In 1988 Rorion, Relson, Royce, Renzo, & Rickson Gracie along with Carlos Machado are brought in by Chuck Norris to teach a seminar at the USAF(US Air Force). Today Chuck Norris is a BJJ black belt. The video was filmed by Danny Lane.
Kelvin Gastelum faces former title challenger Darren Till in the latter’s first bout at middleweight. While concerns were that Till might have a weight issue the Englishman weighed in at 186 lbs without needing a towel. Gastelum, on the other hand, needed a towel, and may have had help in making weight, decide for yourself…
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is the greatest thing that a man, woman or child can practice. This sounds like a bold statement but I would like to explain how a base of BJJ can open certain doors wide whilst closing doors that might be harmful. If you investigate the lives of those who practice BJJ you will notice a common thread; that Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most important things in their lives.
Why is BJJ so great? It is great for the youth because it teaches them coordination and confidence. It instills in children a mindset of antibullying and teaches them to defend themselves. For men it teaches us how to protect ourselves and our families. It makes us want to get in shape and stay in shape. It makes us throw down the cigarette and pick up protein powder. Women gain the ability to not only defend themselves against men, but to literally wreak havoc on the untrained male regardless of size. It allows women to have the confidence to act freely as they want without fear of repercussion. She will wear the two piece bikini and dare a gawker to act out of line.
So what are the main reasons every person should practice BJJ?
1. BJJ teaches people to deal with adversity
According to Merriam-Webster.com, adversity is defined as “a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.” The definition perfectly sums of a wrestling season. Each day presents difficulty and challenges. There is adversity in making time for BJJ in some cases, and making the money to afford it in others. There is adversity in learning a new skill. There is adversity overcoming the ego, which you will need to do. The sport of BJJ is filled with adversity, and a person can only become more resilient by it.
2. BJJ teaches people a strong work ethic
I would rival any grappler’s work ethic to most that of any other martial art. It’s inevitable that if a person sticks with BJJ, they will do things physically that most people will never do. We do more in our warmups then most people do all day. Most people will never go 100% in live combat with another person. Most people’s success will never be measured on the mats against another opponent. You either win or fail. There is only one winner and one loser in each match. That alone teaches a grappler the value of working hard and pushing themselves. To be successful in Jiu-Jitsu, you have to work hard.
3. BJJ teaches people to struggle
I value struggling when accomplishing a task. It is a trait that I learned doing Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ is a struggle. You start out getting beaten by everyone every time. You are put into terribly uncomfortable positions and are forced to find a way to survive. Everyone needs to learn how to fight, grind, and continue to move forward. Being OK with struggling (and pain), toughens us up and allows us to work through times when things are not going well. The average person usually quits when situations get difficult. We who do BJJ learn to thrive off of struggle.
4. BJJ teaches people to sacrifice
I know people will say that losing weight, “starving” yourself and working out while famished is unhealthy or dumb. However, you can learn a lot from all three. When I started BJJ, I lost a significant amount of weight. I DO NOT ADVOCATE SIGNIFICANT OR UNHEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS, but I learned a lot from doing it myself. I learned the value of sacrifice due to a weight management program. I learned how to go without. I learned how to be conscious of my body weight and what I can and cannot put into it. I took that learning experience of sacrifice and have applied it to nearly every area of my life. Sacrifice means to do things that you do not always want to do, but you do it anyway regardless of the difficulty or challenge. It also means that sometimes you have to deal with things that suck to get better.
5. BJJ teaches discipline
Losing weight or maintaining a certain weight requires discipline even for someone who is grappling frequently at their natural weight. Our body weight fluctuates daily. Some days you weigh 150 pounds and others 153 or 154 pounds without changing a thing. Jiu-Jitsu requires you to weigh a certain weight each contest. Right there is discipline in knowing that you have to be alert to your diet and fluid consumption. But the more considerable discipline is the daily grind of the sport. It is competing when you are tired, sore, and not 100%. Most people who practice BJJ hardly ever compete at a pure 100%. It’s almost impossible due to live combat in practice, conditioning exercises, and competition.
6. BJJ teaches self-reliance
Being an individual sport in nature, you learn to rely on yourself. It is a team sport, though, and you need teammates to be successful. No great grappler can do it without teammates. However, when it comes to competition, it is you and that other person. You learn a lot in those situations. Beating a tough opponent is exhilarating, and losing can be devastating. Those five minutes (the length of the average BJJ match below black belt) ultimately teach you how to rely on yourself. You have coaches and teammates supporting you from the sidelines, but it is you and only you. Many times in life it is you and only you. Do you see the similarity?
