I have this conversation at least once a week.
It starts with someone asking me which class they should take..... BJJ, or Muay Thai?
I say "Depends on your goals".
See, both are great for fitness. Both are tons of fun. Both have camaraderie with the same group of people. Both will teach you a new Art/Sport that can turn into a huge focus of your life. Both Are tough, and challenging. They are both awesome.
However........... Muay Thai (or any striking art) only works if the other guy AGREES TO COOPERATE with you. The second that guy says "screw this" and tackles you.... No more Muay Thai. Watch a Boxing or Thai Boxing match, and you'll see that the main function of the ref is to "break" the fighters and MAKE them go back to striking. If you have ANY desire to defend against an attacker who REFUSES to cooperate....... You need BJJ. If you can't grapple, you can't survive in the real world.
SHHHH. I don't want to hear about Chuck Liddell. He was able to out wrestle people thereby insisting on the striking. No wrestling..... no Chuck.
Yes Muay Thai is a huge part of modern MMA. I'm not silly. But Striking is what you do when you're standing. And if you can't grapple, you can't CHOOSE to stand. Get it. BJJ doesn't just let you take them down..... It lets you choose not to go down too! BJJ keeps you alive. Muay Thai is what you do with the time you just bought! Yoda, I am.
The quote I heard that I fell in love with that kind of sums up the importance of BJJ goes like this:
"I am a shark.
The ground is my ocean.
And most people can't even swim."