The Problems with BJJ.

Or, the problems with how I train BJJ.

Just so you know I’ve not moved from one form of brainwashing to another.

BJJ’s obvious, glaring hole is its lack of standup.

This is true of most schools.

Not only does the martial art as a whole not contain a single strike, but to make matters worse, most of us suck at transitioning from standing to the ground.

We get lazy in our classes and we start from our knees. This is bad. Thank the universe that we still start standing in competitions, otherwise we would never practice our takedowns!

I’m fairly sure that there are old-school BJJ fighters in places like Brazil who consider BJJ a complete martial art and train it so. They have the takedowns, the tactics for evading a striker’s arsenal and getting them to the ground.

But it’s a factor sorely missing from most BJJ schools.

This was drummed home recently to me when I met a guy who trains some MMA with a group from his gym. As martial artists do, we decided that we will meet up for a roll / spar. Instantly, the gaping hole in my game where the words “wrestling skill” and “striking skill” should be, hit home.

He trains, he says, mostly with kickboxers and wrestlers.

Kickboxers and wrestlers.

Me: “Hi guys! Can we start on our knees please? And no striking! BJJ is the best art in the world!”

Them: “Now you will die… by my hand!” (badly dubbed.)


What’s more, years of wing chun training has actually atrophied my leg muscles. I have the most pathetic squat in the world and my takedowns suffer because for so many years I strived not to use muscle. Now, I don’t have any bloody muscle to use even if I wanted to. Thanks for nothing, _ing __un!

So, BJJ’s general lack of standup skill and no striking has been addressed.

Next up, grappling.

BJJ is not the be all and end all of grappling. (Vast generalisations ahoy!)

Samboists have better leglocks.

Judoists have better throws.

Wrestlers have, obviously, better wrestling.

Catch wrestlers have more nasty submissions involving tender body parts.

Submission wrestlers have the whole thing going on with the board shorts and the lycra tops.

And let’s not forget the long list of moves that are illegal in competitions that are definitely legal on “TEH STREEIT1234” (actually, no… they are also illegal on the street—wow! Next time a chunner says to you “Eye-gouging, biting and attacking the groin are illegal in Pride… not like on the STREET!” You can say that actually, those things are pretty much illegal activities anywhere.) and in other martial arts tournaments. Cervical locks, twisting leg locks, spine locks, small joint manipulations, etc.

Nyah, that’s enough for now.

See! No brainwashing here! BJJ is just another tool in the toolbox…

3 Responses


  2. As-salaamu alaykum, afendi, Helio smile upon you.

    I fear the taint of the heathen strike is upon you. I question your analogy of BJJ as a tool in a toolbox.

    BJJ is more like the flaming sword blessed by the hands of Helio himself, sent to cleanse those who would shun the loving Earth and elevate themselves above their fellow men. Choke them all; Helio has room in his guard for all!

  3. Don’t tell anyone in the BJJ world what I said, okay? They can be very cliquey you know, and I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t part of the Cool Gang™ anymore.

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