Years ago, I saw Royce Gracie using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to defeat much larger and stronger opponents using very little striking and I was amazed! I decided at that moment that I was going to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The more I trained in BJJ and the more I learned the art, the more I loved it. The complexity, the strategy, and the training itself were all amazing to me. The more I learned, the more my confidence grewand of course that was justified. I was becoming proficient in BJJ and fighting on the ground was not only comfortable for me it was where I wanted to fight.
While most fights do end up on the ground, they all start on your feet. Not only do they start on their feet, but they usually start with your opponent or attacker initiating some sort of punch, kick, or strike. Jiu-Jitsu has some techniques to defend against these strikes, but it’s just not enough.
I love BJJ, but it is incomplete as a martial art! If it wasn’t, BJJ blackbelts would not train in the striking arts to fight in mixed martial arts competitions. If you are at an academy that only offers Jiu-Jitsu that is fine, and you are learning a great martial art and an effective means of defense. But why not add to your game and your efficacy by adding the striking arts to your arsenal and become even more dangerous?
I spent years working on my BJJ as the martial arts world changed. The grapplers learned to strike, and the strikers learned to grapple, and Mixed Martial Arts was officially born! Now you need to know it all if you are going to be and effective martial artist.
1. Muay Thai and boxing complement each other, and you NEED to add them to your BJJ to be the most effective martial artist
Muay Thai is my second favorite combat art, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu being my first. I love Muay Thai so much that I have traveled to Thailand several times to train, and I will always keep going back to improve my skills. The country is beautiful, the people are great, and the Muay Thai training is second to none.
In my opinion, Muay Thai itself is the most effective of the striking arts. The kicks are powerful, the clinch fighting is technical, and the knees and elbows are devastating. However, to become more dangerous in this striking art, you need to add the hands, head movement and footwork of Western Boxing.
Because of the way that Thai fighters compete, punches and head movement are less important than the other strikes. In Western Boxing proper head movement combined with excellent footwork will allow you to land your punches and avoid those aimed at you.
Add Boxing to your Muay Thai or better yet, add them both to your BJJ and you will be able to handle yourself effectively when the time comes.
2. A great grappler still needs to get past an opponent’s punches and kicks
Because of the use of leverage and technique, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the most effective martial art and the most likely way to control and defeat a larger and stronger opponent. But regardless how great your BJJ is, you still need to get past your opponent’s punches and kicks.
Learning Boxing and Muay Thai will help you understand how to stand, position your body, and move. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu does incorporate some punch and kick defense into the art, but most assume that you will be able to block the attack and secure the clinch or takedown when the first strike is thrown.
Knowing how to use punches, kicks, knees, and elbows is critical and an aspect that is secondary in BJJ. Therefore, it is important to add these striking arts to your Jiu-Jitsu game. This is true even if you just want to get to the ground and use your BJJ.
3. Fitness and cardio
I was already a black belt when I went to train in Thailand for the first time over 10 years ago. I was fit, in shape, and I could train BJJ for an hour plus. When I got to Thailand I started to get winded a lot faster than I thought. I was moving in different ways and activating different muscles than I had when I was training in Jiu-Jitsu.
I noticed that moving my body in this way required different strength and conditioning. Conditioning yourself in this way could mean all the difference in a combat situation. Afterall, you never know where a fight will end up, but you do know where it will start.
I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I believe that, beyond the shadow of a doubt, it is the most effective martial art. However, I am a better martial artist and far more effective because I can Box and use Muay Thai! You will be as well!
See you on the mats!
The short answer is – NO! While that may seem like common sense, it is not always that simple for martial arts students. During