Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Royce Gracie: Brazillian Ju Jitsu's Ambassador

The Day MMA Changed.
If you consider yourself a fan of MMA, but by some catastrophical mishap you don't know who Royce Gracie is...

We're just going to put you fanhood on pause for a moment. Til we get up to speed.

A quick trip, before memory lane.
Royce Gracie was the son of the famed Helio Gracie (the father/creator of today's Brazilian Ju Jitsu.) Born in Rio De Janeiro, Royce began practicing BJJ as a toddler. Yes, while most of us were busy mowing bubbles with our walker/big kid lawn mower, Royce was toying with an armbar. He began to participate in competitions by age 8, and at age 9 was asked to teach Jiu Jitsu in California to Americans despite his not knowing English. By 18 he was awarded his black belt. By now he had competed in the US and Brazil quite a bit, toting a record of 51-3.

Now that your know a little on where he came from let's take a look at what he did.

MMA Then and Now.

At this point MMA was still budding. It existed, but far from mainstream. Many of the fights consisted of brawlers, boxers, and strikers. The idea of fighting was still centered around a person's ability to effectively out strike the other. This took into account a person's pedigree, conditioning, skill level, and most importantly size.

Up until this point...

  • The bigger guy always won.
  • The bigger guy always won.
  • Fights rarely went to the ground.
  • The bigger guys always won.
  • Martial Arts as a sport were semi one-sided *similar to traditional boxing (but without the fanbase)
What Royce was able to effectively do was add another element. It's the equivalent of George Mikan and Dr. J did for basketball by adding the Slam Dunk. The sport before him was viewed one way, and after him has budded into an art form that must be mastered less you be 'tapped out'. His efforts made ground game a must, and here's where it starts.

Royce enters the Ultimate Fighter, which has no weight restrictions. Considering Royce weighs 160lbs at the moment, all of his contenders are easily bigger than he. They all look like deer in headlights after the first 2 minutes.

Here are clips from UFC 1 & 2

Cheers to you Royce.

[fanhood unpaused]

Welcome back.

Now that you're in the know. It's fun to watch those who just don't believe in the power of BJJ.

Learn him good Royce. Learn him good.
MMA: Royce Gracie vs. Jason DeLucia 1 (@ Gracie Academy)

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