7. BJJ makes you stronger, more balanced and develops kinesthetic awareness
BJJ will make you stronger, lower your body fat, and improve your cardiovascular endurance. From grappling, you learn how to use and move your body effectively. The skills you learn in BJJ are transferable to every other sport. You see many successful professional athletes getting in extra training time by practicing Jiu-Jitsu.
8. BJJ teaches mental toughness
Although this is redundant to all the other reasons thus far, it needs explicitly stated. By default, a person will get mentally tougher from Jiu-Jitsu. The practices and competition alone will build mental toughness.
9. BJJ’s rewards are readily apparent
In many team sports, only the star player or skill players are recognized and rewarded for their efforts. In BJJ, it is easy to see success as a participant. When you win a match, it is you who won not a great quarterback or hitter that won the game for a team.
10. Grapplers are ALL shapes and sizes
Jiu-Jitsu is one of the few sports that anyone can compete due to weight classes. The shortest person can compete. The slowest person can compete. How many short, slow people are on a basketball team? How many 110-pound people are linebackers on the football team? Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t discriminate due to size or speed. With multiple age and weight classes at regional and national tournaments, anyone can do BJJ and be successful.
11. BJJ changes your mindset
Call it mental toughness or positive thinking, but after you have grappled, your mind changes, and it changes for the better. You see life differently. You view situations that were once difficult as just another common event. I can’t explain it, but wrestling has made me into a person who sees challenges as opportunities, tough times as things to be embraced, and hard work as the standard to be successful. Because of this, a grappler develops a certain air of confidence and self-esteem that makes them feel that all things are possible with time, perseverance, and working hard.
The points above are why all people should try Jiu-Jitsu. Please reach out to us if you have questions about the sport of BJJ. It is hard. It will be challenging, especially when you start out. There is a lot to learn to be successful. Most people lose much more than they win in the beginning. It is never too late to start. BJJ is school for adults. The lessons grapplers learn stay with them for a lifetime.
If you see his name in your blue belt bracket just assume that you are coming home with silver 😂.
Man, we are so fortunate to have a guy like @carloscondit be a part of @darkhavenstudio. He’s got 20 years of grappling, striking, and mma experience and is a legend in the sport yet still teaches striking classes and participates in the Jiu Jitsu classes to continue learning.
He’s one of my toughest, best training partners and I was shocked when he said he’s never been belted. I can’t let that fly 😂.
I’m honored to call him @10pabq’s newest blue belt.
(And he’s immediately the toughest blue belt on the planet.) #10p4l #10wo @ 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Albuquerque
A nice, light hearted (but heavy handed) video that shows the importance of keeping your hands up in a fight. It doesn’t take a lot of force to knock someone out if the punch is not seen. It’s always the punch that you don’t see that gets you.
Enjoy! Check out our other videos here -> https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf0jIUVEo1Hgh53XC-QXSvaZWQIZzjgZ6
In the early days there was no real separation between jiujitsu and vale tudo. To train jiujitsu was to be ready to fight, in the street or in the ring, against anyone at any time. It was this way when I came up through the ranks.
Over time there became an unhealthy division between modern tournament jiujitsu, mixed martial arts, and self-defense. Development in any system always comes with specialization, but at what point is it necessary to step back and understand that fractured systems are damaged ones. That something once designed to be expressed in many contexts has disintegrated into isolated pockets of knowledge.
The true art of jiujitsu can be found in those techniques which require minimal or no modification whether performed for self-defense or the tournament game.
The true mindset of jiujitsu is budō. To be ready to fight or compete at any time, in any rule set, without weight classes or time limits, and if necessary to the death. It is also to live as a warrior and face every adversity in life with courage and honor. Without these ideals jiujitsu is nothing.
The majority of Jiu-Jitsu academies have less than 15 people on the mat in a given session. At these academies most students will be white or blue belts with very few higher belts on the mat. These numbers are likely to be even lower if you live in a small town or a remote part of the country. The lack of higher level training opponents can sometimes make it more difficult to improve your skills once you reach a particular level.
Major gyms such as ATOS and Renzo Gracie’s that have dozens of black belts and lots of high level competitors on the mat at every session are extremely rare. People who train at these academies tend to move city and even country in order to train at these locations. However moving city or joining a new gym is not an option for everyone. Most people train BJJ for fun and do not wish to pursue it as a career.
