Striking vs. Grappling for Self Defense

self defense grappling

One of the oldest discussions in martial arts is self defense. Which is better–striking or grappling? The answer, of course, depends on who you ask (and the system they train in). At Wisconsin Martial Arts and Fitness Center – East, our programs focus on both Traditional Self Defense and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. As a result, students learn both striking and grappling self defense techniques.

The reality is that there is no “silver bullet.” No single technique or set of techniques work without fail. If that were true, everyone would practice only those things and nothing else. Every scenario is different. No one can argue that knowing more techniques is beneficial because it provides more options.

Any technique that you learn is like adding a tool to your tool box. Striking arts are like the hammer and Jiu Jitsu is more like having a wrench. If you need to tighten or loosen a bolt, a hammer is of no use to you. And, if you need to pound down a nail, a wrench is not ideal either. Every fundamentally sound technique has a place where it will be effective and also a place where it will not be the best option.

No matter what you train, it is important to:

  • Practice realistic and functional techniques for self defense
  • Train regularly with lots of repetitions
  • Be in the best physical condition possible.

Moreover, your mind is your best weapon. Prevention, avoidance, and de-escalation tactics are the options that are your first and best lines of defense. Striking and grappling are always the last resort and should be avoided at all costs whenever possible.