There was a time when BJJ was relatively unknown. Effective martial arts were seen as Karate, Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing. Then Friday, 12th November 1993, Royce Gracie changed that. In one night he showed the world just why BJJ is so effective in a fight situation.
Was Royce the first to use BJJ to win a fight
Although Royce would show the world that night, style v style match ups had been happening for a while in America and Brazil. These fights went like a script and followed a very similar pattern. Striker walks forward wanting to punch or kick. Whilst walking into that range he doesn’t realise that he is in a “shooting range”. BJJ practitioner shoots for a takedown. Striker gets taken down and maybe throws a few ineffective punches. The BJJ fighter then does what we do. Pass the guard, take mount then the back and apply a submission.
If at any point the BJJ fighter was on the bottom the script went Guard Pull, Sweep, Mount/Back, Submission.
You can type “BJJ vs” into Youtube and there are an enormous amount of videos of exactly what I have written above. Usually with a Brazilian with the surname ‘Gracie’.
The UFC as an advert for BJJ
It was actually Royce Gracie’s older brother Rorian Gracie who had the idea of a hugely marketed event. With no rounds, no scores and no judges. The fights would take place in a cage. The reason for this is actually because, knowing how each fight would take place, Rorian did not want the opportunity for fighters to fall out of a ring and have to be restarted when the fight went to the floor. Giving any BJJ practitioner a huge advantage There would be 2 fighters and 1 referee who would stop fighters carrying on if their opponent became knocked out or wanted to give up by tapping out in submission.
Yeah but, WHY is BJJ so effective in a fight?
At the core of things, the reason why BJJ is so effective in a fight is because it combats all of a person’s usual instinct of what to do in a fight to be safe. It is mostly counter intuitive to try to go to the floor in a fight. The reason being that moving on the floor is much harder than standing up. If on the floor, you would never want to be the one on the bottom…. unless you had even the fundamentals of BJJ. If you did, you would know how to get to a closed guard and sweep or choose to end the fight there. Usually with a choke or joint lock and sometimes strikes of your own.
When someone with no BJJ experience is on their back, their instinct is usually to turn onto their front. This is like giving a BJJ practitioner a gift. We spend a lot of time looking to get to that position as its so easy to finish a fight there. This is based on teaching 1000’s of beginners over the years.
How long does it take someone to learn BJJ?
To learn the fundamental positions and submissions of BJJ, about 6 months (which is a VERY good investment of time). However to understand the positions and be able to move between them in a masterful way it can take a lot longer. If you speak to the highest level black belts, you will hear them say that they are still always learning. My instructor, Mauricio Gomes, is an 8th degree coral belt (meaning he has been a black belt well over 30 years). He learned the art from Rolls Gracie and is the father of Roger Gracie.
When ever I train with him he shows me something new that he has learned or figured out. He is amazing. Who is Mauricio Gomes
That’s great but I am never going to be in a fight
As well as being used for self defence and protection, BJJ is highly effective as a tool for self development, helping tackle mental issues and all round health and fitness. BJJ and Mental Health
On mats across the world you will see and hear stories of people that have changed their whole lives with BJJ. They have used it to become better spouses, parents and people in general.
Where can I learn BJJ
Anywhere and everywhere. There are places to train BJJ all across the country. My own schools are in Sheffield and Mansfield and I travel to Oxford, London, Birmingham And Manchester to learn. A quick google search will show you lots of places. My advice is use any free trial they offer and try as many schools in the area that you can get to. Find the one you like, with the best coaches and training partners, and train there.