JIU JITSU VS MMA
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts are two combat sports that fit together in perfect harmony. BJJ is one of the premier Martial Arts that compliments many MMA athletes. There have been many Jiu Jitsu athletes fighting against pure Mixed Martial Artists inside the octagon, with wins going to both styles. This fight is not unlike a battle between luta livre vs bjj or sambo vs bjj as both styles are very similar to Mixed Martial Arts.
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely reliable and coordinated fighting system. A BJJ practitioner has a large number of tools in their arsenal, as they learn multiple counters and submission chains. The control aspect in BJJ is exceptional and the transitions between each position uses a combination of speed, balance and weight distribution. There have been many Jiu Jitsu athletes over the years step into the octagon to showcase their proficiency in the art, athletes like Royce Gracie, Demain Maia, BJ Penn, Nate Diaz and Ronda Rousey have all become successful inside the cage utilising technical BJJ proficiency.
Mixed Martial Arts has become a worldwide phenomenon, as fans have been swarming into stadiums across the globe to watch the hype of MMA. Mixed Martial Arts is a sport that began as a combination of different fighting styles, and has now merged into its own exciting brand of Martial Arts. MMA combines elements of boxing, kickboxing, judo, wrestling, muay thai and brazilian jiu jitsu into one fighting system. These days MMA combatants are extremely well trained in all aspects of the fight game.
What This Article Covers:
- The Origin of Mixed Martial Arts
- The Origin of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- How Does Training in MMA Fair Against BJJ Training
- What Differences Are There Between MMA and BJJ
- BJJ vs MMA: Who Would Win This Battle
THE ORIGIN OF MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
There have been many forms of Mixed Martial Arts in the history of combat sports. In Ancient China, the combative art appeared in the form of Leitai, a no holds barred mixed combat sport that combined Chinese martial arts, boxing and wrestling. The combat of leitai took place in an elevated fighting arena, where often fatal weapons and bare knuckle martial arts tournaments were once held. Fighting contests were adjudicated by a referee on the platform and judges on the sides. Fighters could only lose if they gave up, or if they were incapacitated, or if they were thrown from the stage. Often fights in this art form would end in a fight to the death.
In Ancient Greece, they competed in a combat sport called pankration, which was a similar sport to the modern MMA style. Pankration was created by combining components from well established fighting systems like wrestling and boxing. Pankration first appeared in the 33rd Olympiad in 648 BC. The combat had only two rules, no eye gouging and no biting, as every other form of striking and grappling was allowed. Fighters would battle until their opponent could not continue or until they signaled a submission by raising their index finger. There has also been evidence of similar mixed combat sports in Ancient Egypt, India and Japan.
Other combative sports like Savate took centre stage in France. In 1852 contests between French Savate fighters and English bare knuckle boxers became common forms of Mixed Martial Arts. Contests also occurred in the 19th and the 20th century between French Savate fighters and other combat sports like Judo, Boxing and Karate. Catch wrestling appeared in the late 19th century which combined several styles of wrestling, as the art went on to influence modern MMA. No holds barred fighting took place in the late 1880's as catch wrestlers would meet in combat tournaments against many other styles of Martial Arts.
Another early example of mixed martial arts was Vale Tudo, as the Gracie family were big on exposing their BJJ fighters to the more aggressive nature of Vale Tudo. Rixon Gracie would accept many challenges from catch wrestlers and luta livre fighters on the streets of Brazil. There were many famous fights like Rixon Gracie vs Hugo Duarte, that ended in Rixon winning by mounted ground and pound. This combative style led to organisations like Pride FC facilitating Bushido events, where Mixed Martial Arts contests would take place. In the early 90's the UFC was born as different styles of Martial Arts competed against each other, styles like sumo, savate, boxing, muay thai, judo, karate or jiu jitsu would showcase their abilities in search of becoming the number one Martial Art.
THE ORIGIN OF BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was founded in Brazil in the early 1900’s, as Carlos Gracie and Helio Grace began developing the self defense grappling art. Carlos learnt Judo and Japanese Jujutsu from the Japanese master Mitsuyo Maeda, before passing it down to his younger brother Helio. While learning the art, Helio had his struggles with mastering many of the Judo techniques, due to his smaller size. Helio would then develop a more comprehensive fighting system that incorporated ground fighting control positions and submissions.
Helio and Carlos taught many of his sons and nephews the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which was the beginning of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Many of the Gracie clan brought fame and fortune to their family, through winning high profile fights in Brazil, Japan and the United States of America. Rixon Gracie was an undefeated champion who decimated many Japanese pro wrestlers and Royce Gracie put BJJ on the map with his exceptional Ultimate Fighting Championship debut. After the UFC was formed there was a significant increase in the necessity of learning the grappling art, as many Martial Artists looked to add Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to their repouture.
Nowadays there are many uses for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as it has become significantly prominent in self defense for civilians and law enforcement agencies. There is also a significant split between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as many practitioners will weigh up which art suits them best grappling vs jiu jitsu. Grappling has become the label for No Gi BJJ, while BJJ is more heavily linked to the traditional Gi style of the art.
