Archive for the ‘Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)’ Category

BJJ vs Judo

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Before MMA, UFC, BJJ and other combat-related TLAs, there was Gracie vs. Kimura; or, in today’s terms,  ‘Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) vs Judo.’

The date was 1955, Dana White still a gleam in his father’s eye.  The 38-year-old Kimura was to fight a slightly older and lighter Hélio Gracie in what was known as a submission Judo match.

Taking place in Gracie’s native Brazil in front of 20,000 martial arts fans, the bout lasted just over 13 minutes, and saw Gracie repeatedly thrown, battered, smothered and man-handled by the most famous Judoka of the time – Kimura.

A true warrior, Gracie refused to submit – even as Kimura was breaking his arm.  As a result, Gracie’s corner threw in the towel to prevent further injury.

Ironically,  the arm lock that resulted in Gracie’s broken arm would later be called the Kimura Arm Lock – also known in BJJ and MMA circles as the Kimura* –  paying homage to the Japanese Judoka.

*Known in Judo as ude garami (arm entanglement)

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The Great G.O.A.T. Debate

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

By Matt Larkin

Guest Writer

Any time a superstar in a sport gives a signature performance, it’s common for fans to start up a “Greatest of All Time” or “G.O.A.T.” discussion. MMA is no different from any other sport; after Anderson Silva’s decimation of Yushin Okami last Saturday, people are wondering if it’s safe to call him the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

It especially helps The Spider’s cause that (a) Fedor Emelianenko has destroyed his legacy over the last year to the point where he’s not even in the running and (b) Despite his continued dominance, Georges St-Pierre has lulled us into forgetting how good he is because of his conservative, uninspired efforts of late.

To me, the interesting part of the G.O.A.T. debate in MMA isn’t whether or not it’s Anderson Silva. To me, there’s no question right now. He holds the record for consecutive UFC wins and title defenses and he has never lost in the Octagon.

The more fascinating hot topic I’ve stumbled upon lately is whether or not MMA is old enough to have a G.O.A.T. Some people believe that, because MMA is so young, it can’t have a greatest of all time yet. People of this mindset believe that we haven’t even scratched the surface of how good mixed martial artists can be, and that the next superstars, physical freaks in the Jon Jones/Rory MacDonald mode, will be far superior to guys like Silva when their careers end.

Personally, I think it’s ludicrous to say that a G.O.A.T. can’t exist. It’s implied that the greatest of all time is always the greatest of all time so far. Even if MMA was one year old, it would still have the right of having a “greatest.” Royce Gracie held that honor in the 1990s, and deservedly so. He was an innovator whose Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu changed the sport forever.

Anderson Silva deserves his G.O.A.T status just as much. He, too is a trailblazer because of his amazing grace, evasiveness, accuracy, showmanship and finishing ability. He’s a Muay Thai version of Muhammad Ali.

The best way I can close the debate on whether or not a young sport can have a G.O.A.T: saying that Anderson Silva doesn’t deserve the title yet would be like saying in 80 years ago that Babe Ruth didn’t deserve it in his sport because “baseball was still too young.”

Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu still “work” in MMA?

Monday, June 20th, 2011

By Matt Larkin

Guest Writer


Following his victory over Jon Olav Einemo at UFC 131 two weeks ago, heavyweight prospect Dave Herman made a bold statement that has the MMA community abuzz.

He said Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu “doesn’t work.” The statement came after he beat the BJJ master Einemo with strikes. Herman elaborated to say that it more specifically doesn’t work on a wrestler like him, that it’s mere “trickery” and that it worked better on opponents  who knew nothing about it, as it did when Royce Gracie baffled guys in the early UFC days.

Wow. Talk about Controversial. Do you agree?

I wouldn’t say I fully agree or disagree, but that there is some merit to what Herman says. Do I think BJJ is ineffective? Absolutely not. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t see so many guys finishing fights via submission every week and we wouldn’t see so many non-BJJ fighters adding it to their repertoire.

I do, however, agree that the pure BJJ practitioner can no longer dominate in MMA. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been beaten down by superior strikers; Royce Gracie returned to the sport only to get ragdolled by Matt Hughes’ wrestling a few years ago; and Demian Maia has been forced to learn boxing after his lack of versatility caused him to hit a roadblock in the middleweight division.

The problem with BJJ as a pure offensive technique is that it’s a form of grappling and it inherently requires strength. In the early days, it was so new and deceptive that the technique could conquer a wrestler or striker’s girth. Now, every fighter has at least some understanding of BJJ and submission defense. As a result, BJJ guys have more and more trouble bringing the fight to their comfort zone.

Look at this past weekend’s Alistair Overeem/Fabricio Werdum fight. The BJJ black belt Werdum wanted to get Overeem to the ground and submit him, so he kept pulling guard, but Overeem was just too strong for him. Werdum couldn’t control his opponent.

