Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is currently in a transition period with a rift in the community. On one side you have the traditionalist that are closed minded about the rapidly evolving Grappling game, and want to just perfect the fundamentals. On the other side, you have what we can call “new school practitioners” that often compete in Gi, No Gi grappling and that are pushing the grappling game to new levels with highly creative techniques that keep evolving.
Sport style Jiu-Jitsu is flourishing while the traditional Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for self defense is instructed by a few dedicated instructors. Parts of the Gracie family are maintaining the tradition and not wanting to teach sport based techniques that do not have much use in a street fight.
In a interview with Submission Radio, Royce compares Jiu-Jitsu’s evolution to Taekwondo:
“What’s ruining martial arts today is tournaments. Tournaments like point system tournaments. Like a taekwondo for instance. Taekwondo wasn’t built to score points. It was built to hit and knock the person out, but then the tournaments now, they don’t even have to hit the opponents. If they get close enough they score the point. It’s teaching the fighters how not to hit somebody. It’s like people want to compete. No. People want do martial arts. They don’t do the martial art because they’re interested in competing. They look for martial arts because they want to learn some kind of self-defense.”
Gracie further went on to say in an interview with BloodyElbow :
What about Jiu-Jitsu, do you think it evolved at all in the past 20 years?
I think it got horrible.
Jiu-Jitsu got horrible?
Horrible. Got really-really bad in the past 20 years. It added so many rules. Like you cannot slam the guy – I just saw a fight, on the internet, somebody was fighting, one guy got the other one, I think in a guillotine. The opponent picked him up, walked, across the cage, and dropped him, knocked him out. In BJJ you can’t do that! Imagine if that fight was on the street, that’ll teach the guy. The guy picks you up, man, let it go. Don’t hang on to him. The guy went for the guillotine, he picked him up, walked across the cage, very calm, stood there, and just dove down to the ground with him. Knocked him out, won the fight. Hey, imagine if that was on a curb.
THis view is shared by other old school black belts that have stopped competing. One of them is Fernado Pinduka:
And the younger Kron Gracie, son of Rickson Gracie, who doesn’t use any of the new school techniques when competing:
The very popular Tom DeBlass, a former Bellator and UFC fighter & BJJ black belt under Ricardo Almeida, humbly disagrees with these old school masters…
DeBlass, has been training a long time, and has formed some of today’s biggest grappling starts such as Garry Tonon and Gordon Ryan. He has stuck to a simple and effective half guard game BUT has also included many of today’s new school game of leg locks, transitions, and creative sweeps.
He shared his thoughts on the subject:
My face when I hear some of the old school Jiu-Jitsu stars say that Jiu-Jitsu has regressed in the last decade.
Not only is it a shame, it’s simply crazy.
The game is forever evolving, instead of trying to knock it, perhaps try to learn it.
Everyone knows what my game has been the last decade, half guard. I have had tremendous success with it and I am certain I still would. However, it’s important for me to keep evolving and learning. Not just for myself, but for my students.
I am at a point in life where I have seminars booked over a year in advance, I am very financially stable, and I can’t walk 50 feet in a tournament without someone asking to take a picture with me or giving high fives. Life is damn good, yet every week I am putting myself in uncomfortable situations while I try to progress and learn.
Many of the old school fighters talk about living by the martial code, perhaps some should listen to their own advice.