Call Us Now » (817) 453-5858
I was hesitant to write about self-defense because I am only Bruce Lee in my own mind. I’ve been studying BJJ for about eight months, which means I’m a three-stripe white belt (in BJJ you are a white belt for a minimum of a year). I do have some skills, but I am far from being an expert. In fact, the only thing I am REALLY useful for is my body being used to clean the mats like a human Swiffer. Spray me with Endust and then partner me with a blue belt…
So what would someone like ME have to say about self-defense?
Actually, after chatting with Professor Young, more than I realized. I’ve been reading a lot of great Jiu Jitsu blogs and it’s easy to become intimidated. There is some fabulous advice from generous upper belts, but I think we can get some faulty thinking if we aren’t careful.
See, the beauty of any martial arts, but ESPECIALLY Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is you don’t have to know a lot to know. . .A LOT. There are some basic things we learn very early that can do a lot to keep us safe and fend off most attackers. In my opinion, BJJ is the BEST form of martial arts for females and every female should take at least some classes.
Seriously, Moms. Take a class and bring your daughters. Bring your MOM. BJJ is for all ages and you don’t have to be in ninja form to learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Thing is, our society can be kind of weird. We have drills for all kinds of things. We run through all kinds of plans and safety training. Get on ANY plane and the flight attendant will train all of us how to put on a seatbelt. OH-kaaayyy. So THAT’S how I do it! They will point out emergency exits and explain what will happen should trouble arise.
Because this drill, silly as it seems, prepares us. We don’t want to wait until the plane is going down to think about what could be used as a flotation device.
We do fire drills at schools and workplaces. We do tornado drills. We drill and practice a speech. We practice our answers for a job interview. We might even rehearse what we are going to say and do on a first date or when confronting Aunt Lulu about her tuna loaf. We war-game how we are going to say NO to sewing bumblebee costumes for the entire Kindergarden class.
We rehearse and drill all kinds of things with our KIDS. What to do if lost in a mall. What to do if a stranger asks for help searching for a pet.
But how much training are we doing for an event that happens every minute of every day to someone? How prepared are we for when someone lunges for our purse or tackles us for a sexual assault? How many teenage girls have an emergency preparedness plan for when for a nice normal date suddenly turns ugly? For a guy pinning her to the ground and who won’t respect the word NO?
How many times have we run through those scenarios so that if (GOD FORBID) it happens? We know what to do.
I’m going to give you a peek into the predator’s mind. The ONE thing most attackers are counting on is that we will panic. That we won’t know what to do. That they can grab us or tackle us or choke us and our minds are going to go a big fat BLANK. They are COUNTING ON that small expanse of panic so they can easily escalate the attack into something life-changing or life-ending.
When they DO attack a person who’s prepared? A whole other ending, and one that is NOT good for the predator. When we fight back, when we are prepared? That is often when it’s the predator’s turn to panic.
For instance, this ADORABLE rabbit…chasing a snake up a tree. Bet the snake hadn’t planned on that…
So. Can even a HANDFUL of classes help? YES. Overwhelmingly YES. Why?
BJJ Prepares the Mind and the Body for a Fight
I find it funny that people believe that because I train in martial arts, I therefore must want to be in a fight. NOOOOOOO. I am a lover, not a fighter. The best way to win a fight? AVOID a fight. But in life, sometimes stuff happens and we need to be ready.
Thing is, it is pretty shocking the first time you get hit. Since many people have never been hit, pinned or choked, they panic when it happens. Their minds go blank and panic sets in and panic can get us hurt or killed.
In BJJ we don’t do much punching and kicking, but we do train to be ready for someone who wants to punch and kick. . . or choke or tackle us to the ground. This means we can experience the moves and feel of a fight (an attack) in a safe environment so if that time should ever come? We are ready and we don’t think, don’t panic, we simply ACT.
This is actually the second time I have taken Jiu Jitsu. I started in waaaay back in the mid 90s when it was a new and unheard of sport. I recall doing a drill for getting free from a rear choke. And I did my thing because it was all a fun workout and I really wanted to earn that next belt. I really didn’t give any thought to how I might use this outside of a dojo.
At the time, I was working nights delivering papers to pay my way through college. Part of having a paper route involved selling new subscriptions along your route. My route was comprised of three HUGE apartment complexes.
So one night, I dressed relatively nicely so people would open the door and at least listen to my pitch about why they needed a Fort Worth Star Telegram. I dressed somewhere in between Jehovah’s Witness and possible Kirby Salesperson, so presentable, but not PLEASE ROB ME I AM WEARING DIAMONDS. I had a decent leather briefcase to hold the paperwork and any checks collected.
It was during the time of year it got dark early. As I was making my way through the parking lot, I came across a drunk who started hitting on me and asking about my briefcase. I was polite and firm and kept on my way (this was WAY before cell phones). Anyway, about an hour later, as I was making my way to the next building the guy came out of nowhere for me and used…
A rear choke.
I didn’t even have to think. It was as if I moved of my own accord. I broke the choke, threw the guy and then. . . .beat the SNOT out of him with the very briefcase he was trying to steal. Within two minutes, my small amount of training tuned this 6 foot 3 drunk from predator to prey.
Because I was chasing him to get in another hit (at 5’3″ and 110 pounds). . .
The rabbit and the snake again 😀 .
When I called the cops and they asked for a description, all I could recall was tall white male, drunk, and probably had an impression of my briefcase in his face.
But how badly could that have gone had I not drilled what to do in case of that attack over and over and over? If I had never felt the sensation of being choked? If I’d panicked?
I’ve been in martial arts enough years to witness the kinds of people who sign up (and I’m mainly referring to females here). Two kinds of females take martial arts—those who’ve never been attacked and those who don’t want it to happen ever again.
Prevention is always preferable. Those first seconds of a potential attack are the most critical. So drill for tornadoes and drill for fire escape, and rehearse for what to do in the event of a plane crash, but the odds of us being attacked by another PERSON are far higher than being in a fire, a tornado or a plane crash.
In my opinion, one of the BEST gifts for that high school graduate is a class in BJJ. Bring the kids. Spend a summer together learning and training together. But above all?
Stay smart, stay calm and stay safe 😉 .