Jiu Jitsu, Royce Gracie And The UFC's 25th Anniversary
Ideas on the historic anniversary...
Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the UFC. It was a historic day for both the promotion and the sport. For many in the grappling community, it served as another anniversary. It is the day that we were first introduced to Jiu Jitsu.
Granted, Jiu Jitsu had a presence in the United States before UFC 1. Perhaps you were one of the few who trained in this tribe. You understood the power of Jiu Jitsu. You were not surprised by Royce Gracie. Yet, the majority of us did not have a clear understanding of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. If you had surveyed America on what Jiu Jitsu was before UFC 1, there would have been a variety of responses. Most likely none of them would be correct.
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As we all know, UFC 1 was co-created by Rorion Gracie and Art Davie. It was originally structured as an eight man tournament with only two rules: no biting or eye gouging. There were no weight classes. The combatants fought for a 50,000 dollar prize.
It was in this tournament, Royce Gracie, weighing in at 176 pounds defeated Art Jimmerson from the mount position. In the semi-finals, He defeated Ken Shamrock by gi choke. Royce won the tournament by defeating Gerard Gordeau, a Savate expert, by rear naked choke.
UFC 1 served to bring the predecessor of MMA to America. It also introduced Jiu Jitsu to the world. We were introduced to an art where technique triumphs over strength and size. We were introduced to an art that is infinite with possibilities. We were introduced to Jiu Jitsu, a martial art and sport that continues to impact our lives in so many positive ways daily.