Mixed martial arts
Today mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world with huge crowds gathering to watch their favorite fighters, and many more ordering the fights on pay per view at home. But this isn’t how things always were for mixed martial arts, in fact it was just over 20 years ago that the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC was founded.
Today the UFC is the biggest name in combat sports, but when it first came into being in 1993 it was derided by many as being a brutal sport that offered little more than glorified violence. Today the UFC has evolved into a competition with rules to protect fighters that are both world class athletes and also highly trained martial artists.
So what exactly prompted the formation of the UFC and other mixed martial arts promotions? The sport evolved to help answer the often debated argument over which martial art was the best. For years different practitioners or different martial arts would argue over the superiority of their art. When the UFC started people were finally given a venue to prove their argument.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in UFC
In the beginning the UFC featured fighters that were largely trained in a single combat art. Their goal was to prove that their style was the best, so they trained hard and did their best to represent their art. There were Karate practitioners, and Boxers, and various other fighters, the majority of which were big, strong, athletes that used striking as their main means of combat.
When Royce Gracie, a relatively small man at 6 feet tall and 176 lbs. entered the tournament few people had ever heard of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But once the fighting started people were quickly amazed as Royce Gracie used Jiu Jitsu to overcome and subdue much larger and stronger opponents using grappling techniques. In fact, Gracie Jiu Jitsu proved to be so successful that he won the first UFC tournament, the second UFC Tournament, was a finalist in the third, and he won the fourth as well.
So where exactly did this new grappling style come from? A martial art from Brazil seemed like a strange notion until you take the time to look at its origins. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu actually has it’s origins in traditional Japanese grappling techniques including Judo. Geo Omori opened a Judo school in Brazil in 1909, and he was then followed by Mitsuyo Maeda who trained Carlos Gracie and other members of the Gracie family. The Gracie family then continued to practice their art and refine it over time until it became the art today known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
BJJ changed martial arts
With Royce Gracie successfully demonstrating how devastating his art could be the world took notice. Karate practitioners, Wrestlers, Boxers, and other types of fighters interested in mixed martial arts quickly realized that being proficient in only a single fighting style wasn’t enough.
Slowly people began to realize that there was no one single martial art or fighting style that was the clear best to learn, that in order to be a great fighter you had to be well rounded. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu became an integral part of many fighter’s training, and today it is considered a virtual necessity in order to be able to compete in the sport at the highest level.Today modern mixed martial arts practitioners are usually
Today modern mixed martial arts practitioners are usually well-rounded fighters who excel in at least one area but are proficient in others as well. Martial artists who are dynamic strikers learned Jiu Jitsu so that they could defend themselves on the ground, and help to keep from being taken down in a fight. Jiu Jitsu fighters learned striking techniques so they could defend themselves on their feet, and to enable them to take other fighters to the ground.
While mixed martial arts have continued to evolve, the place of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in this exciting sport is definitely secure. Just as Royce Gracie proved over two decades ago, having superior grappling skills gives you an edge over anyone who doesn’t.
Today there are many examples of great fighters who started out in Jiu Jitsu. Fabricio Werdum is the current UFC heavyweight champion and started out as a JiuJitsu practitioner. In fact, he became the first man to truly defeat the great Fedor Emelianenko in many years by using a submission hold. This amazing feat shocked the world and showed once again just how valuable the grappling skills of Jiu Jitsu truly are.