Assessing the Self-Defense Situation

Portland, OR is a relatively safe city, but assaults still happen, and it’s best to be prepared.  Most real life fights take place outside of the Jiu Jitsu school, and to this point, most of your opponents won’t be wearing a gi (uniform) that is easy for you to work with. So, before any confrontation, please try everything you can to defuse the situation. It is always better to not fight than to win a fight. That being said, when it looks inevitable, you might want to have the advantage by assessing the situation. The first question is always “Can I stop this before it starts?”


If not, the next question should be “What are they wearing?” This may seem like a small detail to notice, but it can be important. Here is a breakdown of the types of clothing and what it means for your techniques.



Coats hamper movement and make it easier to get certain submissions on an adversary, but they can also cushion blows and be used against you as a distraction (thrown or waved in your field of view) should the opponent take it off. Button up shirts come off easy, and should not be relied upon to help you get a grip on the other persons movement. T-shirts, while not as helpful as a coat, are also  little better than button up shirts in terms of getting holds or grips.


Portland Jiu Jitsu Technique: The Lockdown


Jeans are often restrictive, but are more protective against rough surfaces, like gravel or pebbled cement. They can easily be pulled down provided the belt isn’t being used, and may entangle and trip an opponent. They also make it difficult to perform a proper guard or mount after they have been brought down. Shorts are very freeing, allowing a wide range of motion, but offer little or no protection against environmental hazards.

Most of the techniques discussed on this blog will be applicable  regardless of the clothing you or your opponent is wearing, as they tend to be techniques which don’t require long term fighting or extra leverage. However, in the case of choke or submission holds, clothing becomes a factor.