Self-Defense or Competition Jiu-Jitsu?

Larry Shealy // Uncategorized


October 16  

Rigan Machado BJJ

Which is better, Jiu-Jitsu for Self Defense, MMA or Competition?

The answer to this question is easy.  All Jiu-Jitsu is good; but what is best for one person, may not be good for another person. I will try to quickly  break it down, in general, to demonstrate how all JJ is good, but it’s not a one style fits all type of proposition.

What are YOU personally looking for in Jiu-Jitsu?

The argument of which martial art is best for the “average Joe” or “Average Jane”, not needing to be big, fast, strong or athletic has been settled…..

Master Royce Gracie effectively put Gracie Jiu-Jitsu at the top in the public view in the early  Ultimate Fighter Challenge (now known as the UFC) in the early 1990’s; winning 3 of the first 4 UFC events at 170lbs, multiple fights in a night, and no gloves and no time limits.  He proved that in a fight, you need to know BJJ.

As an Old School Jiu-Jitsu guy, my likes and desires in BJJ have always and will always lean totally in to the style that I’ve been connected to from the start. ….and that is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, that was developed by Grandmasters Carlos and Helio Gracie. 

Why Gracie Jiu Jitsu?

As mentioned, Royce Gracie proved it’s value in the 1990s here in America 

Great Self Defense along with the ‘ground fighting’ we all see in action during most MMA fights.

Transfers well to Competitive JJ and MMA

No time limits

No need to be big, fast, strong or athletic

You DO need to know how to use the leverage, timing and techniques learned over time.

You can defeat opponents with choices that will not permanently damage him or her.

You’ll learn how to deal with street situations

Defending against taking damage in a street fighting (Vale Tudo)

Great for men, women & children 


Competitive Jiu-Jitsu is a great way to pit yourself against others  that are your same age, size and ability level.

Set up like a wrestling match, with submissions, there will be time limits.

You do not have to deal with punches, kicks or elbows in the average tournament.

The tournament game 2022 looks nothing like the BJJ in the 1990’s.

The best competitive grapplers in the world have a great BJJ base from somewhere they’ve trained and have literally developed a style of their own.

Is that style easy for the average guy? I’m not sure.  

Like the Gracie’s and Machado’s in the 90’s and 2000’s with their dynamic styles,  the new waves of Gordon Ryan, Craig Jones, the Ruotolo Brothers and many more are simply on another level.

Being a “Regular Joe”, I never went all in on the tournament style.  Those who do go all in, in my opinion can handle themselves in most conflicts that would happen off of the mat.

If you wrestle and are super competitive, this may be a good option for you.


IF YOU REALLY WANT TO FIGHT, MMA is for you! You would be smart in getting into BJJ or wrestling early and pick up Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and/or Submission along the way.

I believe that all of the options in Jiu-Jitsu are good. It’s all about what’s good for you and what your goals are.

Traditional Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has always met my needs and expectations.  Feel free to come train with us at

No matter where you choose to train, commit to it, and never quit!

About the Author

Training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu since 1994. 4th-Degree Rigan Machado Black Belt Instructor. Christian, Husband, Father, Grateful Small Business Owner.

Larry Shealy