Despite the lack of high level training partners you can still ensure that you are learning by training a little bit smarter. Here are some tips on how you can ensure that your rate of progress is maintained in such a scenario.
Creating a curriculum to follow is a great way to make sure you stay focused on getting better. Without a curriculum you are at risk of going from class to class without any significant improvement of knowledge. If you are not focused on learning specific new techniques there is the risk that you will continue to use the same few techniques over and over. This will help you perfect those techniques but it may come at the cost of your overall game.
A curriculum gives you a road map to follow. The curriculum can focus on positions, sequences, and submissions and have set periods dedicated to learning each different element/ A good curriculum will include constant revision and .
A journal is a great place to track your progress along the curriculum and is also a useful tool to help you remember what you have learned.
Compete (a lot!)
There is no doubt that competing helps to improve your skills. By competing you get a chance to test your skills against other grapplers at your level. You also get to put the things you have learned in training into practice to see if they actually work. Competition is also a great way of finding the holes in your game and giving you a clear direction on what you need to work on.
Another benefit of competition is that it gives you something for which to aim. If you plan on competing it will help to focus your training and keep you motivated to keep training and getting better. Try and book competitions a couple of months out so that you can do full training camps in which you aim to peak for the event.
If possible try and compete in different rule sets and formats. Competing in both Gi and Nogi with different rules will help you become a better rounded grappler. You can always choose to specialize in one format but initially it is a good idea to get experience in both.
Smoothcomp is a good place to check out upcoming competitions in your area.
Be prepared to travel
If you live in a remote location and are serious about improving your Jiu-Jitsu you need to be prepared to travel. You don’t need to travel everyday but you should try and identify training and learning opportunities and plan trips accordingly.
Identify high level training partners in nearby locations and connect with them on social media. This will allow you keep abreast of training opportunities and will also be useful if you want to organize your own training sessions.
Also try to keep an eye out for seminars and open mats. These are great places to meet other Jiu-Jitsu practitioners who may be in a similar situation to you.
Study the Pro’s
This is one of the best ways to improve in my opinion. When you see a high level black belt hit a move in competition on another black belt you know for sure that the technique being used works. YouTube tutorials can often be misleading and their effectiveness in live sparring may be limited.
The best place to start when studying the Pro’s is to pick a grappler that has a similar body type to you. Watch as many of their matches as possible and after a while you may begin to see spot sequences and moves that you can incorporate into your own game. Try to replicate the sequences and moves in your own training through trial and error until it starts to work. Keeping notes on your video breakdowns will help make the steps more clear and easier for you to incorporate into your training.
There is a ton of free competition footage on YouTube and when you run out of that you can look into getting a Flograppling subscription.
Train to your opponents strengths
This is a great way to fix gaps in your game and is a smart way to train when sparring opponents are limited. Take the example of when you face a strong opponent with good Judo. In this scenario your ground game is superior and it is tempting to simply pull guard and work your advantage. However in cases with limited training partners it is more beneficial to resist this urge. Instead take the chance to work on your standup and do this continually to point where your standup is equal to your opponent.
Every sparring opponent has their own strengths. Identifying these strengths and putting yourself in their favorite positions is a great way to improve quickly.
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(Highlight video of all 11 grapplers above. Detailed description of each grappler follows.)
What makes someone the greatest ever? Is it the number of times he’s stood up on the podium? Or is it the many years he’s dedicated to martial arts; living, breathing and sleeping on the mats, all because of his love for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)? For the fighters we mention in this article, it is all of the above.
Today, we discuss the greatest male grapplers to ever live!
1) Roger Gracie
No list would ever be complete without Roger Gracie. We have him as our #1 greatest competitor of all time, Roger is a 14 x BJJ World Champion (12 golds in the Black Belt division) as well as an MMA fighter. He is known for his deep knowledge of BJJ fundamentals, enabling him to win many of his matches with simple submissions and positions.
Like we said earlier, we have Roger as our GOAT. The rest can be ranked in various orders. Many will argue that Roger is not the greatest BJJ grappler of all time. To say that he isn’t top 3 however would be silly.
