I remember the first time I came across Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu very clearly. I was very impressed, so it’s been easy.
Boys like to wrestle and fight each other. It’s not malicious, just natural playfulness and an instinctive need. When I was 16 in a rural fishing town in New England, wrestling and fighting was the activity of choice and we prided ourselves in our little town’s supremacy in this skill in that area. One day a friend of mine brought a buddy of his from another town to hang out at my house. Some other kids showed up and wrestling started.
The new kid wanted to try, we told him we’d probably hurt him (he was a skinny guy with glasses, private school kid). He said he had studied Bazilian Jiu-Jitsu and thought he should be fine. He proceeded to wipe the floor with a roomful of fearless muscle-bound fisherman’s sons and me (my family were transplants from Kentucky and did not fish). I don’t even think his shirt came un-tucked.
It left an impression on everyone and several of us actually went on to study various forms such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after that. I have studied taekwondo and Shoalin Gong Fu and trained with people from many schools and I am still convinced that Jiu-Jitsu is the most effective fighting system out there.
The reason Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is so effective is the brilliant use of natural forces like leverage, momentum, weight and balance in its techniques which maximizes the output of force. Unlike many styles of martial arts that depend on brute strength when striking and an ability to with stand powerful blows to the head and body, Jiu-Jitsu uses cunning, strategy, and physical science to give the advantage to skill over strength.
When tested on real world effectiveness, most stylized martial arts techniques don’t hold up that well. A lot of techniques are difficult or impossible to perform if the other person isn’t going along with it. What that means is: what a technique feels and looks like and how it works when your partner is anticipating and allowing it is very different than how that same technique fires off if the opponent is doing everything to resist it.
Jiu-Jitsu’s techniques, especially the highly developed ground and grappling techniques of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools, consistently perform better than those of let’s say taekwondo. That doesn’t mean that taekwondo is not a beautiful art with some great techniques, but on the basic levels it is not as suitable for a real street fight.
Another important advantage of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is its simplicity. Within the world of Gong Fu or Kung Fu there are many ferociously effective styles. The big problem is that in order to really make them work effectively requires a lifetime of very devoted training and a certain degree of natural ability.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the other hand is a very cut and dry scientific form of combat and one that a person can gain a functional ability in with maybe two days of training a week for several months. Just imagine how effective it is after a few years!