DOES BJJ HAVE STRIKING?
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become one of the most popular forms of combat sports across the globe. BJJ is a comprehensive form of grappling, which involves a highly complex series of transitional movements. Control positions are used in BJJ, as practitioners will attempt to dominate their opponents by using pressure driving into the mats. There is no striking allowed in BJJ, so the only way to win the fight is by accumulating enough points from positional controls, or by forcing an opponent to submit through various choke holds and joint locks.
What This Article Covers:
- Self Defense BJJ
- Combat Jiu Jitsu
- Traditional Styles of Jiu Jitsu
- Why Does BJJ and Striking Go Well Together
- Will BJJ Ever Add Striking to Its Competition
There are other forms of Jiu Jitsu that incorporate striking, like Combat Jiu Jitsu and older forms of Jiu Jitsu like Japanese Jujitsu, Luta Livre and Vale Tudo. There is a significant degree of striking involved in the self defense aspect of BJJ. It is extremely important to add striking techniques when a practitioner is learning a self defense combat system like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as many street altercations can involve weapons or quick scramble based situations. Often when students learn self defense, they ask does jiu jitsu use weapons and even though weapons are not predominantly used in training, there is the use of knives in weapons defense training. To be effective in a real life situation with BJJ, there must be an element of striking involved.
SELF DEFENSE BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was developed by the Gracie family in the early 1900's, as a prospective self defense Martial Art. Helio was always a smaller and lighter framed athlete compared to his older brothers, so his comprehensive system of combat was designed for the smaller athlete to conquer the larger and more stronger adversaries. Throughout the early development of BJJ there was a significant importance held on the self defense aspect. As the art evolved over the years, it became considerably focused on the sporting aspect, as BJJ lost its self defense edge. In more recent times the art of BJJ has headed back down the path of self defense, as athletes like Rener Gracie are teaching principles in self defense to men, women, children, and law enforcement agencies.
The self defense component of BJJ involves using short hard strikes to the vital organs of attackers. Students will often wonder do you kick in jiu jitsu, and like the early systems that Grandmaster Helio taught, which utilised fast leg kicks to the thigh, or savate style kicks to the knee. This style of striking becomes extremely important in the self defense component of BJJ, as it is a good way to keep distance away from an attacker, or to gauge how far the attacker is away. Once a person can understand the distance, it becomes easier to connect with various techniques taught in the self defense aspect of BJJ. There are also advanced systems of weapons defense taught, especially to law enforcement, as new BJJ systems were created to help police officers deal with real life aspects like; handcuffing, disarming weapons, and neutralising assailants.
COMBAT JIU JITSU
Combat Jiu Jitsu is an American form of Jiu Jitsu that incorporates palm striking. This combat sport was created in 2013 by the famous 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu head coach, Eddie Bravo. Nowadays there are Combat Jiu Jitsu World Championships, where many high level athletes from BJJ and MMA like Craig Jones, Donald Cerone, Ethan Crelinsten, Vagna Rocha, and Richie Martinez all compete in the new style of combat fighting. Eddie Bravo was worried about the evolution of BJJ, and how the art was shifting its focus, and heading down the watered down version of sports Jiu Jitsu. Many fights were becoming about stalling tactics, as high level competitors were winning on points. Eddie made the decision to reinvent the art of Jiu Jitsu by adding the old fashioned elements of striking into the art.
The rule set in Combat Jiu Jitsu was developed by Eddie Bravo to be a more exciting brand of combat sport. Each of the fights have a 10 minute time limit period, with the option of an EBI overtime if the fight is a draw. The rules are fairly simple, striking is only permitted once the fight reaches the ground, as each fighter looks to submit their opponent with a range of different submission moves. If the fight lasts longer than one minute with both fighters still standing, then the get down rule is applied. This means both fighters must take the fight to the ground, and this is usually determined by the toss of a coin while the referee pauses the fight. Once the fighter has chosen their position, which can be either in butterfly guard, or on top of their opponent's butterfly guard, then the fight will be restarted.
Another rule is the purgatory position, which is when one person is standing, and their opponent is on the ground. Competitors will be allowed to sit in this position for at least thirty seconds, and any time after that, will be added to the overtime round. This rule was applied by Eddie to prevent any kind of stalling tactics, and encourage a faster and more exciting brand of Jiu Jitsu. There are no illegal bjj moves, as all submissions are legal in Combat Jiu Jitsu, and the fight can only end if an opponent is tapped out, is knocked out, or wins by EBI overtime. The overtime rounds in EBI will give both opponents an opportunity to attack, and then defend submissions in separate rounds. Each fighter has two minutes in an attacking position, and then two minutes in a defensive position. There are two different positions that can be chosen, one is the spiderweb armbar, and the second is a back control with a seatbelt grip secured.
TRADITIONAL STYLES OF JIU JITSU
Japanese Jiu Jitsu was the major influence in the evolution of BJJ, as the father of Kodokan Judo, Jigoro Kano spread his combat all over the world. The art of Japanese Jiu Jitsu traces back to feudal Japan, when the Samurai were fighting in battles throughout the land. Because warriors were heavily armoured it was hard to utilise any form of striking, so the development of Jiu Jitsu was used as a way to disarm, throw, pin and submit assailants. This art evolved over the years, as many sub forms of Jiu Jitsu arose like; Araki ryu, Daito ryu aiki jujutsu, Hontai Yoshin ryu, Kashima Shin ryū, Kukishin ryū, Kyushin Ryu, Sekiguchi Shinshin ryu, Sosuishitsu ryu, Takenouchi ryu, Tatsumi ryu, Tenjin Shinyo ryu, Yagyu Shingan Ryu, and Yoshin Ryu. Many of these forms of Jiu Jitsu began to incorporate different types of striking. The hand to hand combat included weapons, punching, kicking, throwing, pinning and submission holds.
