Self Defense/Is BJJ really the


QUESTION: One of the cliches about MMA is that BJJ is the BEST art for beating a bigger opponent. That with BJJ you don't need a singe ounce of strength to beat an 8 feet tall muscular bodybuilder. Hell I even seen people state once you learned BJ techniques, you don't even have to practise!

Whats the truth? Is this all marketing?


That's adorable.

First off: BJJ and it's hybrid offspring MMA are the two most muscle intensive sports fighting systems I know of.

Second: ANY system with weight classes is a sport

Third: Any sports system with weight classifications has lost the components of being 'giant killers.' Or midget slayers.  See you fight guys bigger than you differently than you do guys the same size. But you also have to fight smaller guys differently than those two. Most of what is being taught as sports fighting is same age, same size and same skill level.

(In Junior High school, my brother was on the wrestling team. He was also bigger than me. He and I fought. So I got used to going to the ground with bigger people. When I was in JHS, wrestling was part of PE. On the mat, I could kick the asses of everyone in my class EXCEPT Manuel Alanzo. A kid smaller than me with four older brothers. Like me Manuel had learned specific moves to be a giant slayer. I on the other hand fell into Manuel's definition of 'bigger.')

Fourth, unless the instructor SPECIFICALLY teaches giant/midget slaying techniques as additional to the standard same size/same age/same experience sports curriculum no system 'automatically' teaches you how to do it.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: "Train as if you are an old man because one day you will be."-Helios Gracie

From your website.

I seen that in every BJJ marketing I seen. Which gyms and schools always USE as proof of how BJJ is used to easily defeat stronger larger men with minimal output and minimal physical conditioning.

Thats why I asked this question. Because yourself quoted it a few times. Is this line misinterpreted? Is what BJJ schools and MMA gyms quoting this is twisting it for marketing purposes?

No Helio Gracie is supposed to have said that. And even if he didn't, it's a sentiment that I REALLY agree with.

I posted my response to you elsewhere and a guy - obviously a BJJ guy himself - did a whole spiel about how the smallest and weakest member of the family was put into the UFC ring (which they organized) to prove how good it is for small people.

Then someone pointed out that Royce Gracie is 6'1

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against groundwork or grappling. In fact, I'll be the first to admit that BJJ works straight out of the box...
in certain circumstances...
for specific goals ...
in certain types of violence...
it is GRRRREEEEEEat tool.

It's just a little more complicated than just marketing

While we're at it the Gracies are very much responsible for the marketing lie that 90% of all fights go to the ground. This they claim was backed up by a Los Angeles Police Department study.

Well except that I was on the citizen's advisory panel for use of force for the LAPD with the Gracies and I knew Sgt Greg Dossey (the guy who did the study). And NO the study did not come anywhere close to that finding.  It did however, find that under 50% of incidents where someone resisted arrest someone ended up on the ground. Was this the perp down, cop up? Cop down, perp up? Or both of them down?

Most were perp down, cop up. But, if I remember right, about 20% of incidents were both ended up on the ground. This was significant enough statistics to warrant massive training policy change (a much needed change)to include BJJ in arrest and control.

20% is a LONG way from 90%, but the Gracies were really, really smart. They said it all the time, but they never put it in writing and were never filmed saying it -- especially them saying it came from the cops. That way they could claim that it wasn't them saying it, but their students 'misinterpreting' what they said.

So yeah, ground skills are important, make no mistake about that, but before you risk your life using it at the wrong time, know when the right time is to use it.

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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