Why BJJ is so important to MMA fighters


01 March 2021

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BJJ is the acronym for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the martial art derived from the original Jiu Jitsu of Japan. It grew in popularity in the mid-90s with the Gracie family and early UFC editions when MMA legend Royce Gracie won all of his fights by submission showing the world the power and effectiveness of BJJ.

Since then a lot has changed in the world of mixed martial arts, it went from being called "vale-tudo" to the well-known MMA, the UFC was bought from the Gracie Family by Dana White who transformed it into a multimillion dollar business. The center of attention went from America to Japan, hence the Pride years, and back to America again. Gone are the days when so-called street fighters had a chance to win a UFC fight, who doesn't remember Tank Abbot?

What has not changed is the need for a top MMA fighter to have good field work and the best way to get it is through BJJ. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can give you the edge an MMA fighter needs to win a fight at any time through a variety of presentations ranging from simple arm bars to more complex triangle chokes and leg locks.

The best MMA fighters are the most complete, those who have powerful punching skills, fast footwork, huge stamina levels, and of course are good on the ground. Why the emphasis on field work?

For the simple fact that most MMA fights end up going to the ground, being on top of the fighters can hit your opponent with punches, kicks, etc. To dominate an opponent on the ground, a fighter will need to know grasping techniques that can be learned with BJJ training in special non-GI training sessions, also known as submission.

But BJJ is also good when a fighter is underneath their opponents, BJJ specialists can easily reverse the situation or just attack from guard position, which is by far the preferred attacking position of a BJJ specialist.

Since Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fights start with both opponents standing, BJJ fighters also have a wide range of takedowns up their sleeve, it goes without saying what a well-applied takedown can do to an opponent.

Where to get the best BJJ training?

Years ago, the best place to get top-notch BJJ training was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, home to the legendary Gracie Family and Grandmaster Helio, who died in January 2009. Helio along with his brother Carlos Gracie created the art of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, internationally known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Today, with so many high-quality BJJ teachers around the world, you can get top-notch training in all four corners of the world. There are renowned world champions in Europe, America, the UK, Australia and even Abu Dhabi where one of the biggest tournaments of the BJJ season is held.

In short, a good BJJ teacher will not be ashamed of his credentials and titles. So he avoid those who say they have done this and that but have no evidence to prove it. Talk is cheap, remember?

But if you have the time and money to do it, I recommend that you spend a couple of months in Brazil training with the best BJJ fighters on the planet.


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