Long before the media craze, BJJ was involved in MMA. Back then it was called Vale Tudo (anything goes). No protective equipment, no weight classes. There were very limited rules, no eye gouging, no biting, and that’s about it! In this realm (when I first started fighting), BJJ reigned supreme. People were amazed at the unprecedented superiority of BJJ. As far back the late 19th century, the root arts of BJJ were untouchable in the world of real fighting. Then, in the early ‘90s, Americans were introduced to BJJ through the early Vale Tudo version of the now infamous UFC. It was like all the magical Kung-Fu nonsense we believed as kids had finally been made true. A little, unassuming, 180lb guy, just destroying all these huge monsters, and not getting so much as scratched. It was amazing. BJJ in the Sport of Vale Tudo/MMA maintained its place of reverence for decades.
Starting around ‘03-’05 BJJ began to lose its mystique of superiority. Many non-BJJ spectators started to speculate that now that fighters were accustomed to its tricks, its value was declining. The kernel of truth there is that, yes, after a decade, people were finally becoming skilled enough in BJJ to defend it. Remember, as I always say, you have to have BJJ to avoid it! There’s no denying that fighters were developing the skill in BJJ to avoid its effects. This was compounded by several other adaptations in the sport that reduced BJJ advantages. For example, removing head-butts had a tremendous effect on BJJ. The head-butt is the grappler’s favorite strike! I can’t punch you without letting go. I can’t kick you without standing on one leg. Ever see anyone wrestle on one leg? Probably not. But, I can commit 100% to my grappling AND head-butt. Not any more!
Another one; time limits on the ground. A big part of BJJ theory is that you must make yourself as safe as you can, while you force, coerce, or just plain wait for the opponent to make an error that you can capitalize on. Gone now too.
But, without question, the biggest change in advantage came with the taping of the hands. Taping Hands allows fighters to punch with reckless abandon, not having to be concerned with breaking a hand. This changes the fight tremendously! If you hit me in the top of my head with an un-taped hand more than twice, you’ll break your hand. That means either it doesn’t happen, or you hurt yourself worse than you hurt me! Either way, I don’t get too concerned with you punching me in the skull. The taped hand is a different animal. You can punch unchecked, as hard as you want until my brain turns to mush. That’s bad. Now I have to change my approach to stay effective. Even with all these, and other, changes, BJJ is still considered to be one of the most essential components in modern MMA!
Here at the Academy, we can definitely prepare you to use BJJ in a sport setting. But our passion is for BJJ in its purest form. BJJ for self defense!