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5 Most Effective BJJ Techniques for Street Fights

Jiu-Jitsu is said to be one of the most effective martial arts for street fights. The use of leverage and technique to beat multiple, stronger opponents was what the Gracies intended jiu-jitsu to embody. The question is, out of all the techniques in jiu-jitsu, which ones were the best to use on the streets?

Going back to the very first UFC, Jiu-jitsu was the single fighting style to beat all other fighting styles. When Royce Gracie beat all those bigger strikers and wrestlers, everyone saw how effective Jiu-jitsu was at nullifying size and strength.

When the Gracie family first started teaching Gracie Jiu-jitsu, it was meant to be applicable to defending yourself on the streets. All the techniques taught by grandmaster Helio Gracie were meant for a smaller and weaker person to defend from larger and stronger opponents. 

To prove the superiority of Gracie Jiu-jitsu, they started the Gracie challenge. A member of the Gracie family would fight in a vale Tudo match against challengers of other martial arts, often succeeding. The Gracie system of fighting still lives on today and emphasizes real-world application and is still practiced by professional fighters like the Diaz Brothers.

As you go on with your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey, you will learn hundreds of techniques and variations to use against your opponents when you spar and compete. Not all of those moves you learn are going to be well utilized when it comes to defending yourself on the street, though.

In this article, we will give you the 5 most effective Brazilian Jiu-jitsu techniques you can use to defend yourself in street fights. We will cover techniques from different positions to give you an idea of what you can do in each situation.

Technical Stand-up

The technical stand-up is the first move you should learn when starting out in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. It is a simple but very effective technique that you will be using daily and throughout your journey. 

This is a technique done from a seated position where the person can safely get to a standing position without compromising their safety.  One arm is used to protect yourself in front of you, while the other arm is used as a base behind you so you can take that step back to get on your feet.

When should you use it? 

You should use the technical stand-up when you find yourself on the ground and defenseless,  and want to get into a more advantageous position. 

Why is it effective for street fights? 

Street fights are unpredictable at best. You never truly know the number of people involved until the dust settles. This is why you have to be ready to get sucker punched or taken down when you least expect it. Once this happens, getting up safely and in fighting position will increase your odds of winning or running away safely from your altercation. 

Osoto Gari

The Osoto-gari is a Judo throw mainly used in grappling and Mixed martial arts. The move involves blocking your opponent’s upper half and reaping the outside of his leg for a trip-like takedown. This should be one of the first takedowns you learn due to its effectiveness and application in the real world.

When should you use it? 

This technique should be used when you are up against more than one person and want to get in a quick takedown without committing to just one opponent.

Why should you learn it?

Other forms of takedowns, though effective, require you to commit your whole body to finishing the move. This makes it perfect for 1-on-1 scenarios like Mixed martial arts and competitive Jiu-jitsu, but it leaves you vulnerable to everyone else if done in a street fight.

The Osoto-gari is the perfect takedown for the streets as it is easy to perform and doesn’t require you to commit your body after the move is done. This leaves you ready to defend yourself from other assailants right away once the move has been performed.

Tripod sweep

Getting up is never always an option, especially in a streetfight. When you are surrounded and your opponents are hovering over you, your best bet would be to perform a tripod sweep.  Performing this move properly will get your opponent to the ground quickly without the fear of getting your head smashed in because you were trying to stand up.

When should you use it? 

You should use the tripod sweep when you are on the ground and want to get a quick sweep on your opponent before they can even react. 

Why should you learn it? 

The tripod sweep is the perfect move to use in conjunction with the technical standup. The best thing to do on the ground is to go for a well-executed tripod sweep then chain it into a technical standup once your opponent hits the ground. This combo can turn the tide of any street fight. 


The knee-on-belly is a great technique to utilize on the streets. It gives you a  very strong hold on your opponent while having the freedom to use your upper body to attack or defend. This position works best when you want to pin down one opponent but you also want to be ready to disengage at any time. 

When should you use it? 

You should use the knee-on-belly once you have passed the opponent’s guard or legs. Any opportunity to get this move will immediately gain you the upper hand in any street altercation. 

Why should you learn it? 

 The knee-on-belly allows you to immobilize your opponent while still keeping yourself upright. This position gets you ready to defend from other assailants and you can easily disengage if the situation gets too overwhelming. 

Guillotine Choke

When properly executed, the guillotine is a very devastating choke that can put you to sleep in a matter of seconds. It can be used from almost any position and on any size of opponent. Marcelo Garcia is best known for this choke as it allows him to choke out opponents twice his size with ease.

When should you use it?

You should use the guillotine choke on overeager opponents, especially when they try to rush in and take you down. You can also use this move on opponents who like to push their weight into you for pressure, giving you a great opportunity to sink that choke in.

Why you should learn it?

The guillotine choke is the perfect self-defense submission as it can be used both for attacking and defending. You can use the guillotine choke to counter techniques, or you can set it up to go for the quick finish. If ever you find yourself in the middle of a street fight, this move HAS to be in your arsenal. 

Ariston Palacios

Ariston is a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and instructor under Carpe Diem BJJ. He is also a Coach at two UFC Gyms in his home country. Discovering BJJ at the age of 18, his passion for the sport usually ends up with most of his time doing all things BJJ related from training, teaching and writing articles. On occasion, you can catch a glimpse of him at a local competition to test his mettle, but you will usually see him sharing his knowledge and passion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to clients of all ages wherever a mat can be found.