“Wrestling beats striking, and Jiu Jitsu beats wrestling”—Chael Sonnen
In the face of a violent threat we have two options: We we can engage or we can disengage. Obviously, we don’t always get to make that choice, but if we can, it’s always preferable to avoid conflict. In a physical confrontation there are simply too many unknown variables to contend with—weapons, multiple attackers, the skill level of the threat, the mental state of the opponent, the environment, etc. It’s far better to disengage.
However, if we are forced to fight, Jiu Jitsu gives practitioners the best opportunity to effectively manage the distance, staying either out of striking range, or getting into clinching range where Jiu Jitsu really shines. Jiu Jitsu is fundamentally about controlling an aggressive opponent using angles, leverage, and body positioning. The skilled Jiu Jitsu artist can opt to simply control an opponent until the situation de-escalates, or they can render an opponent unable to continue through the use of a joint lock or choke.
If you watch YouTube videos of street fights or real self-defense encounters, the one nearly universal constant is that fights almost always end up clinched up and/or on the ground. Avoiding the clinch in a live encounter is nearly impossible. If strikes are thrown in a self-defense encounter, they are usually thrown immediately, then the fight almost always ends up as a grappling match.
All martial arts have good things to teach, but its my conviction that the best foundation is Jiu Jitsu. Master that discipline first. You can add other skills to become more complete, but without the ability to grapple, you will be unequipped to deal with the reality that most encounters end up as grappling matches.