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, and a life-saver if you are blind!
2. Control the tempo of the fight: Let your assailant determine how the fight is finished. Prior to beginning my journey in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, my immediate reaction would be to totally wreck somebody if it came down to a physical confrontation. The self-defense aspect of GJJ allows you to confidently allow your opponent to determine whether the fight ends peacefully, or badly for him.
3. End the confrontation: Depending on how your assailant responds to point number 2, you can “finish” the fight accordingly. I’ve heard Professor David Adiv state on more than one occasion that choking somebody out is the most humane way to end a confrontation. You don’t bust up your hands, and you don’t break your attackers bones, knock out their teeth, etc. You just put them out for a little while and walk away unscathed.

Below are links to two videos on YouTube that support the above three assertions. The first is a video of Royce Gracie fighting a Kung-fu expert.

Obviously, this is not a street fight, but the principles of Gracie Jiu Jitsu self-defense are exemplified in this video; and Rorian Gracie’s narrative describes what is happening throughout this fight extremely well for readers who are vision impaired.

The second video which is also posted on Youtube is less descriptive for persons who are vision impaired.

In this video, brothers Rickson and Royler Gracie walk through the various self-defense moves principles, and strategies prevalent in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

From a BjJ player’s perspective, I realize that the self-defense aspect of GJJ might become a bit tedious and boring for some who wish to improve their sport BjJ game. But I’m committed in my own BjJ game to always remember and practice the basics of this art form and to not forget why I started studying GJJ in the first place. Renner Gracie often concludes his instructional video clips by saying: "Keep it real! And Keep it Gracie." To me, that statement sums up the essence of this post.


Larry, the LTrain

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