Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Defensive or Offensive Focused?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very famous martial art but people are actually confused on what type of martial art it is. Is it defensive? Or it is an offensive type of martial art? Let us find out together what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu really is.

Jiu Jitsu is both an offensive and a defensive form of martial art. It is offensive as it is composed of ground attacks and joint locking techniques to force enemies into submission. Defensive is the sense that it involves positioning, speed and guards. Whether offensive or defensive is dependent on when you use it.

Since the answer is depending on when you use it, we need to answer more such as is it good for self defense? Can you become more offensive? And what should you focus on if you are a veteran or a beginner? Let’s find them all out in this article.

Is Jiu Jitsu offensive or defensive?

Jiu Jitsu is both an offensive and a defensive form of martial art. It is diverse in that it can be used for offense and defense. Whether you focus on offense or defense will really depend on factors such as your preference, style, enemies and mastery in the said martial art.

Jiu Jitsu is a combination of both defensive and offensive forms. Plus, its attacks are actually very good as defense when immobilizing enemies.

This martial art is focused on bringing the enemies’ position into your advantage, making them useless in attacks.

Jiu Jitsu is good for offense in the sense that it is comprised of joint locking, strangling, ground submission. These locks make enemies useless. Plus, it is a good defense in a one versus one fight.

For defense, it is good in using the enemies’ power against them. This makes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a good martial art against stronger opponents. Futhermore, it is focused on properly putting yourself in a better position to beat enemies.

If you are interested in knowing how good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for street fight, here is a more indepth article for you to read: How Good is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Street Fights?

Is Jiu Jitsu self defense?

But what about self defense, there are numerous self defense martial arts, is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu good for self defense?

Jiu Jitsu is a form of self defense and it does the job well in protecting yourself from attacks. Moreover, some of its attacks can be used as a defense mechanism because it is good to hold enemies and forcing them into submission. In terms of balance, Jiu Jitsu is a good self defense martial art.

It is easier to explain this in telling how Jiu Jitsu is made.

Jiu Jitsu is one of the oldest martial art with some saying it is 1,000 years old. It is made by monks in India as a form of defense against armed enemies.

Remember that these monks are unarmed but they can take down enemies with weapons. Jiu Jitsu is that good that even the samurai has used it as their official martial arts when they are unarmed.

If these people made this martial art for their defense, it means that it is very effective.

Take note that this history is about Traditional Jiu Jitsu, which is where Brazilian Jiu Jitsu came from. You can see their difference if you read this article: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs Traditional Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu branched out as a specialized martial arts in ground attacks. This doesn’t mean that it lost its usefulness as a self defense. It remains as a good martial art for self defense.

What form of fighting is Jiu Jitsu?

Now that we know how good Jiu Jitsu is for self defense, let us find out its true form. What is the form of Jiu Jitsu anyway?

Jiu Jistu’s form of fighting is heavily focused in ground attacks, chokes, and joint locks. These form of attacks are what makes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu special, and is very powerful in a one versus one situation. These attacks can even make enemies stronger than you useless in a fight.

What differentiate Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from its brothers such as Judo and Traditional Jiu Jitsu is its specialization on ground attacks.

This means that most schools of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu doesn’t use strikes and throws which is a good thing and bad.

Losing these makes it bad because Brazilian Jiu Jitsu became bad at fighting multiple enemies unlike its Judo and Traditional Jiu Jitsu.

However, focusing on ground attacks makes it unbeatable on ground and one on one fights. Most martial art have no idea in dealing with ground fights, with some exceptions like Judo, Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling.

But most don’t have any way to deal with this.

This makes the stage easy for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to win.

Plus, its potential in a one on one is really good because they can easily hold their enemies and induce pain by joint locks and chokes making the fight very easy to win.

How to become more offensive in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

To become more offensive in Jiu-Jitsu, you have to take note that it is the speed and pressure that makes it offensive. Put pressure on your opponents by making more fluid and fast moves forcing them to be more cautious. With this, enemies will be forced to just be on the defensive while you continue your attacks.

Some people chose this route to specialize in offense on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is really good because its attacks can be a form of defense once they start to hold their enemies.

To make your attacks more offensive, you have to increase your speed and pressure. This means that show your enemies that you are becoming faster in switching moves making them go on full defensive.

Putting pressure is really amazing since once your enemies go on full defensive, you can start to be more aggressive to get that win.

However, some don’t recommend you go to this route especially if you are a beginner.

Let us discuss the best way to survive Jiu Jitsu. Is it to go defensive or offensive?

Should you focus on Offense or Defense as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner?

As a general rule, you should focus in defense in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu if your enemies are way stronger and better than you. However, when in a match against enemies with a lower rank, it is better to be on the offensive. However, it still depends on your style of fighting.