As a result of the evolution of Japanese Jiu Jitsu, many other forms of grappling were developed. Martial arts all across the globe began incorporating grappling innovation like positional control, and many of the sweeping movements, and submission components. Martial arts like Sambo, were heavily influenced and even their Systema version of Sambo incorporated a multitude of different striking techniques. The art of Luta Livre was also heavily influenced by Japanese Jiu Jitsu, as their art highly resembled Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the region of Brazil, and all throughout South America. There have been other forms of Martial Arts like Aikido, Hapkido, Judo and even Mixed Martial Arts that have been developed from the origins of Japanese Jiu Jitsu.
THE EARLY FORM OF BJJ
BJJ was developed by Carlos and Helio Gracie in the early 1900’s. As the grappling art became a comprehensive system of self defense techniques, designed for the smaller and weaker practitioner to defeat a larger and stronger opponent. This early form of grappling became the famous Gracie Jiu Jitsu, as the Gracie brothers competed in Vale Tudo combat against many Luta Livre fighters in Brazil. The art of Vale Tudo was basically No GI Jiu Jitsu with the added element of being able to use strikes like punches, elbows, knees, and kicks. Many battles raged throughout the mid 1900's, and on until the late 1900's, as feuds between Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Luta Livre camps caused mayhem throughout the streets of Brazil.
There were many famous fights between members of each camp, as bragging rights ultimately came to the Gracie clan in the form of a highly exposed Vale Tudo tournament. There were many significant fights including one of BJJ's pioneers in Rickson Gracie, which helped Gracie Jiu Jitsu become the prominent force of Martial Art in Brazil. As the feuds spurred on, so did the increase of reckless violence throughout Brazil, including riots, and fights that broke out amongst fans. Due to the escalation of violent attacks, which included weapons like knives, and firearms, the Brazilian government decided to ban Vale Tudo nationwide, causing an uproar within the community.
THE RISE OF BJJ IN AMERICA
In the early 1990's, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu became one of the most prospective Martial Arts in America. As the rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which was a televised event, incorporated different styles of Martial Art in the event to see which style was the best. Royce Gracie was one of the most inexperienced of the Gracie clan members, and became their representative in the Martial Arts tournament. Royce would showcase his families grappling system by defeating boxer Art Jimmerson, savate fighter Gerard Gordeau, and shootfighting and professional wrestling star Ken Shamrock, as Royce's longest fight lasted only 2 minutes and 18 seconds. After the event the world was astonished with this new form of combat, as many Americans began learning the comprehensive system of grappling.
The evolution of Mixed Martial Arts began to sweep the nation, and the rest of the world, as many fighters swiftly began refining their styles of Martial Art. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu became synonymous with Mixed Martial Arts, as the need to learn the formidable submission capability of the grappling art became priority number one. Nowadays in modern MMA, the game has evolved to become basically a striking version of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and wrestling hybrid. With the success of international grappling, many experienced high level MMA fighters began utilising submission finishes, and other BJJ techniques, like guard passes, sweeps, and control positions.
WHY DOES BJJ AND STRIKING GO WELL TOGETHER
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become symbiotic in many different striking arts. MMA is the perfect example, as striking arts like Karate, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and Taekwondo, have all seen their fighters add BJJ techniques to their repertoire. There are two major factors as to why these arts fit well together, the first is due to how BJJ has dominant control positions. When a fighter can utilise strong positions, and maintain a constant force of pressure, it becomes easier for them to incorporate striking techniques into the moment. This has the same effect in reverse, as a striker can use their striking techniques to open up a fighter, as they look to execute submission techniques. The amalgamation of BJJ and striking, in many MMA fighters games has seen an exponential rise in the cultivation of Martial Arts tenacity, and overall skills. Nowadays competitors will often ask are heel hooks legal in bjj, as the high level, and dangerous techniques has begun to steal the limelight. Now as the stocks are rising in the sport, practitioners all over the world are lining up to learn this highly effective Martial Art.
WILL BJJ EVER ADD STRIKING TO ITS COMPETITION
Even though Combat Jiu Jitsu has become very popular with its open palm striking, and its Brazilian Jiu Jitsu submission concepts, its forefather Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does not share the same values. The evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments have become significantly popular all over the world. The IBJJF worlds, and the ADCC championships, have grown exponentially over the last two decades, forming an everlasting demand for BJJ worldwide.
With the success of No GI Jiu Jitsu, as well as traditional Gi Jiu Jitsu, the future of the sport has substantial growth awaiting. Questions are always being asked about is brazilian jiu jitsu safe from adding striking to its ruleset, and the answer is a firm no, as the art has already formed its own identity without the need to add striking elements to it. BJJ will continue to be the number one grappling art in the world, as it endeavours to build on the legacy that was once developed by the pioneers of the sport, in the Gracie family.
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