roots over millennia. Throughout the vast lands of Asia, from monks
to Samurai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has a noble and important lineage.
Fast forward to the early 20th Century when Mitsuyo Maeda travelled to
Brazil and taught this ancient art to the Gracie Family – Father
Gastão and sons Carlos, Helio, George, Gastão and Oswaldo. As the
brothers put forth the famous ‘Gracie Challenge’ willing participants
came from far and wide to test themselves against these young men.
Carlos had been the original student of Mr Maeda and the teacher to
all of his brothers. The ‘Gracie Challenge’ met with great success.
The challengers came and were submitted. Not girth, nor strength, nor
size could defend the submissions by the Gracie brothers. No other
art or sport or technique could match the depth of Brazilian Jiu-
Jitsu. Nothing rivalled the effectiveness and speed of the Gracie
brothers’ skill in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
This truth was to be tested once again in a fledging event called the
UFC. Royce Gracie was the one chosen by the family to fight in this
new event. With no rules, no time limits and no pre conceptions, this
was a true test of which art form would reign superior. As
illustrated in the earliest UFC events, the Gracie style of Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu trumped all other arts. It was truly a watershed moment.
Now to today. Fighting organizations have sprung up everywhere. The
UFC is a powerhouse. And Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu remains the go to art
form for MMA fighters. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the ultimate foundation
for today’s Mixed Martial Arts fighter. In no other art or sport or
technique does one find the depth and wealth of knowledge and
possibilities as exists in BJJ. With a standing component featuring
several take downs and submissions, with a ground game that has no
equal, BJJ is the only complete art for MMA.
As today’s MMA fighter knows, the rules have changed drastically from
the earliest no holds barred events. In these earliest events, BJJ
was unmatched. Up kicks from the guard were allowed. The fight could
be started immediately on the ground. While fighting on the ground,
the fight was never stopped and forced to stand up. Perhaps these
drastic rules changes were in direct response to the superiority of
BJJ? Today’s MMA fight is expected to be a battle standing. Today’s
MMA fighter is expected to trade blows. While another art would’ve
withered and died in the face of these changes, BJJ has evolved and
come back stronger. This stand up game has only heightened the
importance of having your base in BJJ. As a practitioner of BJJ, you
have infinite possibilities to not only defend strikes, but to thwart
these attacks and submit your opponent. Removing yourself from these
blows, the BJJ fighter often emerges from the bout unscathed and
To further emphasize the incomparable validity of BJJ, think back to
the fight between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva. Sonnen, an MMA
fighter with a foundation in wrestling. Silva, an MMA fighter with a
foundation in Muay Thai. This bout was hard fought to say the least.
Silva was taking many blows from Sonnen and at one point it looked as
if Sonnen would be the victor. With only seconds left in the fight,
Silva went to the triangular choke. Finishing his opponent and
winning the fight. Only with BJJ could you pull out a victory in this
In another well known fight, Minotauro Nogueira submitted behemoth Bob
Sapp by arm bar after a true war. Sapp dwarfed Minotauro in size.
The match up was skill versus girth. Sapp dominated the fight with
his size and strength, throwing Minotauro around the ring like a rag
doll. Exhausted and losing the fight, Minotauro saw his opportunity.
He swept Sapp and got a beautiful arm bar from side control. No other
Martial Art could produce this result against an opponent with such
incredible size and strength.
My cousin and mentor, Renzo Gracie, denies no challengers. He will
fight any and all comers. This philosophy is at the root of Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu. He defends our family’s art with a warrior’s spirit.
Fighting against larger opponents, Renzo proves the effectiveness of
BJJ time and time again. UFC 6 Champion Oleg Taktarov was chosen as
Renzo’s opponent in MARS (Martial Arts Reality Superfight) in the mid
90′s. Taktarov was a Russian Sambo fighter and had a 70 pound weight
advantage. During the fight, Renzo attempted a takedown that was
stopped by Taktarov. Immediately pulling guard, Renzo was in his
element on the mat. Taktarov approached to ground and pound. Not
missing a beat, Renzo up kicked his opponent, thwarting the strikes
from the ground and pound. This allowed Renzo to throw the deciding
KO and end the fight. Another example, is his fight against Maurice
Smith which was won by arm bar in the first minutes of the fight. His
bout against Wataru Sakata was also a victory for him by arm bar.
Both of these fights were in Rings – King of Kings in Japan. Both
opponents have a minimum of a 60 pound weight advantage. Neither
could defend the technique of BJJ. In his fight against Pat
Miletich, Renzo won by guillotine. The fight began standing and ended
standing, with Renzo jumping onto Miletich and capturing him in a
guillotine. His record goes on to show many other victories by
submission. He is a true BJJ and MMA pioneer and legend.
As the sport of MMA evolves from it’s earliest beginnings, so too does
BJJ. This Martial Art is like no other. In no other art do you find
such a flexible base. BJJ is for all sizes, styles, body types and
abilities. As is the basis of our philosophy, we welcome all. If
this is not the best base for MMA, then I don’t know what is.