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AMERICAN JIU JITSU
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AMERICAN JIU JITSU

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The term American Jiu Jitsu has recently been promoted throughout the world of Martial Arts. It relates to the significant influence that American athletes have had within the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which has led to different jiu jitsu styles. The development of the art in America has seen innovations, like the addition of many American collegiate wrestling components. Throughout the last decade there have been a multitude of American champions on the world scene of grappling. America has a significant claim to the role it has played in the development of the Brazilian art.

What This Article Covers:

The American standard of grappling has raised the bar to a significant level, this is a result of the high level of competition that the country is world famous for. With the popularity of organisations like the UFC, and various grappling promotions like Fight 2 Win, Who's Number One, Boa Super 8 and Polaris, American Jiu Jitsu has now stamped its authority in the world of Martial Arts. Many Americans are now becoming extremely high level at Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts, as their domination within the sport is becoming more and more apparent.

Jake Shields is here to unveil THE AMERICAN JIU JITSU PRESSURE PASSING SYSTEM!

what is american jiu jitsu

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THE HISTORY BEHIND AMERICAN JIU JITSU

There is a significant rise in American athletes now training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Many of these American athletes trained under high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coaches, and American wrestling coaches. But how did Americans come to be so good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? The history dates back to the late 20th century as American heroes like Chuck Norris became pioneers of the sport. Chuck was responsible for building an Academy for The Machado Brothers, where Chuck would go on to become a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Chuck also helped promote the art through many of his TV avenues, as he contributed by showcasing jiu jitsu for law enforcement on his show, Texas Walker Rangers. Chuck's influence in America propelled the art into uncharted territories. As the sport developed, other celebrities became involved in the art, as stars like Ed O'Neill, Scott Caan, and Joel Tudor all received their Black belts in BJJ.

There was a significant influence from Rickson Gracie, and Royler Gracie on many American athletes. As Royler Gracie was the first Brazilian Black belt to hand out a Black belt promotion to an American athlete. Craig Kukuk became the first American, somewhere between 1991 and 1992, to receive a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Royler Gracie. Dave Kama became the second American to receive a Black belt, and the first man to receive this honour from Rickson Gracie. Both of these athletes were part of the Dirty Dozen, which was the first ever 12 non Brazilian athletes to become Black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The other 10 athletes were John Lewis, Ken Gabrielson, Rick Lucero, James Boran, Mark Baquerizo, Bob Bass, Rick Williams, Chris Haueter, David Meyer and John Will. 

BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU VS AMERICAN JIU JITSU 

There is not much that distinguishes American Jiu Jitsu from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as both arts are basically the same. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is extremely traditional, dating back to the early 1900's, after Carlos Gracie and Helio Gracie developed the bjj in the street application, which became a comprehensive combat self defense system. BJJ utilises many different techniques including elements of Judo, and a multitude of different submissions. BJJ traditionally wear's GI uniforms, as practitioners will utilise grips to either pass the guard, setup sweeps, or initiate chokes and joint locks. This art is still practised by many Brazilians all over the world, as they still remain as some of the most decorated and talented athletes competing on the world stage.

American Jiu Jitsu utilises many of the same techniques as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, with one of the major differences being, the addition of significant wrestling techniques. America is well known for its collegiate wrestling, and has now successfully adapted this art form into American Jiu Jitsu. Many American athletes like Eddie Bravo, Keenan Cornelius, Gordon Ryan, and Dean Lister, have successfully shown innovation within the development of modern American Jiu Jitsu. Nowadays American athletes are proving to be in the upper echelon of combat athletes, as they dominate in events like the UFC, IBJJF and ADCC Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments.

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THE RISE OF THE TERM AMERICAN JIU JITSU 

The term American Jiu Jitsu has floated around the world of grappling for some time now. Jake Shields is one that comes to mind, as he has American Jiu Jitsu boldly tattooed across his forearm. Jake Shields has spoken about how he believes his style of Jiu Jitsu is Americanised through the integration of his wrestling techniques. Another athlete that speaks highly about American Jiu Jitsu is the always creative Keenan Cornelius. Keenan caused a stir in the BJJ community in 2019, after having a fall out with Andre Galvao, and leaving the Atos team. Keenan would spend a while on his own not sure where to take his career, and after some time he decided to open his own Academy called Legion American Jiu Jitsu. 

Keenan offended many Brazilians within the community, when he made a bold statement about Rickson and Helio Gracie. He stated that the old pioneers didn't have the same level of skill back in their day, compared to the modern grappler, proclaiming Rickson was a tough purple belt at best. Keenan stood his ground even though many Brazilians were enraged by his comments. Many people believe that Keenan truly meant no offense, as he was only complementing the extremely high level of Jiu Jitsu in the modern day. Keenan has significant claims as to why his style of grappling is Americanised, as he is known for innovation and creativity within the art of BJJ. Keenan's creation of the worm guard has come directly from the mind of an American, and gives significant authenticity that American Jiu Jitsu has a right to its label.

