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LUTA LIVRE VS BJJ
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LUTA LIVRE VS BJJ

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Luta Livre and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu share a common theme which is apparent in grappling vs jiu jitsu, they both are exceptional submission grappling arts. Both Martial Arts originated from Brazil and have a formidable technical background, as the history and fued between the two have famously spilled over into the streets and beaches of Brazil. BJJ and Luta Livre have spawned a similar rivalry like the one between jiu jitsu and muay thai, as both Martial Arts claim to be the number one fighting system.

Lutre Livre Expert Nicolas Renier is here to show you how to attack the guard!

lutre livre bjj grappling

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a high energy and a smooth transition system. It uses a series of dominating control positions to subdue an opponent. The end goal for a BJJ practitioner is to secure submissions like choke holds or joint locks. In Luta Livre there are two different styles, esportiva which means sporting and vale tudo which means anything goes. In esportiva competitors can only use grappling techniques as it is important to use strategy to execute submissions like armlocks, leglocks, choke holds, or to win by accumulating points. In Vale Tudo there are no rules so competitors can use striking to a standing or downed opponent.

What This Article Covers:

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THE ORIGIN OF LUTA LIVRE

The origin of Luta Livre began in 1927 when Euclydes Tatu Hatem, who was originally a catch wrestler, developed the system of fighting. Euclydes began teaching catch wrestling techniques to many students in Rio de Janeiro. Euclydes also started to experiment with some of his own creative and innovative movements. Euclydes invited many challengers including the Gracie clan and its Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as he vowed to become the prominent fighting system in Brazil. Luta Livre began to build momentum after Euclydes defeated George Gracie in a catch wrestling matchup in 1940. This began to highly emphasise the importance of his art without wearing a Gi.

In 1968 one of Euclydes Hatem's students named Euclides Pereira defeated Carlson Gracie, as the popularity of Luta Livre soared and so did the rivalry. The art of Luta Livre incorporated leg locks which had been overlooked by the Gracie's at that time, the leg lock system was of great importance to the Vale Tudo side of Luta Livre. For years, the art of Luta Livre was extremely popular in Brazil, and was second only to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In the 1970's Luta Livre was heavily influenced by Fausto and Carlos Brunocilla, two of Euclydes' students. The Brunocilla father son duo were responsible for many Luta Livre fighters graduating in the art. Another influence on the sport was Roberto Leitao, a student of judo and wrestling, who was extremely articulate and put together the Theory of Grappling. 

In the early days of Luta Livre's development, the art was considered to be for poor kids who could not afford to buy a Gi. Luta Livre and BJJ were highly competitive against each other as some considered them to be enemies. The rivalry became like the future rivalry of bjj vs mma, as many argue over which art shaped the latter. There seemed to be a cultural difference between the two arts as Luta Livre was taught to the poor who were primarily of African descent and lived in favelas. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on the other hand focused on teaching to the upper class, who were basically light skinned. By the 1980s, Gracie Jiu Jitsu had become the number one Brazilian art, so representatives of Luta Livre began accepting challenges from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champions in Vale Tudo and Submission matches. Some of the most famous matches included Rickson Gracie vs Hugo Duarte on the beaches of Brazil. This loss would hurt the reputation of Luta Livre as it was again rocked with Hugo's loss to Tank Abbott at UFC 17 by knockout. 

Eugenio Tadeu also lost to Wallid Ismael, as he was unable to re-enter the ring in the allotted time. Tadeu had an epic battle against Royler Gracie that ended in a draw, which regained some notoriety. In 1991 Desafio hosted a Jiu Jitsu vs Luta Livre card that had three fighters from each Martial Art represented. Luta Livre would end up losing all three fights as BJJ claimed triumph once again. There were many rivalries between camps as Rixon Gracie and future UFC Champion Marco Ruas neatly came to blows on more than one occasion. Renzo Gracie and Eugenio Tadeu kept the rivalry going, as their famous battle in 1997 ended in a No Contest due to the fans rioting. Nowadays Luta Livre is still gaining popularity in Brazil, as its Martial Art helped shape MMA and No Gi Grappling.

THE ORIGIN OF BJJ

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has had an eventful path that started with the arrival of Mitsuyo Maeda and his Judo and Jujitsu arts. After arriving in Brazil he began helping Japanese settlers and teaching prominent seminars across Brazil. Mitsuyo had a relationship with a successful businessman named Gastao Gracie who was the father of Carlos Gracie. Mitsuyo Maeda would end up teaching Carlos his philosophy and his Judo and Jujitsu techniques. Carlos would master the art and then pass it down to Helio Gracie, his younger brother. After Helio struggled with art he developed his own fighting system that worked for the little guy, this was the beginning of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. 

Helio would then teach his knowledge to all of the Gracie clan, as they became the prominent force in Brazilian Martial Arts. They had many challenges from Luta Livre, Catch Wrestlers and Pro Wrestlers, as the Gracie's disposed of many of their adversaries. The rivalry began to grow out of control as dojo storms and brutal fights broke out between many Brazilian camps. Rixon Gracie was always calm and met every challenge head on, as did Renzo Gracie. As the popularity grew so did the need to spread the art globally, so the Gracie clan expanded throughout the United States of America.

