Self Defense & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
All martial arts styles are forms of self-defense. Some equip practitioners with skills to defend punches and kicks, while others to help escape grabs and clinches. Striking and grappling are the two broad categories of unarmed martial arts.
The most overlooked aspect of many self-defense programs is the intensity of real combat. Many striking programs fail to address this issue for safety reasons. Full force strikes, especially repeated over time, can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, students can never truly know if techniques work in real life. Unless movements are practiced full speed against a resisting partner they are only theoretical, not practical.
As a form of self-defense, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is different. What distinguishes BJJ from striking styles is its effectiveness in the clinch (when your opponent grabs you). Because BJJ is a form of grappling which includes joint locks and choke holds, these techniques can be applied with intensity, but still allow a training partner to submit (tap out) without injury. Naturally, advanced BJJ practitioners are extremely cautious with novice students. In fact, black belts may focus an equal amount of their attention on protecting training partners.
The majority of real altercations end up on the ground and evolve into a grappling scenario. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provides students training in standing and ground fighting - both in the top and bottom positions. Many striking experts are at an enormous disadvantage when the fight moves to the ground. The striker, not having the leverage to generate substantial force for punches and kicks, would be like a man swimming with sharks- totally out of his element and helpless. The techniques and years of training would be essentially useless. Armed with BJJ you can defend yourself from almost any position.
*Demonstration of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs. Kung fu (pure striking).