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A Look Back at Jiu Jitsu’s Past and a Glimpse at its Future
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A Look Back at Jiu Jitsu’s Past and a Glimpse at its Future

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November 12th, 1993. The day that the Gracie family introduced the world to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

The day that Royce Gracie would enter an 8 man No Holds Barred tournament, and would submit all of his opponents to be crowned the first UFC Champion. And he would do so with his longest match lasting a mere 2 minutes and 18 seconds. Proving to the world that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was the best martial art in the world.

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Still in its infancy, these were the days when fights in the UFC were still regarded as the proving grounds for the various martial arts. Each fighter representing not only themselves and their team, but the reputation of their style was at stake as well. In that first UFC, Savate, Sumo, Kickboxing, American Kenpo, Boxing, Shootfighting, Taekwondo, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu were all represented. But Brazilian Jiu Jitsu would prove to be so effective, that it would spark a change in the way that not only martial artists, but the world as a whole would look at combat.

But those days are gone. The modern sport of MMA has evolved to a point where it's now beyond any individual combat sport. You must now be well rounded in every aspect of the game. Standing, Wrestling, Ground Fighting, you have to be good everywhere. Yet, many traditionalist will still argue that their style is the best. Particularly, within the Jiu Jitsu community.

At first glance, it would seem that if there was any community that could still claim the right to being called the best, it would be Jiu Jitsu. It’s a staple of MMA that in one form or another, all MMA fighters must study. But just like MMA, Jiu Jitsu itself has evolved to a point well beyond what it used to be. Taking a look back at UFC 3, let's examine Royce Gracie's fight with Kimo Leopoldo.

During the fight Royce initially gives up his back after losing a takedown in a scramble. He manages to momentarily escape and take mount, but instantly falls victim to an Upa and is back on the bottom. From there he makes a number of failed attempts at Armbars and Triangles, before a failed Kimura attempt leads him to an Armbar that finish the match. Now, just reading that it doesn't sound much different from any of today's fights. But let's take a look at the video.

Now, let's be honest about this. That fight as a whole was at the same technical level as one of today's local amateur fights. And Royce's grappling could be compared to that of a Blue Belt by today's standards. Just about any pro fighter that's made it into one of today's major organizations would easily walk through either of those fighters. The game is no longer the same.

It's important to remember that both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA are not thousands of years old. They're relatively new to the world and as such, they're still evolving. Sure you could argue that some of the techniques have been around that long, or that there were similar sports in ancient Greece. But they weren't the same. An isolated technique here and there do not make up an entire sport.

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Today, many argue that the modern styles are not “Real” Jiu Jitsu. What we see coming out of the Danaher camp from Gordon Ryan, Nicky Ryan and Garry Tonon has been nothing short of astonishing. And based off of their results, saying that their methods in either Jiu Jitsu or MMA aren’t effective, is absolutely Ludacris. The way that the team has ran through the Jiu Jitsu world is proof in itself that the sport is still evolving. 

So while it’s not bad to maintain some traditions, it's also important to remember that it was only a few years ago when the thought of fighting off of your back was looked at as ridiculous. As the two sports continue to grow, they will also continue to change and evolve. Those who cannot adapt to that change will be left behind.

 

Check out Gordon’s “Systematically Attacking the Guard”, and while you are at it, you should probably pick up “Getting Swole As A Grappler” his complete meal plan and workout strategy that allowed him to pack on insane amounts of muscle and functional strength.  Besides, does anyone not want to be shredded? Yeah…. Didn’t think so.

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