In the early 1990's Rorion Gracie set up a debut for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to showcase its skills on the big screen. The Ultimate Fighting Championship was a contest to see which Martial Art was the best, and Rorion opted to showcase the inexperienced Royce Gracie instead of the undefeated Rixon Gracie. Although Royce was nervous he still managed to win the event and put Gracie Jiu Jitsu firmly in the sights of all Americans. There was always politics involved in fighting and Rixon became fed up with Rorion's control so he left the family business. Rixon started his own academy, like many other Gracie clan members, and this spelt the beginning of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as we know it.

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HOW DOES BJJ STACK UP AGAINST LUTA LIVRE

Looking at a comparison between Luta Livre and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not unlike sambo vs jiu jitsu, as they all have significant grappling techniques. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu relies on speed, technique, leverage and intelligence to outwit their opponents. They use a series of control positions to subdue their opponents, before attempting submissions through fast paced and balanced transitions. 

Luta Livre has a similar matrix to BJJ, as it too uses control positions, transitions and submissions. A Luta Livre fighter commonly competes in Vale Tudo events, as their art utilises striking prowess to overpower their opponents. Luta Livre has been closely linked to modern day Martial Arts like MMA, as it bears resemblance to combat jiu jitsu vs krav maga

Both Martial Arts do stack up well against each other, as the arts are exceptionally close in functionality. This has become apparent with the ongoing feuds throughout the course of the last century. Many Luta Livre and BJJ fighters still have animosity between their camps, as the battles have spilled into the sidewalks of Brazil numerous times throughout the last century. 

WHICH ART HAS A BETTER TRAINING PROGRAM

In a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy the training regime can be extremely repetitious, as the technique portion of the session can sometimes become arduous. Most BJJ academies have a really good coaching staff, meaning that students will receive profound guidance as they look to improve within the art. Rolling in an academy will put a student under some highly stressful scenarios, which will teach them how to make the appropriate decisions. The training regime is similar to boxing as both arts bjj or boxing can be trained full contact under duress at a high intensity level.

Most BJJ sessions include a series of warmup drills, which include traditional movements that directly correlate with certain techniques. Instructors will then teach a couple of techniques whether that is a sweep and a counter, or guard passes or submission and escapes. After the technique segment is done students will usually roll in an open mat environment. This is so a student can battle test everything they know as they try to develop their fighting systems.

In a Luta Livre training session, you could expect something really similar to BJJ, as the two arts are quite cohesive. Luta Livre is an art that does not wear a Gi, so the movements are similar to No Gi BJJ. There is striking involved with Luta Livre, as the training can be quite like MMA training. There is a lot of body conditioning, practising techniques, and rolling with high level practitioners. This training is under even more stress than BJJ as instinctive striking is a part of the arts proud history.

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WHAT DIFFERENCES ARE THERE BETWEEN BJJ AND LUTA LIVRE

There are not a lot of differences between these two popular and famous Martial Arts. As both of these grappling arts have significant skills in submission, transitioning and body control. Both of these arts have also spawned great Mixed Martial Artists that have gone onto become UFC Champions and legends of the sport.

In Luta Livre the belt ranking system is slightly different to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The Brazilian Luta Livre Federation did create a curriculum, and a grading system which is also similar to the  Brazilian Judo ranking system. Even though Luta Livre does not wear a Gi they can still choose to wear their belts. The belt rankings are divided into three categories: beginners which have three belts a white, yellow and orange. The second category is the intermediate level which is just the blue belt. The last category is the advanced, where students will earn a purple, brown and black belt and at these levels they are allowed to be instructors. 

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the ranking system has no categories, just belts. As an adult student the first belt is the white belt, this is known as the novice belt. Moving through the ranks students will earn their blue belts, followed by a purple belt, then the brown belt and finally the coveted black belt which will take a minimum of ten years to achieve for most people. There are two coral belts but a student must serve 31 and 38 years as an active black belt to achieve this, and 48 and 58 years to receive the illustrious 9th and 10th degree red belt, which is only available to Gracie clan members. 

The biggest difference between these two Martial Arts is the fact that Luta Livre uses a no holds barred ruleset during their Vale Tudo events. BJJ does not utilise strikes unless it is fighting in Combat Jiu Jitsu which is only open palm strikes. Vale Tudo can be quite a brutal sport as competitors have been able to use headbuts and stomps to the head. Luta Livre also does not wear a Gi as they compete in a very similar uniform to the No Gi grappling system. 

SO WHO WOULD WIN IN A FIGHT BETWEEN BJJ AND LUTA LIVRE

These two Martial Arts have the most comparison then any other fighting systems on the planet. Both arts use a highly complicated system of grappling techniques that require tremendous amounts of dexterity, agility, flexibility, strength, patience, intelligence and creativity. A Luta Livre fighter has an advantage due to their ability to utilise the striking game. If the fight is allowed Luta Livre to strike and BJJ not to strike, then Luta Livre will overpower its older and stronger brother in BJJ. 

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difference between lutre livre and bjj

The problem Luta Livre does face is that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a more comprehensive series of techniques, meaning there are more tools in their arsenal. You only have to go back to the 1960's and 1970's when Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was defeating Luta Livre hands down. There have been many exceptional fighters coming out of both disciplines over the years, but in terms of which art will win this fight then Brazilian Jiu Jitsu seems to be the more powerful Martial Art. 

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