Many people want to learn martial arts for self-defense. However, people are often hesitant to utilize their self-defense skills in real life out of fear of the legal consequences. It is my opinion as a criminal defense attorney that Gracie jiu jitsu should be an individual’s preferred method of self-defense if this is as it is less likely to inculpate the individual in potential criminal charges should the need to utilize said training arise.
The phrase “jiu jitsu” in Japanese is roughly translates to mean the “gentle art.” “BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique, taking the fight to the ground – most notably by applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_jiu-jitsu
Applying jiu jitsu holds and submissions typically do not cause permanent injury to your opponent. However, please keep in mind that all jiu jitsu techniques will and can cause serious or permanent injury if the move is executed to “completion.” What I mean by this is that if a kimura, for example, were to be executed to the fullest extent possible, the opponent’s rotator cuff and most of his shoulder will be torn and seriously, and probably permanently, injured. However the seasoned practitioner will be able to apply the technique to the point of obtaining pain compliance and no permanent injury need be sustained.
Let us contrast this with other arts. If you were to have trained say for example, Karate or Boxing and you find yourself in a self-defense situation, the only thing you can do to defend yourself is punch and kick your opponent. This will inevitably leave a black eye, broken nose, bloody face, etc. If you come out looking fine, you might have a hard time justifying self-defense. Let’s say that you have trained Gracie jiu jitsu and find yourself in the same situation. Your opponent attacks and you take him to the ground via a body fold. You then mount your opponent. He extends his arm to try to get you off of him and you either arm bar him or place him in an Americana hold. He quickly indicates his desire to desist the assault. You climb off and watch him walk away in defeat. Your opponent has no bloody clothes, no broken nose and no lacerations. In this situation, you clearly have little if any potential criminal liability.
Another thing to consider is the fact that if you are involved in a physical altercation you will likely have to explain to law enforcement what happened and why you did what you did. Imagine an instance where a person affronts you and you feel in fear for your safety and you strike him several times on or about the face. How will that explanation go with the police? “He pushed or shoved me. I then began punching him in the face.” As opposed to “He shoved me and we fell to the ground, I then placed him in a pain compliance hold until I could tell that he was no longer assaulting or attempting to assault me.”
In conclusion, gracie jiu jitsu offers the best option for people looking to learn self defense and who wish to be able to implement their training while minimizing criminal liability. Please keep in mind that simply striking or kicking an opponent does NOT automatically mean that you were not acting in justifiable self-defense. What this author is suggesting is that should your opponent tell a different version of the events to law enforcement, the extent of his visible injuries will dictate how seriously the police/prosecutor pursue the case.
If you are interested in training gracie jiu jitsu, the best place in South West Ohio to train is by far Gracie Cincinnati. Visit them at http://graciecincinnati.com
Chet Palumbo is 28 years old. He has been a criminal defense attorney for over two and half years. He has a solo practice located in Dayton Ohio where he represents people charged with Criminal, DUI and Traffic offenses throughout SW Ohio. He trains Jiu Jitsu at Prodigy in Springboro, Ohio under Justin Christopher.