self-defence Jocko Willink.

Ex Navy SEAL Ranks BJJ as the Second Best Martial Art for Self Defence, After…

For Self Defence, If you know anything about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you’re wondering right now: “What could be better?”


And we’ll get to that answer in a bit.


But first, why is BJJ so effective?


If you ever end up in a street fight or a situation where you have no other option but to defend yourself, it is unlikely that you will be facing a trained opponent.


More likely, you will be up against an angry, possibly on drugs, dude hell bent on taking your head off. He will be swinging wild haymakers and you will quickly end up in a clinch, from where you’re likely to get tackled to the ground.


Here comes the problem with most martial arts: they have no idea of what to do once the fight hits the floor.


Arts like boxing and Muay Thai are very good at stand-up fighting, but even a good fighter can get hit, and avoiding that should be the number one priority in a street fight.


Other martial arts like Judo and wrestling are great for taking someone to the ground, but generally don’t offer much to do to control the opponent once you are there, and very few techniques you can do off your back and against a bigger, stronger opponent.


Well, that is exactly what Jiu Jitsu specializes in.


Now let’s go back to the start.

self defence attacker keswick ontario.

The Navy SEALs choice of martial art


The Navy SEAL I mentioned before is Jocko Willink – a former Navy SEAL who served alongside Chris Kyle and Michael Monsoor in Task Unit Bruiser, earning the Silver Star and Bronze Star for heroism and a host of a great podcast. In other words, when the guy talks, listen up.


When he was asked about self defence, his answer was surprising.


“First and foremost, if you’re talking about true self defence to protect yourself against from other evil human beings in the world, it’s a gun, and it’s concealed carry. That is what you should train to do, you should go to the range and you should get a gun, and if you are in situations where you need to protect yourself, that is how you protect yourself against people. Because other people have guns, they have knives, they’re psychotic, they’re on drugs and if you want to protect yourself, that is how you do it. Period. That trumps everything else.”


He is right, but we have to ask ourselves a basic question: how likely are we to get in a situation where we need a gun?


The answer for most of us is: never. We live in a relatively safe world and a brawl at a local pub can be hardly considered a life-threatening situation.


But Jocko goes on through his list of martial arts that he thinks are the best to learn for self defenc-/



As for the best martial art, Jaco explains that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the best as it allows you to completely control and dominate someone more than any other. The submissions of BJJ also allow someone to finish a confrontation fast and the most effective against all attackers which is ideal in Self Defence. For example, many attackers may be much larger, on drugs or be able to take a punch to the head while BJJ has techniques that will cut off the blood flow to the brain; which works on everyone.

self defence jocko willink jiu-jitsu bjj.

The second on his list is boxing or, as he puts it so eloquently, punching people in the head. This is where you learn how to give and take a punch, how to control distance and how to stay safe standing up.


Next up he recommends Muay Thai, where you master the intricacies of the clinch and kicks.


Then, it’s time to learn wrestling to become better at takedowns and defending them.


If you combine all of that, what do you get?




Mixed martial arts are the ultimate proving ground for what works in a real fight – or as close as we can get.


Barring the few illegal attacks that would cause permanent damage to the fighter or are considered unsportsmanlike, everything goes and we’d be well advised to take heed of the lessons distilled from the thousands of fights we’ve seen so far.


The deeper lesson


But the most important insight from Jocko comes at the end.


He narrates a story of how he beat another SEAL with 20 years of traditional martial arts experience, who was bigger than him, when he only had a year of Jiu Jitsu under his belt.


Although the traditional martial artist lost, he mentioned something that stuck with Willink.


In an effort to “preserve some dignity” for his martial art, he said that his art taught him discipline and humility.


A young guy then, Jocko didn’t think about it much, as long as he was able to beat him.


But it stuck with him and he realized that traditional martial arts don’t have a monopoly on developing those qualities.

When you start training BJJ as a white belt, you better be prepared to take a lesson in humility. Because everyone, even those smaller, weaker and older than you, will be able to beat you handily on a regular basis. And the same goes for any real martial art. You will learn humility.


And you will learn discipline. It takes discipline to get on the mat day after day, week after week, year after year. Very few people who start out as white belts make it to the black belt, because that black belt signifies thousands of hours spent in training. It often takes 10 years of regular training to get there, and that is why it is so highly regarded: you know that someone who has earned one is legit.


The best self defence


Ultimately, the best self defence is confidence.


Bullies prey on the weak. By training BJJ, your confidence will grow and you will walk around with the sense that you can handle yourself (and the regular beatings you will receive from those better than you will help keep your ego in check).


Discipline, humility and confidence all are closely connected and make one into a human being others can strive to become – and Jiu Jitsu can be a path to get there.


But, knowing that your martial art is thought of as the best by Navy SEALs is pretty cool too.



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