Is BJJ Effective in a Street Fight? – Top 10 Pros & Cons to Consider!

Street fights are a reality for many people. You never know when you might find yourself in the middle of one, and it’s important to be prepared. Some people think that BJJ is not an effective martial art for self-defense in a street fight. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of training BJJ for that situation.

On the pro side, BJJ is effective in a street fight because it allows you to control your opponent. You can use joint locks and chokes to subdue your attacker and gain control. Additionally, BJJ offers a lot of grappling techniques that can be used effectively even in a small or crowded area. These techniques can help you take down your opponent and put him to sleep without causing serious injuries. Joe Rogan seems to agree with these points:

On the con side, many people think that they can just jump in and start using Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques without much training or experience and win a fight. This is not usually the case. In order to be effective in a street fight, you need to do an ample amount of sparring/rolling first.

BJJ is not very effective against multiple attackers. Because the goal is to get the opponent on the ground, it can be difficult to run away from the situation. For example, if their friends showed up and you needed to move quickly. This is the advantage of striking/kicking arts like boxing and kickboxing that teach you how to move and dodge blows from multiple directions while standing.

But that’s just some preliminary information. Here is a more detailed analysis of how effective BJJ is in a street fight or a self-defense situation:


1. Skill trumps strength and size

Perhaps the main benefit of BJJ for self defense is that you can defend against larger opponents. You can use joint locks and chokes to control your opponent and take them down.

Therefore, the smaller person can win by using proper technique. BJJ is the perfect art for defeating a larger opponent. This is because it does not rely on size and strength as much as other martial arts like boxing or Muay Thai.

Having said that, a bigger opponent is at a natural advantage because they can smash and snap onto the smaller opponent before they even have the chance to get them into a delicate situation. In any case, whether you’re big or small, BJJ will improve your fighting chances against opponents of all sizes.

To illustrate the point, here is a BJJ match with a 100 lbs difference between the fighters:

2. You don’t have to cause serious injury to win

With fighting systems that rely on striking and kicking, such as boxing and kickboxing, you are aiming to do a lot of physical damage to defeat your opponent. This can be a bad idea in a street fight. You may end up hurting or even killing your attacker, and you will most likely end up in jail if that happens.

BJJ offers a much safer way to neutralize an attacker. You can use joint locks and chokes to take them down without doing any serious damage. This is a huge benefit if you are looking for self-defense that won’t make you look like the bad guy at the end.

3. Improves ground fighting skills

In a street fight, the chances are good that you will end up on the ground at some point. This could be because you were knocked down or because you were tackled by your attacker.

If this happens, you will need to know how to defend yourself from an opponent who is now on top of you. BJJ is perfect for this situation. The art offers a wide range of techniques for defending yourself from someone who is on top of you. These techniques can help you get back to your feet and gain the advantage in the fight.

4. Improves strength and endurance

All martial arts will improve your fitness, and BJJ is no exception. The art requires a lot of stamina and strength, as you will be using your entire body to execute techniques. In addition, BJJ will help improve your flexibility. This is because the art involves a lot of stretching and movement.

If you are looking for a martial art that will help improve your fitness, BJJ is a good option. It goes without saying that your overall fitness would play an important role in a street fight so even if we take out the mightily useful techniques out of the equation, BJJ training would make you a force to be reckoned with through strength and conditioning improvement alone.

5. It teaches you how to defend against submissions

One of the main benefits of training BJJ is that you will learn how to defend against submissions. Submission defense is a very important skill to have, as many street fights end up in a grappling situation on the ground.

In addition, learning how to submit your opponent can be very advantageous in a street fight. You may be able to use a submission to end the fight quickly and without too much injury to either fighter.

Many martial arts seriously neglect ground game, so if you end up falling on the ground against a skilled ground fighter it’s game over. Even if you don’t make BJJ your main fighting style, you should learn some moves to avoid disaster.

6. Develops a self-defense mentality rooted in confidence

BJJ is very elegant and strategic, which is why it’s sometimes compared to chess. The larger person is not necessarily at an advantage because it’s more about outsmarting the opponent.

This is why when you are a capable BJJ fighter, you will not be too worried about being attacked by someone who is larger than you. It’s a great confidence when you know that you could put an attacker that has 50lbs on you in a choke hold and make him tap out, because you got ground game and they don’t.

7. It involves a lot of sparring

The last point is that BJJ involves a lot of sparring. This is important, because it prepares you for a real fight. When you are sparring, you are not just practicing techniques. You are also trying to figure out your opponent’s weaknesses and how to exploit them. In addition, you are learning how to defend against different techniques. But unlike striking fighting systems BJJ (and Judo) are much safer in this regard as no striking and kicking is involved.

Many martial arts don’t include sparring/rolling in their curriculum. This makes them quite ineffective in street fights, as you won’t be prepared for a takedown or getting hit. This is especially a problem with traditional martial arts like Kung Fu, Wing Chun and Aikido.


1. BJJ is not very effective against multiple assailants

BJJ is great for defeating a single opponent, but it is not as good against multiple opponents. This is because it’s a ground-based martial art. If you are faced with multiple opponents, it will be hard to use BJJ techniques to defend yourself. The extra attackers will lay boots on you easily.

Therefore, if you are up against multiple attackers, it may be better to know a different fighting system such as boxing and Muay Thai to deal with the situation. These martial arts are based on fighting in the standing position and being able to move fast. If you’re on your feet, you can escape a dangerous situation more easily, and you can dodge strikes and kicks more easily as well.

2. It takes a long time to become good at BJJ

This is because the art is very complex and it takes a lot of practice to master the techniques. If you are looking for self-defense in a real world situation, you may not have time to learn all the techniques of BJJ. You will need to train for about five years or more to become proficient in the art to a point where you feel comfortable using it against a potentially dangerous and unpredictable opponent outside of a safe training environment.

In comparison, self defense systems like Krav Maga and Systema provide some excellent dirty tricks that you can use in a street fight almost immediately. Often, the instructors will also teach you basic BJJ techniques that you can use to defend on the ground as well.

3. Rolling is not for everyone

While many people enjoy BJJ, there are also those who don’t. You should train a martial art that you enjoy enough to make steady progress. The main reason why some people don’t enjoy BJJ is because it’s very strategic and… well, sweaty. There’s a lot of rolling and grappling on the floor, with sweaty trainees touching each other’s sensitive bodily areas. Personally, this activity is not my cup of tea, but it’s an unavoidable process of learning ground fighting.

In comparison, martial arts like Tae Kwon Do and Karate are easier to learn. They can offer good self-defense benefits in a shorter amount of time without the overt intimacy, since there’s very little ground fighting in these arts.


Overall, BJJ is an effective martial art for self-defense in a street fight. If you know how to use it properly, it can help you gain control of the situation and come out on top without causing serious injury to your opponent.

Peter Jerome

A seasoned MMA practitioner and an intermediate in BJJ and Krav Maga. When I'm not knocking heads with someone in a dojo, I like chilling out with my girlfriend and our adorable pug Betsy.

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