Sport jiu-jitsu, especially in no-gi, is at a high pace. In a self-defense situation, the speed in which something escalates is what surprises people. A dedicated jiu-jitsu practioner is able to think one-two-three steps ahead in a split second. The speed encountered in sport jiu-jitsu is realistic for real-world confrontations. However, the best approach in a self-defense situation is always to de-escalate; if that is not possible, the speed of sport jiu-jitsu is both an effective offense and defense.
Sport jiu-jitsu offers resistance on a consistent basis on two fronts: from teammates in the gym and from competitors in tournaments. Both offer real resistance. Teammates tend to become familiar over time so a practioner may be adept at dealing with their resistance and techniques, but competition offers new resistance dynamics from a new slew of opponents. This all lends itself to learning how to break down an opponent who is 100-percent, fully resistant as one would encounter in a self-defense situation.
What is effective about self-defense jiu-jitsu is also true for sport jiu-jitsu—doing one move or sequence well may be all one needs to defeat an adversary. The basics never go out of style and the element of surprise is also a winning formula. Both are achieved through repetition. Drilling is how skills are developed. Doing a movement step-by-step, in a slow fashion, forms the muscle memory necessary to perform at full speed and against full resistance. Repetition is a cornerstone of mastery – an advantage in a self-defense situation.
The resistance encountered, speed at which everything is contested, and repetition necessary to succeed in a sport jiu-jitsu environment leads to comfort in a chaotic environment. To excel in sport jiu-jitsu, a competitor must embrace being in uncomfortable situations, focusing on shoring up their deficiencies. The unpredictable environment that unfolds in a self-defense situation can be diffused by executing a strategy. Sport jiu-jitsu develops a web of thinking that adapts to each new situation or environment with a strategic approach on how to defend oneself, escape or attack, depending on what’s best practice.
The pillar of any worthwhile strategy is control. Sport jiu-jitsu may allow a practioner to turn an unpredictable environment into a known situation in which one is in total control. The best course of action for self-defense after de-escalation is control. The aforementioned traits a sport jiu-jitsu practioner possesses create control, which can subdue an opponent without damage, or isolate their limbs or neck to damage or put them to sleep if necessary.
To be successful against teammates or jiu-jitsu competitors, odds are a person escalating a situation to force a self-defense scenario does not have the ability to control their movements at the skill level of a trained sport jiu-jitsu practioner. Also, the breath control and cardio shape, and strength of a sport jiu-jitsu practioner is an advantage over the short span in which self-defense confrontations usually occur.