Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
Whatever else you might say about the Gracie family, who are famous for introducing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the world, they have to be given credit for putting it on the line. Anybody who thinks they can beat the Gracie fighters is free to go into their gym and challenge them. Not only do the Gracies accept the challenge, but cheerfully kick the guy’s butt. Royce Gracie is one of the greatest no-holds-barred fighters who ever lived.
But all of this doesn’t make Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the ultimate art in every circumstance. Although for decades wrestling was severely underrated as a combat art, it isn’t necessarily the answer to every confrontation. And wrestling does have its weaknesses.
In order to graduate from the Shaolin Temple, a student had to pass through a dangerous maze beneath the temple. In one room the student has a choice of all kinds of weapons, like a broadsword, a double-edged sword, a spear, a halberd, etc. But in the corner was a lowly shovel. What the student didn’t know was that the next room was full of scorpions, and the flat bladed shovel was more effective against a floor covered with scorpions, while a spear or a sword were nearly useless.
The best weapon, or the best fighting style depends on the circumstances. If you’re facing twenty opponents in an open field, a hand grenade is a great weapon. If you’re attacked in an outhouse a hand grenade is useless. If you’re in a situation such as an orderly at a mental hospital, a teacher, or a cop on the street, where controlling someone without punching him in the mouth or kneeing him in the groin is a valuable skill, then grappling may be the ideal fit.
In the Cage, There Are Still Rules. What happens when an opponent can gouge the eyes, groin and throat? What happens when he can use finger breaks and biting? Wrestling isn’t necessarily such a good strategy in those circumstances.
In the Cage, No One Carries a Knife. If you’re facing a thug with a knife, it’s better to have weapon of your own. Rushing in and wrestling isn’t necessarily the best response. What happens when the “unarmed” guy you’re wrestling pulls out a knife?
In the Cage, It’s One at a Time. So you have mounted an opponent on the ground. What about his two gang banger buddies? When you’re facing multiple opponents, wrestling is not the best choice.
Learn the Long Stick. The long stick isn’t the answer to every combat situation, either, but it does represent an easy to learn, effective combat system. The big bad stick is a great equalizer for those who are too small or weak to wrestle the thugs out there who are younger and buffer.
If you have grappling training, you’ve got some great skills that you can use with the long stick. We Americans in our ingenuity have realized that the best martial artists are well-rounded, and are familiar with multiple styles. A good martial artist uses multiple styles, or at least the awareness of multiple styles to cover the weaknesses that each system has. I may not become a wrestler, but I can learn takedown defenses and practice against a grappler.
Whether you’re a skilled martial artist or a complete beginner, the long stick is a powerful tool and a great step toward becoming a complete warrior.