Kazeka Muniz: “Judo & Jiu-Jitsu Back In The Day Was A Fight. Now It´s A Sport, It´s Useless.”



Our friends from grapplersparadise.de published a really interesting interview with Kazeka Muniz, the Venezuelan-American BJJ black belt that’s been around since the early 90’s. Kazeka is known for his great wrestling (he trained in Cuba and Russia) and won many titles in BJJ as well. I remeber watching his grappling match vs a way bigger Fabricio Werdum at a tournament in Belgium ten years ago and he did really well and had solid skills. This is what Kazeka had to say about comparing Jiu-Jitsu that was taught in the 90’s and Jiu-Jitsu nowadays: 

You said you trained with Royce Gracie back in the days. How does the training style the training approach differ from now and back in the days?

Oh man, it´s day and night. It´s absolutely totally different. Before it was martial arts against martial arts, jiu jitsu against other martial arts. Now it´s athletes, it´s different. Back then nobody knew jiu jitsu, it was based more on technique and being technical. The one who is more technical would win. Now it´s more about athleticism. Everybody now knows everything and train everything. So it´s become more competitive it´s becoming more athletic. It´s about stamina, power and withstanding punishment. The technique is still there. If you have no technique you get caught, that’s it. But for the most it changed. Before it was more technique and less conditioning, now it´s the opposite. It´s like comparing olympic athletes in the 50s 60s with athletes nowadays. Back in the days it was about technique now it´s science.

What do you think, how would you compare the top athletes of bjj today with, for example Royce. How would they do ?

It´s again totally different. Jiu Jitsu has changed, that’s the thing. It has changed for the good and for the bad. Back in the days you trained jiu jitsu to fight, now you train jiu jitsu to compete. And that’s the biggest problem that I find today, when people are teaching jiu jitsu, because they worry about the points. They worry about winning a medal. When I was taught jiu jitsu, it was about winning a fight. It´s totally different. You see a lot of great grapplers, great jiu jitsu practitioners, the first time they step into the octagon, they get their asses kicked. Because it´s not the same. They wanna do too much fancy stuff, too many things that are unrealistic, things like the berimbolo and other stuff, but in the streets in a fight it wouldn´t work.

So it seems you are not the biggest fan of the ibjjf rules?

No, it´s not like I don´t like the ibjjf rules. It promoted jiu jitsu and thanks to them it came to another level, but at the same time I feel like they are destroying what jiu jitsu was made for: Combat. It´s not bad, but I look at it like judo. Judo and Jiu Jitsu back in the day was a fight. Now it´s a sport, it´s useless.
So, for you, is mma the best proving ground for bjj?

No, no, no. You have to look at it this way. You have to look at every person as an individual. If you wanna do it for self-defense? Okay. If you wanna do it to win medals? Beautiful. If you wanna do it to just have fun? Great. So it´s an individual sport. It´s about what you wanna do with it. So whatever you wanna do with it, you wanna train for it. If you want to become a ufc fighter, you can´t be doing berimbolo. So you have to stick to the rice and beans, the basics. Close guard and the basic stuff, because that works.

Read entire interview