Is BJJ Overrated For MMA and Self-Defense?

Is BJJ overrated in MMA and self defense?

I do not think that BJJ is overrated for MMA or self-defense. That said, learning just one martial art for MMA just won’t cut it these days. You will also need to master wrestling and striking as well.

That said, training BJJ is still a martial art you need to learn for MMA. Of course, much of sport BJJ is not going to be useful in MMA, and many particular BJJ techniques are overrated in real life.

I’m sure there are people in this world who put BJJ on such a high pedestal that it is almost impossible to live up to. You always hear things such as BJJ is an art where a small guy can defeat a large guy in a confrontation.

Of course, there is some truth to that statement but it does have its limits. BJJ is an amazing martial art but we still need to be realistic about things.

BJJ Expectations Vs. Reality

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you are 4’9 and 85 lbs BJJ is not going to enable you to take on a 300-pound powerlifter. No martial art will do that.

In the past, people looked to martial arts expecting to get unrealistic and almost supernatural powers. But no martial art is going to make you like some action figure in a movie.

BJJ is no exception. Yes BJJ is useful and is a great martial art for self-defense. But if you are expectations are too high you will be disappointed. BJJ might not be overrated but your expectations might be too high.

Is BJJ Overrated For MMA?

The Gracie family proved that BJJ was effective in the early UFCs. But what about today almost 30 years later? Is BJJ overrated in MMA today?

BJJ is still a very effective martial art to learn for MMA. Of course, today you probably see more top-level fighters coming from a wrestling background than a BJJ background.

One thing you need to realize about that is these wrestlers still need to learn quite a bit of BJJ for their wrestling to be effective against BJJ fighters. Or they at least need to learn how to defend against the BJJ fighter.

But if a wrestler with no experience outside of wrestling wanted to go against a BJJ practitioner they would likely find themselves in a submission fairly quickly.

BJJ is such an established martial art in MMA that you have to learn BJJ to be effective in MMA. But you will also need to excel in striking and wrestling as well.

In other words, BJJ is not overrated in MMA but it is not effective enough on its own like it was 30 years ago.

Is BJJ Overrated For Self-Defense?

Another area where BJJ gets a lot of attention is its effectiveness in self-defense. Many people claim that it is the single best martial art ever created for self-defense.

On the other hand, you will hear people say that it is useless because it does not work against multiple attackers. Though both of these statements cannot be true at the same time, you could say there is some truth to both.

In my opinion, BJJ is the best form of self-defense against one opponent. That is at least if it is under certain criteria.

The first one is that we are only talking about martial arts that are empty-handed, meaning you do not have the use of a weapon. The second is that you are going to a BJJ school that focuses on self-defense.

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Was Founded In Self Defense

When BJJ first started out just about every school had a major focus on self-defense. After all, the Gracies considered the heart of  BJJ to be a martial art and self-defense system. The sport of BJJ would be a secondary priority.

However, the sport of BJJ and no-gi grappling has gotten so popular that many schools have shifted all or most of their focus to sport BJJ.

That said, BJJ is not overrated for self-defense. However, if self-defense is your focus, then you want to go to an academy that makes self-defense a priority.

Schools run by some of the Gracies practice what they call Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or GJJ. These schools still put a lot of focus on self-defense. 

BJJ Against Multiple Attackers

One criticism from many people about BJJ is its effectiveness against multiple attackers. I understand their point and there is some truth to it.

After all, you probably do not want to bring someone to the ground to choke them out if they have friends standing by. It sounds like a good way to get kicked in the face.

That being said, there really is no perfect martial art to use against multiple attackers. After all, at some point, you will be outmatched no matter what Hollywood might have you believe. People are not going to stand back and attack you one at a time like they do in the movies.

That said, if you are interested in self-defense then you probably want to mix in a striking art such as boxing to supplement your BJJ training. You might even want to learn some devastating takedowns and throws from arts like judo and wrestling.

That said, you cannot be prepared for every situation all the time. But you do have to start somewhere and learning BJJ is a good place to start.

 In Conclusion

No BJJ is not overrated in my opinion. However, we do not want to put it on such a high pedestal that no martial art can live up to.

BJJ is still a major part of MMA. That said, the sport has evolved over the last few decades and fighters need to be more well-rounded than the used to.

When it comes to self-defense I still believe that BJJ is one of the best martial arts you can do. Of course, you will want to go to an academy that emphasizes self-defense.

BJJ is one of the greatest martial arts you can learn.  It is a fantastic place to start your martial arts journey no matter what your goals are. So if you have been thinking about joining a gym don’t wait any longer. Get out there and start training.

Joshua Paul

Joshua Paul is a BJJ purple belt who lives in Austin, Texas. Joshua loves all forms of grappling and when he is off the mats he is likely spending time with his wife and son.

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