THE RISE OF AMERICAN JIU JITSU IN MMA

In the early 1990's Royce Gracie showcased his bjj in mma in the inaugural UFC event. This was a contest to see which Martial Art had the best style, and after Royce dominated the event Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grew exponentially in popularity. As a result many American athletes took notice of the Brazilian art and began training extensively. America was determined not to be left behind as it began to develop in the high profile grappling art. As the UFC continued to grow, so did the calibre of fighters that stepped inside the octagon. MMA was fast becoming America's number one combat sport, as ferocious fighters began making a name for themself. with athletes like Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Tim Sylvia leading the charge.

Nowadays, MMA has become more advanced in wrestling techniques, with many exceptional athletes lighting up the octagon. Athletes like Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Brock Lesnar, Matt Hughes, and Chael Sonnen have become extremely successful with the blending of their wrestling and jiu jitsu styles inside the octagon. American athletes inside the cage are becoming extremely dominant, as their level of Jiu Jitsu is making it extremely tough for any opponent to beat them. It's fair to say that the development of many American combat coaches like Trevor Wittman, Jason Parillo, Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn and Mike Brown have succeeded in helping many American athletes reach the pinnacle of development within one of the most highly decorated combat sports on the planet.

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AMERICAN JIU JITSU ON THE GRAPPLING CIRCUIT

For years Brazilian athletes have been dominating the spotlight in competitive grappling. Many of these international superstars have won a multitude of world championships including the IBJJF and ADCC level. Over the last decade there has been a significant shift in the domination of the world scene in grappling. The evolution of American athletes training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is now reaching brave new heights. There are many cult heroes like Gordon Ryan, Robert Drysdale, Keenan Cornelius, BJ Penn, Mackenzie Dern, Jake Shields and Gianni Grippo who have become some of the best American grapplers in the world.

Another significant development in the world of American grappling, is the rise of Eddie Bravo's 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. Eddie has become a pioneer of the sport in America through the development of his rubber guard system. Many of Eddie Bravo's students like Geo and Richie Martinez, Ben Eddy, Nathan Orchid, and PJ barch have been tearing up on the No Gi circuit of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Eddie Bravo has also developed a new form of Martial Arts, as his new style of combat jiu jitsu has seen athletes like Damien Anderson, Ethan Crelinsten, Kieran Kichuk, Adrian Madrid, Keith Krikorian and Jordan Holy step up and compete in this new form of combat.

AMERICAN JIU JITSU SELF DEFENSE PROGRAM

Some people believe that American Jiu Jitsu is just a belated copy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Research indicates that since 1994 MIT had offered a self defense program to all of their students, called American Jiu Jitsu. Instructors that teach out of MIT have said that there is no relation to BJJ or MMA, instead their art is a separate entity. They spoke about teaching a wide variety of submissions like chokeholds and joint locks, they also taught holds, throws, and strikes, including striking with weapons like guns and knives, they also taught unarmed weapon defense and ground defenses. Even though this program is not open to the majority of people in the world, some people do have a problem with the origin of the program. MIT are adamant that their style of self defense has been around for a long time and will continue to do so for many MIT students for years to come.

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AMERICA THE BREEDING GROUND FOR CHAMPIONS 

Ever since the Gracie clan spread Brazilian Jiu Jitsu into the United States of America, the country has become a breeding ground for grappling champions. Since Royce Gracie's domination of the early UFC, Americans have been hot on the tail of many Brazilian champions. Nowadays America has over 4000 BJJ gyms, which is incredible considering the popularity of other forms of Martial Arts like boxing and wrestling. Many high level BJJ practitioners have migrated to America to run their academies, and this is largely due to the huge population that America has to offer. The who's who of Jiu Jitsu all live in America, which has helped significantly with the high calibre of BJJ that's coming out of the US. 

In terms of IBJJF world championships, Brazilian athletes have dominated the top 30. But the Americans are starting to pick up their game, as athletes are starting to win world championship gold. One that springs to mind is Mikey Musumeci who has won 4 IBJJF world championships. Other American athletes that have picked up IBJJF world titles are; Lana Stefanac, Mackenzie Dern, BJ Penn, Rafael Lovato Jr, Robert Drysdale, Hillary Williams, Jamal Hill, Tammi Musumeci and Isaac doederlein. In terms of ADCC, America has had quite a few champions. Athletes like Gordon Ryan and Mark Kerr have both won 3 titles each, with Jeff Monson, Dean Lister and Jonathan Torres also winning 2 each. Single titles have also gone to Rico Rodriguez, Orlando Sanchez, and Robert Drysdale. The calibre of American athletes that are now stepping into the world stage, have become extremely talented in the Brazilian art of Jiu Jitsu.

THE CONCLUSION

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become one of the premier grappling arts in the world today. The old traditional ways that were taught by Helio Gracie have now evolved to a much more modern style of grappling. Even though the Gracie clan deserve a multitude of respect and thanks for their contribution to this amazing art, there has to be some concessions moving forward into the future.

Jake Shields is here to unveil THE AMERICAN JIU JITSU PRESSURE PASSING SYSTEM!

american jujitsu

Considering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was first passed on by a Japanese Martial Artist, there should be room for other nations to stake their claim. In terms of the United States, it has become involved with many developments within the art of Jiu Jitsu. The term American Jiu Jitsu is completely fair, as the art actually has become slightly different to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Many high level American athletes have put into use their creativity and innovation of what they are now proud to call American Jiu Jitsu.

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