Boxing or Jiu Jitsu for Self Defense?

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Boxing or Jiu Jitsu for Self Defense?

a boxer standing next to a bjj black belt

First, Let's Define Self Defense

For our purposes today, let’s define “Selfdefense” as the practice of protecting oneself from physical harm. It can involve a variety of techniques and strategies, and is most often used to protect oneself from an individual attacker or assailant, but can be extended to complex situations that involve multiple opponents.

A Brief Overview of Boxing and Jiu Jitsu

Boxing and Jiu Jitsu are two of the most popular martial arts for selfdefense, and both have their own unique strengths and benefits. Boxing is a strikingbased martial art that focuses on punches, footwork, and head movement. It is an excellent option for those looking to hone their striking skills and defensive reflexes. Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, is a grapplingbased martial art that focuses on takedowns, chokes, and joint locks. It is an ideal choice for those who wish to develop their groundfighting skills and submission techniques.

Benefits of Jiu Jitsu for Self Defense

two jiu jitsu fighters grappling

When it comes to self defense, Jiu Jitsu is king. There are two realities of violence that must be addressed. First, if your attacker is intent on doing serious damage to you, they want you on the ground. Secondly, the most dangerous situations occur when an attacker can take you to a secondary location. In both instances, grappling is the most important skill you can have to manage this situation. We will explore these ideas and more benefits of BJJ:

Develop Physical and Mental Toughness

Jiu jitsu is an excellent way to develop physical and mental toughness. Through consistent training, jiu jitsu practitioners can build strength, endurance, and agility, allowing them to better handle physical confrontations. Additionally, jiu jitsu also teaches practitioners to remain calm under pressure, which is critical when dealing with aggressive or violent opponents.

Teaches High Risk Problem Solving Under Pressure

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that focuses on grappling, ground fighting, and submission holds. One of the key benefits of training in BJJ for selfdefense is the ability to effectively solve highrisk problems under pressure. BJJ practitioners learn to stay calm and make rational decisions in stressful situations, such as defending against an attacker. Although training and competition can never prepare you 100% for an attack, the pace and pressure of a Jiu Jitsu match is invaluable.

Control the Distance, Control the Damage

As mentioned earlier, there are two safe places in a fight, too close or too far. Jiu Jitsu can get keep you too close for the attacker to do damage with strikes. By understanding the distance between you and the attacker, you can control the type of attack and the amount of damage you may incur. In a fight, grappling must be addressed. Unless you are taken completely by surprise, most people will end up tangled up on the ground. It is here that Jiu Jitsu can be used to either create space or take it away from your attacker.

The Limitations of Jiu Jitsu

The most glaring limitation of jiu jitsu is that it doesn’t incorporate strikes. Nowadays, most training facilities are heavily sport influenced. While Sport Jiu Jitsu is important for the development of the art, the techniques are typically developed in the absence of the threat of striking. Therefor, one can potentially become a black belt without ever realizing the danger they are in while executing certain techniques. If you choose BJJ, it is important to regularly integrate strikes into your training, to keep your jiu jitsu tight in the event of an attack.

Benefits of Boxing for Self Defense

a close up image of a boxer

Boxing is a great choice for those looking to learn selfdefense skills, as it can help develop strength, speed, and endurance, as well as enhance reflexes, and improve awareness of range. Here is a closer look at the benefits of boxing for selfdefense:

Develops Strength, Speed and Endurance

One of the main benefits of boxing for selfdefense is that it helps build strength, speed, and endurance. Through regular training, I have experienced increased strength and speed as I have been able to hit harder and move faster. Additionally, I have seen an improvement in my endurance through boxing and have been able to last longer during intense sparring sessions. These are all important physical attributes if you are to win a fight.

Distance Management: Too Far

In addition to developing physical strength and endurance, boxing has also helped me become more aware of range in selfdefense. There are two safe ranges in a fight, too close and too far. Boxing can teach you to stay out of range of your attacker. Through regular sparring sessions, I have learned to recognize my opponent‘s movements and adjust my distance accordingly. This has been an invaluable skill in selfdefense and has allowed me to maintain a safe distance while still being able to attack and defend effectively. Distance Management is one of the most valuable skills in a fight. If one fighter can effectively control the range at which the fight takes place, the fight will happen on their terms, not the attacker’s.

Enhanced Reflexes

In my experience training boxing, I have found that regular practice helps to improve reflexes and coordination. By developing these skills, I have been able to respond more quickly to unexpected situations and react with greater precision. This can be especially useful in a self defense situation, as it can help you to evade an attack and avoid taking a hit. The punch that knocks you out is the one you don’t see coming. Through training you can develop better reflexes, and slip the punch that might do you in.

You Are Not Made of Glass

One thing you learn while boxing is that getting punched in the face is not the end of the world. It doesn’t even hurt that badly. One of the most important skills developed in boxing is how to take a punch, and that you the defender are tougher than you think.

Delivering a Knockout Punch

Another great benefit of boxing for self defense is the ability to land a disabling knockout punch. Although it is not the most common outcome in a self defense situation, a wellplaced punch can quickly end the altercation without further harm to yourself.


a boxer and a bjj guy fighting

In conclusion, both Boxing and Jiu Jitsu offer fantastic skills that can be used in selfdefense. Here is a summary of the benefits of each:

A Summary of the Benefits of Boxing and Jiu Jitsu for Self Defense

Boxing provides a comprehensive range of striking techniques that can be used to protect oneself from attackers. The sport also teaches the practitioner to develop speed, agility, and precision, allowing them to react quickly and effectively in a selfdefense situation. More importantly, Boxing can teach you to manage the distance by being too far away. Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, is a grappling art that focuses on joint locks, chokes, and throws. These techniques can be used to control and subdue an attacker, allowing the defender to escape a dangerous situation without resorting to strikes. More importantly, Jiu Jitsu gives you the skills to deal with an attacker that is attached to you, and intent on doing you harm. With Jiu Jitsu, you can mitigate the delivery of damage by being too close to the assailant.

Why Not Both?

Ultimately, the best strategy for selfdefense is to combine both striking and grappling techniques. By learning the fundamentals of Boxing and Jiu Jitsu, practitioners can develop a comprehensive set of skills that can be used to protect themselves from potential attackers. With the right training and practice, these skills can be applied in a variety of realworld scenarios, allowing individuals to protect themselves and those around them.

If You Can Only Choose One

In conclusion, when it comes to selfdefense, both boxing and jiu jitsu have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for a more comprehensive form of selfdefense that can be used in a variety of situations, jiu jitsu is the better option. Jiu jitsu is a martial art that focuses on using leverage to overcome your opponent, allowing you to defend yourself without relying on strength or size.

Additionally, jiu jitsu offers a wide range of techniques that can be used to control and disengage from an attacker, making it an effective form of selfdefense in any situation. You as the defender can always stay out of range of an attack, but if the assailant decides to grab onto you, boxing will be useless.

While striking is important to learn, and must be a part of your defense package, boxing is more limited in its scope and relies heavily on physical strength and speed. While it can be an effective form of selfdefense in some situations, it is not as comprehensive or versatile as jiu jitsu. For this reason, if you are only able to choose one form of selfdefense, jiu jitsu is the way to go.

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