Wrestling is a much more effective base in MMA today largely because it goes hand-in-hand with strength and conditioning. Dominant wrestlers tend to also be dominant physical specimens who can impose their will on their opponents.

To me, there is still absolutely a place for BJJ in mixed martial arts today, but I no longer see it as an effective base skill. It works far better as a complementary skill, used to finish off weakened opponents (like Kenny Florian does with his chokes) or as a defense (like Anderson Silva used against Travis Lutter and Chael Sonnen).

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Is BJJ Master Royce Gracie returning to the UFC?

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Matt Larkin
Guest Writer

It’s funny to think that, less than a year ago, I was wondering how Royce Gracie would fare today. As it turns out, we may have that question answered this summer.

The UFC is headed to Rio de Janeiro this summer, making its first visit to Brazil since 1998. Naturally, Brazilian MMA superstars like Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua are expected to line up for their chance to fight on that card. But it was quite the shock to hear the other day that Royce Gracie is considering suiting up at that event as well.

Particularly fascinating was Gracie’s quote this week, which makes it look like the UFC has already given him the OK to return at age 44:

“This return of UFC to Brazil touched me, made me feel the wish of coming back to the Octagon. Everything has been negotiated with Dana White. Let’s wait and see.” So would the most famous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner of all time have a chance at success in the modern UFC? If they brought him back, the UFC would need to choose his opponent strategically.

Here are some ideas that come to mind:

BJ PENN

BJ fights in February but would be ready to fight again come August. Gracie would likely fight at 170 pounds and BJ fights there right now. This would be a legendary grappling battle, though I think BJ would dominate the striking.

MATT HUGHES

Maybe this is been there, done that? Then again, Hughes is on his last legs. The playing field is more level than it was when they met several years ago during Hughes’ prime.

DEMIAN MAIA

Gracie would have to put on a bit of weight for this one but it’s not like Maia is a huge 185-pounder. This would be a battle between, arguably, the best BJJ practitioners of their generations.

MATT SERRA

This might be an interesting matchup because (a) Serra would talk solid trash to hype it up and (b) Serra is past his prime, meaning Gracie would have a shot against him.

JOSH KOSCHECK

Koscheck seems like the brash, loudmouth type that Gracie loves to shut up. This fight would get plenty of media coverage and, ultimately, would probably give Koscheck a win and a springboard back up the welterweight ladder.

BROCK LESNAR

Don’t laugh. For one, Gracie got famous by beating and submitting men 100 pounds heavier than him when he dominated the UFC’s early days. Secondly, Gracie openly requested a bout with Brock Lesnar a couple years ago.

Those are just a handful of hypothetical opponents that would interest me. The greater question, however, is whether or not Royce Gracie should attempt this comeback at all. The idea is exciting in principle but what if he can’t cut it anymore? It would be a shame to see a legend get torn down on his home soil. 

BJJ Club Toronto,  North York, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

Canadian Submission Expo taps on Toronto’s door this September

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Everyone has his or her own favorite discipline in martial arts. Some prefer the speed and explosiveness of striking; others like the power and endurance displayed by wrestlers.

For the fan who gravitates toward the strategy and artistry of submission fighting, there’s a can’t-miss date to mark on calendar next month. On September 19, the Canadian Submission Expo arrives in Toronto.

The Expo runs from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Martingove Collegiate on Wintern Drive and features an exciting main event. Canadian Shane Rice, a Rickson Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, will battle Brazil’s Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles.

Rice, a mixed martial artist, enters the bout on a hot streak. He won his last three bouts via first-round submission.

Landing Charles for the main event is a huge coup for the Canadian Submission expo. Charles is a six-time world BJJ champion and considered by most to be the best featherweight submission grappler of the past decade. He’s not down and out if he winds up on his back; fellow world champions voted his guard the best of the last 10 years.

Advance tickets are available for $20 each. Other action at the Canadian Submission Expo includes Absolute Finals from Bravado Open in the male blue belt, male open belt and female open belt classes. Some no-gi matches will also appear on the card. In total, fans can expect to see 10 matches.

Don’t be surprised if some internationally renowned grapplers pop up in the crowd. Fighters like the UFC’s Mark Bocek have been known to attend the event in the past.

Anxious to test your own submission skills and compete at the Expo? Prospective competitors can have their coach or instructor e-mail bjjfighter@rogers.com.

BJJ Toronto,  North York, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

Which Martial Art is Best? Part 5: BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Our quest to find the world’s best martial art continues with an extremely popular and effective form of grappling: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

You can’t mention BJJ without almost immediately thinking of the legendary Gracie family. Several generations back, the Gracies learned about Judo from famous student Mitsuyo Maeda and eventually developed their own form of ground fighting – which eventually became BJJ.

Like Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on understanding an opponent’s body mechanics and using leverage to gain an upper hand. And, like judokas, BJJ practitioners can successfully engage opponents much larger or “stronger” than they are.

