“Changing the Game”

I’d like to talk about how the evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is “Changing the Game”! Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as we know it has certain laws/principles that  remain constant, even when the technical details vary. Lately it seems even these laws are beginning to change(eg. people are giving up their back to defend the pass or playing half guard using the overhook etc)!

Marcelo and I after training!

The way the game is played in Gi, No Gi and MMA competition has evolved tremendously from its original form as taught by Grandmasters Helio and Carlos Gracie! Gracie Jiu Jitsu as it was formerly known still forms the foundation of the art that we all know and love, however in this day and age, and with the rise of competition(Gi, No Gi and MMA) the art continues to evolve and adapt itself to better suit the rules of the competition.

For example more schools who focus on winning BJJ tournaments tend to lean heavily towards strategy and tactics to win within the rules of BJJ competition. You see a lot of matches decided by advantage, or both guys pulling guard and attempting to sweep and control/stall for the victory.

Me at Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts Academy!

For those more interested in No Gi competition, the emphasis tends to be more on wrestling style takedowns and various leg locks as well as strength, conditioning and all round athleticism!

For the MMA minded individual again the focus tends to be on getting the takedown, attaining solid position and grinding out a win from there be it via ground and pound or positional dominance as well as becoming super athletes!!! Fighters appear to be less willing to take a risk attempting a submission that may get them reversed or hit!

Australian Kyokushin Karate legend and Mixed Martial Artist, Cameron Quinn and I.

Now while I realise this is a very broad overview/generalisation, there is still no denying the truth! Even amongst the actual techniques, the evolution is clearly evident! In my own experience over this last month I have learned a few techniques that have completely changed the way I roll and look at various positions.

For example, the way Marcelo Garcia taught me to guillotine my opponent even if he passes your guard the “correct(previously)” way and still finish the submission has left me astounded!! Adding in Marcelo’s North South Choke has changed the way I roll and look for submissions from the top position! I am almost exclusively trying to set it up every time I pass the guard as it opens so many other submission opportunities and is so hard to defend! Even a half guard sweep taught to me by Paul Schreiner (which he credited Luke Steward for) has changed the way I play and attempt to pass half guard!!!

A mat chat at Marcelo's New York Academy after training!

Personally I look forward to seeing what the future holds and where the art takes us. Hopefully back towards a daring and bold submission based game!!! Again, I completely understand the value of the traditional basic techniques and still believe they should form that vast majority of your foundation in the art! However I respect and embrace change rather than fear it and I think you should too!

Good Luck With your Training and Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom



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