One of the most controversial topics within the BJJ world: what should be the focus when training BJJ, Self DefenSe or Sports BJJ?

Many practitioners started Brazilian JHiu Jitsu at Gracie Sydney so because they wanted to learn a self-defense system. But while Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a great defensive martial art, there is also an enormous benefit for practicing it on a score-based system.

Early in the 90s, Jiu-Jitsu started getting popular and people began training for the sport because of MMA tournaments! This has flowed on to today, where elite tournaments are held all around the world and winners are widely championed.


In short, Jiu-jitsu has become more about competition. Is this a bad thing?


Those who criticize sports Jiu-jitsu say that many of these techniques either don’t work in real life or are counterproductive to safety.  This line of thinking is espoused by many in the older generation, who learned Jiu-jitsu when it was conceived as a self-defense system. 

However, the question of whether sports BJJ is good or bad depends on the practitioner. Sport BJJ teaches techniques that may not be applicable in real life, but it also accords benefits that are directly applicable. 

Not only will this process teach you the positive attitude and dedication required to learn a complex skill, this insight directly translates to self-defense. In a real-life fight, small details can be the difference between a scuffle and a serious injury, for instance.

Finally, actual competitions. Competing isn’t mandatory in Jiu-jitsu, and you may think it’s not worth doing if your primary interest is safety. However, in many ways competition mirrors a real-life situation. Sparring usually can’t replicate the anxiety and adrenaline rush associated with the competition.  


Do training positions for sports jiu-jitsu rules prepare a jiu-jitsu student for real-life self-defense situations?


There ARE specific self-defense techniques that are important for all students of jiu-jitsu to learn, especially early in the GB Fundamentals program. 

Although there is less emphasis on self-defense in this type of training, the skills that students develop by sparring with sports positions are transferable to street situations.

Gracie Sydney offers both competition training and self-defense Jiu-jitsu, for men, women, and children.