A Guest Article by BJJ legend, Daniel Gracie – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: The Ultimate Foundation For MMA


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.The Gentle Art. A martial art that traces its

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.


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