Disclaimer: I’m a lover, not a fighter. My most martial move when someone gets aggressive with me is called ‘The Turtle’. It involves me slowly sinking to the floor, curling up like a foetus, and hoping that my assailants die of laughter before they can hurt me.

In short, I am woefully unequipped to teach you about self-defence.

Thankfully, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) expert Professor Shane Suzuki of Fight G was willing to provide us with some self-defence tips to take with you on the road. Laconic and possessing a quiet confidence, the 24-year black-belt in BJJ has trained in the martial art since 2007, making him the ideal candidate to enlighten us on how training in a martial art could help you to defend yourself in a realistic scenario.


Most of us are probably intimidated by the high learning curve and physical rigour of picking up a martial art, but Shane is quick to point out that physique and experience are less significant barriers to entry than one would expect when it comes to picking up BJJ.

“For BJJ, the focus is a lot on using leverage, technique and timing to overcome strength, hence the idea of it being the gentle art,” he tells me. “I expect most of the smaller guys and the girls I’ve trained to be able to beat an untrained, bigger person. Even four to six months of consistent training will help you to understand the mechanics behind Brazilian Jiujitsu, and how to apply it. ”

Shane is also quick to share that avoidance should always be your first priority, particularly when it comes to dealing with multiple aggressors, armed assailants and other unrealistically dangerous scenarios.

“People watch the movies and think it’s possible to fight multiple attackers. But in real life, if there’s more than one attacker, no martial art is going to help you. Let’s say you’ve trained in BJJ and you can control one person, but you don’t know if his [the assailant’s] friend is going to kick you in the head. I wouldn’t tangle with that. The same goes for someone with a knife.”

“I think BJJ is useful in a street fight to control and subdue an attacker, at least in a 1-on-1 situation,” he says. “In general, a lot of street fights end up on the ground. In that situation BJJ is the most useful art for sure. Of course, other martial arts like Muay Thai would be effective, although the approach in that case would be to attack and strike while keeping one’s distance.”

For more realistic situations, Shane was happy to oblige our request to demonstrate self-defence techniques in commonplace street scenarios. Without further ado, we’re proud to present to you:

A BASIC Self defence-guide For TRAVELLERS

 Scroll through the galleries by clicking on the arrows in each scenario.


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 ScENARIO 2: Assailant throws A WILD HAYMAKEr

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SCENARIO 4: ASSAILANT IS A Creepy Guy at a club

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scenario 5: HOW TO TRAIN to Break a Fall

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Raphael Lim

about Raphael

Raphael has interviewed Superman, gotten choked out by mixed martial artists, and sworn off food for a week without ending up looking like Gandhi. Yes, truth can be stranger than fiction. You can read his scribblings primarily in the Disrupter and Storyteller sections. He can be reached at raphael@departuremag.com.

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