HOW DOES TRAINING IN MMA FAIR AGAINST BJJ TRAINING
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a series of extremely complex and dynamic movements, which can take a long time to master. Training in the art of BJJ takes considerable dedication and continuity to master the art. Practitioners will endure a decade or longer training in the high intensity sport before they can reach the high level of black belt. BJJ training involves learning control positions and transitions using a strong base and good weight distribution skill. Students are taught a multitude of different submissions, sweeps, takedowns and guard passes, it is then up to the student to develop their own style of Jiu Jitsu. Becoming proficient in grappling skill takes a high intellect and a hard work ethic. Learning techniques is not enough, a practitioner must battle test their grappling by pitting themself against other higher level members in their academy.
MMA training can be extremely brutal, as fighters are working on all aspects of their game. There is the technical side of training where fighters will practise their striking sequences and their submission game. In most cases MMA fighters will utilise different coaches for different aspects of their game, like a striking coach, a wrestling coach, a BJJ coach and a strength and conditioning coach. MMA training will usually consist of circuit training, as athletes are pushing their bodies beyond their limitations. Full contact sparring is also a highlight during an MMA fighters training sessions, as they look to prepare themselves for a war inside the cage. There is usually a more brutal aspect to MMA training, as most athletes are looking to cut weight for their upcoming fight. Although this kind of training can take its toll on a fighter, these days coaches and academies have turned their training camps into a science fit to guide their athletes towards a higher level of strength, fitness and skills.
WHAT DIFFERENCES ARE THERE BETWEEN MMA AND BJJ
There are some considerable differences between both of these Martial Arts, as BJJ is purely a grappling based art compared to MMA that incorporates many forms including striking. MMA has become the battleground for many Martial Artists to test their skills in a dangerously intense situation. BJJ on the other hand has a much more relaxed ground for its practitioners to test their abilities in.
There Is a massive dissimilarity in how both of these arts are scored in their respective competitive levels. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu utilises a points system that includes a set amount of points for certain positions. Competitors will score 4 points for the mount, back mount or back control, they will score 3 points for passing the guard and 2 points for takedowns, sweeps and knee on belly positioning. There are also advantages and penalties, advantages are accumulated when a competitor attempts submissions that their opponent defends, they can also be given if an opponent secures a takedown but lands out of bounds. Penalties are given when a competitor wastes time by staying in a position for too long, too many penalties can result in a disqualification.
In an MMA fight the scoring is very similar to boxing, as it utilises a 10 point round by round scoring system. Fighters will be scored out of 10 per round, as most winning rounds are scored 10 - 9 but in the case of a domination the score could be as different as a 10 - 6. In the event of an even round the score will be 10 - 10. The scoring system is based on effective striking and grappling and if this criteria is even, then plan b is effective aggressiveness, if the fight is still even between these two categories then the judges will look at which fighter has octagon control. At the end of the fight the winner will be the fighter who has accumulated the most points.
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu there is a regimented belt ranking system, as belts rankings are handed out after a student shows their proficiency and consistency within each belt rank. The first belt rank is the white belt, and it is given to a brand new student on day one. After receiving four stripes on their belt a student will earn their blue belt, followed by a purple belt and then a brown belt, the last rank is the coveted black belt. There are also two coral belts and a red belt except they are exceptionally hard to achieve. In MMA there are no ranking belts of any kind, as the combative sport is purely a culmination of different forms of Martial Arts. Many MMA fighters have high ranks in certain Martial Arts like Judo, Sambo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai.
Both Martial Arts wear different uniforms and utilise different equipment during their bouts. In BJJ a practitioner wears two different uniforms, one is the traditional Gi and the other is the No Gi uniform. In No Gi students will wear compression pants, with shorts over the top and a rashguard. An MMA fighter will wear shorts and no shirt, under their shorts they are required to wear cup protection. Fighters are also required to have their hands wrapped underneath their MMA gloves, they are also required to wear a mouthguard for safety reasons.
BJJ VS MMA: WHO WOULD WIN THIS BATTLE
There are many factors to consider when trying to distinguish a winner between these two combative arts. A Mixed Martial Artist usually will be well rounded in most Martial Arts, while a BJJ practitioner specialises in submission ferocity. Both styles have great takedown offense and defense, the exception being that an MMA athlete can utilise strikes. A striking art will always have a momentary advantage over a grappling art, but that moment usually goes by rather quickly.
The problem that an MMA fighter will encounter is they don't spend enough time mastering one specific aspect. This means they may be lacking when they encounter a specialist in a certain discipline like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Being an all rounder has its advantages and disadvantages, as they may be able to exploit an opponent's weakness, like possibly striking against a BJJ practitioner.
Weighing up all possibilities in the fight between a grappler and a pure Mixed Martial Artist, either of these athletes could win. MMA fighters have a relentless ability to keep up their attacks, and can also neutralize BJJ on the ground with ground and pound. The disadvantage for MMA fighters is when you throw strikes at a grappler, they leave themself open to being submitted. This can be the same for a BJJ practitioner as they can leave themself open for a knockout by attempting submissions.
In conclusion a fight between a BJJ practitioner and an MMA fighter could honestly go either way. On the feet an MMA fighter has the definitive advantage and when it hits the ground then BJJ will prove victorious. Considering most fights hit the ground, then BJJ is the winner in this battle, but only by a small margin.
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