Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Women’s Self Defense

BJJ and Womens Self Defense
One of the reasons I became so interested in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) was because of how powerful it can be.  It emphasizes technique and leverage to neutralize an opponents size and strength.  These techniques can be especially important for women.
Just last week there was a story about a woman who successfully fended off a sexual assault by utilizing standard BJJ techniques.  She held onto the choke long enough to render him unconscious so that she could free herself and seek help, all while he was between her legs.

The woman, who cannot be named, told the jury that when Willis first got on top of her he told her: “Be quiet and do as I tell you and you won’t get hurt.”

She added: “I swore at him. I think I said something like ‘go f*** yourself.’ He hit me again in the face. He was grabbing at my clothing.”

She said she tried to apply an armlock, which would have broken his arm or caused him a lot of pain.

“The intention is to send the elbow in the wrong direction and cause extreme pain or a break,” the woman said. “I was not able to do that. I think he figured out what I was trying to do because he managed to wriggle free and he hit me again repeatedly in the face.

“I was stunned for a moment. Again I could feel him grabbing between my legs and pulling at my clothes. My legs were still free so I lifted my left leg up onto his shoulder and around the back of his neck. I crossed my right leg over and squeezed together as hard as I could.

“He seemed to struggle for air – which was the point! His head was locked down. He lifted his right hand and literally pounded as hard as he could on the side of my face.

“I closed my eyes and held it for as long as I could hoping he would pass out in a few seconds. Then I felt his body go limp. I thought he had lost consciousness or run out of air. I flipped him off, rolled over and crawled through the bushes to the door of the house. I could hear footsteps as he ran away and then a car starting.”

From this terrifying description, it sounds like she attempted to perform an ‘armbar’ and transitioned into a ‘triangle choke,’ which are both techniques that are practiced almost everyday in my BJJ gym.  In fact these are both techniques that the BJJ Cavewife has been working on in the past few weeks which she learned in her women’s only BJJ class.  She’s actually getting quite good at these and enjoys practicing on me when we get home.
After reading this I’m glad she’s taken an interest in BJJ and is passionate about learning more.  While I hope she’ll never have to use this in a real world setting, I know that if it ever happens she’ll be more prepared than someone who’s never trained.
For a great analysis of this story and demonstration of the applicability of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for women’s self defense, watch this video put out by Rener Gracie and his pregnant wife, Eve Gracie.

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