Last night I did an hour-long seminar on self defense with Rhalan Gracie, Relson's son and a new blackbelt. It was awesome. He's a very good instructor, and it helps that I have a completely different perspective on self defense as compared with when I was new to jiu jitsu.
Then, I thought I would never need to worry about bar fights and being jumped in an alley. (I still think that if I am in a bar fight, I have obviously made many mistakes.) But now, no matter how unlikely I think this bar fight scenario might be, I am motivated to learn self defense for other reasons.
For one, to represent the truest expression of my art-- Helio designed this so the smaller, weaker person could SURVIVE. And by surviving, we win. As Rhalan put it last night-- this is for worst-case scenarios. Not the 50/50 where you're both standing, both ready and aware that it's about to be a fight, where you could (and maybe should) just run away to avoid the confrontation. No, it's about the 80/20, where there's an 80% chance he's going to beat your face in because he took you unawares, hit the back of your head, stunned you, and you're on the ground, mounted... and there's only a 20% chance you'll get up without teeth being knocked out of your head.
For another, because I really would like to be able to teach this someday, and how can you teach "just" sport jiu jitsu? How can you know that there are techniques which could save someone's life and not share them? I couldn't stand to walk around in a Gracie Jiu Jitsu tshirt and not be sure that I had a plan "just in case" some crazy girl swung at me for looking at her man. Or whatever.
So we covered blocking a haymaker punch and converting to a hip toss.. escaping mount.. escaping a two-handed choke... it was really useful stuff. And I was the dork who kept thinking to herself "Ha! This is all just ordinary jiu jitsu!" But really, except for the blocking the punches stuff, it IS just plain old jiu jitsu. Or, better-- jiu jitsu is just plain old self defense. It's about using their momentum against them and staying safe while gaining the dominant position. I love it!
FYI-- today's deal over at BJJHQ.com is an $80 Fuji summerweight gi. Go get one if you're anywhere near as hot as it is here (today's high, 101. A mere 90 now.)