Who is More Badass?

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An interesting short piece from Roberto Pedreira here at Global Training Report.

While there its definitely some room for debate, the general gist – that modern martial arts aren’t combatives – and that modern jiujitsu has less and less in common with its predecessors that were combatives, is properly conveyed. The move away from this started long before BJJ though.


  1. Are their recorded examples of “the old style of jiu-jitsu that military and police etc., learned long ago” actually being applied against competent opponents (say, in an MMA context for example)?

    “Any of the newer martial arts, including and especially BJJ, which currently is as useless is it gets” Apparently Roberto doesn’t have access to YouTube.


    • I think that has to be taken with an understanding of the nuances… I think he means that it is useless in the military or police contexts. In many ways this is correct.

      The old school police and military jujutsu wouldn’t be applied against opponents in an MMA context – it isn’t intended for it. To turn it on its head, those skills often made use of weapons. So, to be fair, and to keep it contextual, they would use a metal rod or a short sword against the MMA fighter…. and again we are back to the context being different.

      BJJ as a whole. conducted as it is in jiujitsu academies, is not suited to a tactical arrest or violent ambush situation. If I address a known armed, violent career criminal, and he is somewhat compliant, he’d be ordered to prone at gunpoint, I’d approach and take him into custody, by controlling his arms while still being wary that he could be trying to sucker me or go for a weapon while I am in contact, I am not going to take his back, set hooks, and try to strangle him. I’m not going to try a triangle or drop-back juji if a struggle starts. I use top control, knee rides, striking, and arm control to cuffing that is near indistinguishable from classical jiujitsu.

      If he ambushed me and tries to take me down more grappling would come out – you’d see more crossover with MMA and grappling – jiujitsu adapts to the context. But we can’t miscontrue one context for the other, as is the case when we compare competition usage to make points about real world violence.

      Were I to go in to arrest an MMA fighter or jiujitsuka or other combat athlete today, I would use tactics, skills, weapons, authority, surprise, and psychological elements that are completely outside the realm of an MMA fight or jiujitsu match. The whole idea is to keep it from being a fair fight, or anything even approaching a “street fight.” In the old days, if the tables were turned and it looked like it could turn into a street fight or equal encounter, the immediate transition would be to lethal force. That was what was trained, and it’s something we actually still see today when police fail to control close quarters encounters.

      This was the foundation of the old style of jiujitsu for police or military.

      In too many Youtube videos, essentially we see unarmed duels where two people agree to engage each other and it turns into what is essentially an unsanctioned grappling or MMA match. This is a “street fight.” This is what jiujitsu later became – and what led to the founding of Judo and ultimately, the development of BJJ through the same stream.

      Wrestling, Judo, BJJ, etc. basically in that order, are force multipliers for the older stuff or the modern tactical applications. Applying the same body, and some of the same techniques, in different contexts. From that perspective to say any of them is useless is painting with too broad a brush.


      • “I am not going to take his back, set hooks, and try to strangle him. I’m not going to try a triangle or drop-back juji if a struggle starts. I use top control, knee rides, striking” This is exactly old school BJJ, from strategy to technique.

        My problem with the premise of the article is that the author conflates sport BJJ with the strategies and techniques advocated by BJJ for non-sportive use, which apparently is the premise of his piece. I am most likely guilty of the same conflation with “old style” Jujitsu in that I most commonly associate it with standing wrist locks and arm bars that are have the lowest percentage success rate of any type of standing technique (although I realize these types of techniques are probably more applicable to “passive resisters”).

        I recently posted this video of a police officer demonstrating the type of takedown he found most successful on the job. It’s a staple of BJJ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZtNQr-pDgQ&fbclid=IwAR1ycfeHOa9NBRQhvFURGmeGAgVagQkD01U_6dDeAHcGNGLW1vstpsMLVFU&app=desktop


  2. Ahh – Can of Worms opened, Tim….

    I have done a number of straight arm bar takedowns over the years and found them often effective. I have 22 years on the job, almost all of it on the road. Perhaps his sample size was too small… or he wasn’t doing them correctly.

    I could end with that, but that would be a facile response…

    The point is it all depends on the circumstances. In the video he is showing, no, the straight armbar would not work. it doesn’t mean it *doesn’t EVER work,* or won’t under other circumstances – besides with the suspect being a 13 year old girl.

    We need to think more critically rather than just being critical…

    The takedown he show is excellent, high percentage *in that scenario* (resistive but not combative) and also allows for control of the speed and force with which the suspect hits the ground. He doesn’t drop his own body to the ground prior to taking the suspect down, even keeping his knees off the ground. He stays on top. This is a staple in my own approach to combative takedowns.

    *Always* going to that side is a luxury, regardless of it being the gun side. What if he can’t go to that side based on the terrain or circumstance? Ah. more worms….

    It’s actually fairly easily accomplished to ratchet around to the back from that off side position. For average officers, though, the caution makes sense. We just need another technique for when the “right” side isn’t available.


    And an optimized tani-otoshi variant:

    Contrast this with many BJJ options for takedowns that do get taught to officers: Drop knee doubles, tani otoshi where the officer lays down on the ground pulling the suspect over them before rolling back on top, Uki-waza trying to pull the subject forward as opposed to gaining real kuzushi…I’ve literally watched a police defensive tactics instructor with many years experience teach a somersault knee bar takedown to officers……

    The key difference here is in assuming jiujitsu is for combative purposes versus using elements of jiujitsu for them. The most important element for success is training against an opposing will, with opposed physical and mental dynamics. BJJ and other combat sports offer that and develop attributes for those situations. Those elements have largely been deleted from the old style combative martial arts making them little more than role playing. But the scenarios and circumstances and parameters in which we intend to use those attributes can range from startlingly similar to radically different. \

    And we have to be able to tell the difference, in the moment.


  3. Ahhh – forgot to add: at the end he points out that the takedown “probably wouldn’t play well in a BJJ tournament…”

    Why? Because the context is different and people are doing different things. He recognizes it, and that cuts both ways.


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