Roger Gracie Gomes (born September 26, 1981) is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner (14x world champion) and a mixed martial artist. A member of the Gracie family, he is the son of Reila Gracie (daughter of Carlos Gracie) and Mauricio Motta Gomes. Roger was awarded his black belt by his cousin Renzo Gracie at the behest of Carlos Gracie, Jr. whilst training in New York in 2003. He is currently a fourth degree black belt. Roger Gracie is the founder and head instructor at The Roger Gracie Academy located in Kensington, London, England. Notable Black belt promotions include Raymond Stevens, Nicolas Gregoriades and Kywan Gracie Behring. Roger is an active mixed martial arts competitor, and is the former ONE World Cruiserweight (now Light Heavyweight) Champion.
2) Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida
The youngest amongst legends on our list, Buchecha has already earned quite an impressive reputation in the BJJ community. Before reaching the age of 20, Buchecha had already won the (weight and absolute division) 2012, 2013, and 2014 BJJ World Championship. Known for his explosive style and extreme athleticism, there is no doubt that great things are in store for this young competitor.
3) Marcelo Garcia
A 5x BJJ World Champion and 4x ADCC World Champion, there is no doubt that Marcelo deserves one of the top spots on our list. Although Marcelo fights at the middleweight division, he has fought many times in the absolute division, often with great results. In fact, one of his claims to fame was defeating BJJ legends Renzo Gracie and Vitor Ribeiro as a brown belt in 2003.
4) Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Currently a fighter for the UFC in the middleweight division, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is possibly one of the most decorated BJJ practitioners in MMA today. A 3x BJJ World Champion and 2x ADCC World Champion, he is one of the few BJJ competitors who has defeated the legendary Roger Gracie. In this famous match, it was reported that Jacare had fought the remainder of the fight with one arm, after refusing to tap to an armbar from Gracie.
5) Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles
Considered to be one of the greatest featherweights in BJJ history, Cobrinha is a 4x BJJ World Champion and a 2x ADCC World Champion. Extremely agile and flexible, Cobrinha’s BJJ style is very Capoeira based (Cobrinha is also a Capoeira Master). Although Cobrinha still competes regularly, he also teaches at his own academy in California.
6) Rafael Mendes
The other half of the famous Mendes brothers, Rafael Mendes is up there with Cobrinha as one of the greatest featherweights in BJJ. Known for popularizing the berimbolo and the 50-50 guard, Rafa was also an exceptionally talented student. In fact, he has won all BJJ World Championships from blue belt all the way to brown consecutively, achieving the bronze in his first year as a Black Belt in 2009 and winning his first gold medal at Black Belt the year after.
7) Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro
A 6x BJJ World Champion and 2x ADCC World Champion, Xande Ribeiro is ranked #1 on BJJ Heroes’ Top 10 BJJ Fighters Of All Time and is also known as the best pound-for-pound BJJ fighter. Xande often competes in the absolute division, using flawless technique and athleticism to overwhelm his opponents. Today, he teaches at University of Jiu-Jitsu with his brother, Saulo Ribeiro.
8) Saulo Ribeiro
The author of University of Jiu-Jitsu, Saulo’s technical knowledge of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is unparalleled. A 5x BJJ World Champion, he has fought and won in four different weight classes: middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight. Currently a 5th degree Black Belt, Saulo is also a lawyer and a judge.
9) Fernando “Terere” Augusto
Most commonly known as “Terere”, he is considered by many of the Black Belts on the Evolve Instructor Team as one of the greatest and most exciting BJJ legends in history. Known for his agility and quick reflexes, Terere is a 2x BJJ World Champion, a Pan-American Champion, South-American Champion, Copa do Mundo Champion, and Brazilian National Champion.
10) Leonardo “Leozinho” Vieira
Watching Leozinho move on the mats is simply a sight to behold. One of the most technical and exciting competitors to watch, he is a 2x ADCC World Champion and a BJJ World Champion. As the head of Checkmat, one of the most exciting teams in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu today, he has helped coach some of the greatest names in BJJ such as Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida and Lucas Leite.
11) Rickson Gracie
Possibly one of the greatest BJJ legends, one would expect nothing less from the son of Master Helio Gracie. Rumor has it that he is undefeated across several martial arts, including BJJ, Judo, Sambo, and MMA. Also known as one of the first legitimate MMA fighters, Rickson is responsible for promoting the Gracie name outside Brazil.
These BJJ legends, regardless of their place in history, have garnered achievements that truly stand the test of time. Whether we are BJJ practitioners or not, there’s no doubt that these martial artists have reached a level of greatness that only happens once in a lifetime.