Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of the most beautiful and effective martial arts. It can make quick work of belligerent street fighters and it has become such a staple of the mixed martial arts world that no fighter would dare step in the cage unless he had at least a rudimentary knowledge of it.
But that doesn’t mean BJJ fighters should ignore other martial arts. Many of these fighting styles are a treasure trove of effective techniques that can complement a jiujiteiro’s skills and improve her self-defense.
There are no doubt many valid reasons to limit yourself to one martial art at a time – work and family just to name a few – but if your schedule allows it, you should embrace the open-mindedness that many in the jiu-jitsu community have promoted and learn other martial arts along with BJJ.
Here are two reasons why.
They can make you a better competitor
Most jiu-jitsu schools do not offer much stand-up training. In fact, some estimates state a jiujiteiro will only be on his feet ten percent of the time.
It may therefore be a good idea to find a good judo school or wrestling academy to improve your stand-up attacks and defenses.
Having superior throwing and takedown abilities puts you at an immediate advantage in competitions. It allows you to score points for takedowns and gain advantageous top positions that not only score you even more points, but force your opponent to carry your weight while you hunt for an armbar.
Finally, a solid foundation in judo and wrestling frees you from a dependence on guard pulling, sparing you point deductions in certain jiu-jitsu competitions.
They can improve your self-defense
Brazilian jiu-jitsu would be the perfect martial art for self-defense . . . that is, if we were all nice enough to fight each other one-on-one and without weapons.
But that’s just not always how fights happen. Broken bottles, knives, razors, and other sharp objects frequently find their way into street fights. When they do, you may want to leave your guard jumping skills at your respective branch of Gracie Barra.
Street fights also often involve multiple attackers, meaning the last thing you’re going to want to do is roll around with your opponent and leave yourself open to a barrage of stomps and kicks from his friend.
In these situtations, you’re going to want a martial art that allows you to keep your distance, and it is here that striking arts hold an advantage over their grappling counterparts.
Muay Thai, kickboxing, and certain styles of karate allow you to attack your opponents from a distance, keeping your vital organs safe and putting a gap between you and your attackers.
Keeping a distance between yourself and your opponents also makes it easier to run away, something you should almost always do if the opportunity arises.
To sum up, BJJ may be an effective art, but it has its limits. Other grappling styles such as wrestling and judo coupled with striking arts such as Muay Thai help you move beyond these limits. Besides being beautiful in and of themselves, these arts will complement your jiu-jitsu both on and off the mats, making you a danger to whomever crosses you.
While most of us may not have time to venture out into the world beyond BJJ, those of us who can, should.