Last night we worked on a few weapon-oriented self-defense moves in Pedro Sauer’s blue and purple belt curricula: particularly, club and knife defense.
I have mixed feelings about training these techniques. In general, I think it’s an extremely bad idea to engage an attacker if they have a weapon (or even if they don’t) unless you have exhausted every other option (de-escalating the situation, running away, getting into a crowded area, screaming for help, calling the police, etc.). I also worry that naive jiu jitsu practitioners might get the impression that they can successfully and safely defend themselves from an armed attacker by knowing these techniques, and might opt to engage their attacker rather than run.
On the other hand, there is potential for these techniques to save your life in a worst-case-scenario, and I understand that weapon defense training is probably particularly useful for law enforcement. In addition, the general principles of the techniques apply to other situations as well; staying out of the “power arch” of a baseball bat can apply to a variety of situations, including protection from punches and kicks.
As a lowly blue belt, perhaps it’s not my place to question a well-established curriculum. However, I do think that instructors should explicitly couple self-defense technique lessons with general self-defense awareness. Practicing a knife-stab defense technique in class a few times doesn’t make you stab-proof.