The best time to learn and master offensive moves is when your enemies are slightly weaker than you.

It is also good to practice attacks against people whom you are at the same level but this is not always the case.

Focusing on attacks makes you more vulnerable to counter attacks from enemies. That way, you can easily be defeated in just a single mistake.

This is bad against enemies better than you because they can easily see if you made yourself vulnerable to attacks.

Once they got you, you can say that it’s over.

However, against someone who is weaker, they might not see these openings making it easy for you to go full attack. Also remember to give much pressure and speed so enemies have no time to think but to defend.

But as a beginner, should you focus on offense or defense? The next section will discuss what most recommend.

Should You Focus on Defense or Offense as a Beginner in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

The advised is to focus on defense as a beginner in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This is because a proper defense will let you stay in fight longer against stronger enemies or against someone who is way better than you. Furthermore, a good defense will prevent unwanted injuries.

Going on 100% attack focused on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will just be a spell for disaster. This is because you can’t do anything against enemies that are better than you.

It is better to start learning defense and learning to counter their attacks. Since enemies with a higher belt than you are already more proficient in attacks, it will be a good practice for you to practice defense as a beginner.

Also remember that most people that are of higher rank than you have a very good defense, which means that even if you made yourself proficient in your attacks, they can easily counter your moves and beat you.

This will spell into a disaster where you can’t do anything and you will lose fast.

However, you can make the fight longer and you can learn more by practicing if fights go longer, making defense a good start in learning.

Once you get good at defense, it is start to learn offense since you will start to use more offense once you’ve reached the next belt which is blue belt.

But on the beginner level, defense is more necessary.

If you are interested in my tips for beginners to have a faster progress in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you can start reading this article: How hard is Jiu Jitsu and what can we do to make it easier to learn

In there, you will learn amazing tips in making Jiu Jitsu easier and make you into a better fighter in a shorter amount of time.

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Welcome to my recommended list of Jiu-Jitsu gear.

In this section, you are going to see my recommended Jiu-Jitsu gears both for beginners and pros.

Grappling Shorts

When getting some grappling shorts, you first need to understand that the thing we are looking for in grappling shorts is the ones that will provide flexibility.

This means that we are not looking at designs but what we are looking for is how comfortable it is and if you can do a full range of motions while wearing the shorts.

If that’s the case, I recommend an IBJJF approved grappling short which has no pockets that can interfere with rolls, and most importantly, allows a full range of motion. This can help you in rolls since you need to have fluid motions to do some maneuvers.

Here is the link for the product: BJJ Shorts

Grappling Spats

Grappling spats are a great alternative to Grappling shorts and are sometimes used in conjunction with Grappling shorts.

The reason for using a Grappling spat is to prevent friction.

Remember that BJJ is focused on rolls, locks, and takedowns. This is prone to friction that can cause injuries such as burns and mat cuts.

In choosing a good pair of grappling spats, you need to take note that it is important that it is also flexible so you can easily do some full-range motions while rolling.

Furthermore, since you will be covering your whole legs with it, it is important for it to absorb some sweat while still being comfortable for the wearer.

If that’s the case, I recommend these Grappling Spats which are very stretchable making them good for fluid motion. Furthermore, it is well made to handle friction which prevents any unwanted injuries.

Lastly, its cloth is breathable which means that it is very comfortable for your skin.

Here is the link for the product: Grappling Spats


Think of a rash guard as the grappling spat for the upper body.

Rashguard helps in preventing friction that can cause injuries such as mat cuts and burns.

When finding one, it is important to find a comfortable rash guard which is breathable. Furthermore, have one that allows a full range of motion.

Thus, I recommend this rash guard which does all of the functions I’ve said: Rashguard

Knee and Elbow Pads

Personally, I am a victim of a knee injury. That’s why I always tell people to use knee and elbow pads when doing some physically intensive activities such as BJJ.

Because of my injuries, I can’t really last long with any sort of long physical activity.

So, while it is often neglected, I believe that Knee and Elbox pads are important.

Good Knee and Elbow pads are supposed to be comfortable while still providing maximum protection to both your elbows and knees.

Thus, I recommend these safety gears:

Ear Protectors

There are lots of cauliflower ear incidents with BJJ practitioners.

Even if this is quite an unpopular safety gear, it is important as we are preventing friction that can come from rolls.

In choosing an ear protector, you do not need to get something that protects you from strikes. Striking is usually not allowed.

So, what’s important is to find something that is very lightweight and protects you from friction.

If that’s the case, then you may opt for this which is really useful and won’t look weird on rolls: Ear Guards

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