But BJJ differs from Judo in that it focuses more on submissions via chokes and joint locks and less on throws and takedowns. The best BJJ fighters in the world are masters of exploiting exposed limbs for submissions and using their hips to pass opponents’ guards on the ground; they can also mount offensive attacks even while pinned on their back – something fighters in few if any other disciplines can do.

Famous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners: Royce Gracie, BJ Penn, Demian Maia

Royce Gracie is living proof that BJJ can defeat almost any individual fighting style on its own, as he regularly tapped out men 50-100 pounds heavier than him, including wrestlers, boxers and countless other fighters, during the early days of Ultimate Fighting. Demian Maia is the closest thing today to a modern Gracie, as he almost exclusively uses the grappling game to defeat opponents.

In the era of the modern martial artist – the mixed martial artist – the game is changing. Now that fighters can combine various standup and ground styles, BJJ can’t dominate and confuse opponents on its own the way it used to. Famous BJJ practitioner BJ Penn uses his flexibility to set up countless submissions but he also uses boxing to launch powerful standing attacks. It’s thus no coincidence that Maia is working on his striking to prepare for a UFC title match against Anderson Silva.

There’s no question that BJJ is among the best martial arts in the world today. But is it the best base for a fighter? I’m not so sure anymore. It doesn’t develop fighters’ striking ability at all, nor does it focus on fitness and endurance the way a grappling style like wrestling does.

By Matt Larkin
Guest Writer

BJJ Club Toronto,  North York, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

How would Royce Gracie fare today?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Reading today’s headline, you probably think I have amnesia. We already know the answer to that question. Royce Gracie fought Matt Hughes as a 39-year-old at UFC 60 and got his clock cleaned.

But when I ask how Gracie would fare today, I don’t mean Gracie in the twilight of his career. I mean Gracie in his UFC 1 heyday – the Gracie who dominated an infantile sport that didn’t yet understand the concept of mixed martial arts. The gi-clad man who dominated guys 100 pounds heavier than him with then-unseen Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tactics.

If we took that Gracie today and placed him in, say, the UFC welterweight division, how would he fare?

When we look at a fighter like Demian Maia, considered by many fight fans to be the best BJJ practitioner on the planet right now, we see a good example of what Gracie would probably be today. In a world of mixed martial arts, Maia is as close as you’ll find to a one-dimensional fighter today. He has no standup game; his only goal is to get opponents to the ground and start grappling. As he showed against solid fighters like Chael Sonnen and Nate Quarry, he can go a long way solely with his BJJ.

However, the Nate Marquardt fight – one in which Nate the Great’s boxing immediately overwhelmed Maia – showed that Maia’s skills could only take him so far. And I think the same would happen to Royce Gracie today. The modern fighter is an eclectic fighter, combining multiple disciplines. Just look at the striking and wrestling prowess of Georges St-Pierre; having one strong suit can no longer lead a fighter to a championship.

That said, I’m overlooking two key factors. First, it’s never fair to compare athletes from different eras. Alexander Ovechkin could’ve challenged Wayne Gretzky’s records had he played hockey in the same era. Also, we can’t overlook how dedicated and intelligent Royce Gracie was as a fighter. How do we know he wouldn’t adapt to the modern MMA landscape and develop his striking in today’s world?

Food for thought, but what do I know?

By Matt Larkin
Guest Writer

BJJ Club Toronto,  North York, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

Fabricio Werdum in Toronto

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Fabricio Werdum will be appearing at Beatdown Sports in Toronto on November 20th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

A Brazilian mixed martial artist, Werdum is also two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, two-time ADCC world heavyweight champion and European Jiu-Jitsu champion.

He holds a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a Brown Belt in Judo and has competed in Pride Fighting Championships, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and he recently made his Strikeforce debut on August 15, 2009

Werdum holds an MMA record of 13-4 with notable wins over Brandon Vera, Gabriel Gonzaga and Aleksander Emalienko.

Contact Beatdown Sports in Toronto at 647-430-4999 for more information.

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2009 Canadian Submission Expo

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

The ‘2009 Canadian Submission Expo’ will take place on Sunday September 20th at Martingrove Collegiate.

Showcasing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Grappling, the tournament will host top competitors from Ontario, Quebec and Internationally including a Pan Am Champion, Mundial Champion, Mundial Double medalist, 2 Fila grappling National Champions and Abu Dhabi Pro National Champion.

Divisions will include both ‘Gi’ and ‘No Gi.’

More Details

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Royce Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Seminar

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Royce Gracie – the original Ultimate Fighter and winner of UFC 1 – will be holding a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) seminar (Gi Required) in Hamilton, Ontario.

The seminar will take place on Monday September 14th from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and will be held at Joslin’s Mixed Martial Arts.

The cost is $120.00 with limited availability.

For more information, e-mail info@jeffjoslinmma.com