Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Judo Vs BJJ - The Answer is Judo AND BJJ

Whether viewing websites or MMA, Judo, and BJJ forums, the subject of Judo vs. BJJ has become yet another classic debate, akin to that of the old "Gi vs. No Gi" debate. However, the question of Judo vs. BJJ is much simpler to answer because it is simply the wrong question in almost every applicable context. In short, an Olympic level Judoka would benefit from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as much as a world-class BJJ player would benefit from Judo.

And at the top level, there are multiple examples of this beginning to happen. GB's Winston Gordon trains with Gracie Barra and holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ray Stevens, former Olympic silver medallist, has been known to train with Roger Gracie. Dave Camarillo, Rhadi Ferguson, and Lloyd Irvin have become vocal advocates of cross-training these arts and have all enjoyed considerable success in both sports. Therefore the answer is Judo AND BJJ. Most top level players are starting to know this fact and rarely ever involve themselves in the nonsense of the forums.

However, trawl the forums and you will frequently see this very discussion taking place. Comments range from the petty such as a "judoka" commenting about BJJ players wearing too many patches on their Gi's to the erroneous "BJJ player" commenting that "judoka's are easy to double leg". I also recently read from one judoka that "either never seen anyone in BJJ show me a move that didn't exist in Judo".

Such comments are harmful because they slow our progression to be the best that we can be. It is a fact that within the "Gi sports" that the average Judo club will have a far higher degree of stand-up skill per person, and the average BJJ club (who out there thinks they are in an average club - Ha, that's another story and I'll be shot if I go there!!) will have a far higher degree of skill on the ground. Assuming that the respective coaching levels are held constant then anyone wishing to balance their skills would surely want to practise stand-up at the Judo club and BJJ at the BJJ club. And this is why comments such as "I've never seen anyone in BJJ show me a move that didn't exist in Judo" are so unhelpful and completely miss the point. Neither art is really about knowing the greatest number of "moves" and anyone who has trained in the competitive environment knows this is the case. However, such comments promote ignorance and division rather than learning and integration.

There are a multitude of benefits to training both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo, from greater all-round skills, to the cross-over benefits of learning different approaches to training (e.g. speed and power to slow and technical). There are simply too many to list here. However, anyone in doubt or uncertain should consider this: the learning curve in both arts is greatest at the beginning and therefore you stand the most to gain from the early days. When I first began Judo, I found that it was much easier to throw non-Judo players at BJJ. However, some months after, my BJJ friends began training Judo and learned to stiff-arm. All of sudden, I couldn't throw them as often (until I overcame the stiff-arm).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

About Mixed Martial Arts MMA

Mixed Martial Arts is essentially an unarmed combat sport, often described as no-holds-barred combat sport. Also popularly known as MMA, this free style martial arts involves various fight forms – Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Boxing, and Wrestling. Mixed Martial Arts is quite popular among martial arts fans who take it up for varied reasons – fitness, self-defense, fight tournaments, or as a fun activity.

The documented history of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition is traced back to the ancient Greece. Back then it was known as Pankration. Similar to today’s MMA tournaments, the fighters in those days used a combination of wrestling and boxing techniques in the Pankration tournaments. However, it was in 1993, after the first Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), that the world took notice of this sport. It is closely associated with the Gracie family (the creators of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) as MMA tournaments are quite similar to the Vale tudo martial arts tournaments held in Brazil by the family in the 1920s. Not just that, the winner of the first UFC was Royce Gracie of the Gracie family. The sport is largely developed in Brazil, the US, and Japan as compared to other nations.

Striking and grappling are the two predominant techniques that are combined in Mixed Martial Arts that are borrowed from the martial art sports of America, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, England, Holland, France, and Russia. Unlike other martial arts sports, rules were not standardized and the sole aim was to locate the best fighter in the world. However, the fighters must follow a few rules for safety as well as to go with the spirit of the sport. Biting, eye-gouging, fish-hooking, attack on the groin, use of abusive language, small joint manipulation, etc are considered unethical and illegal.

MMA athletes are generally categorized as groundfighters, wrestlers, or strikers. A groundfighter follows a strategy to force a fight to the ground seeking submission, while a wrestler focuses on takedown and a striker aims to win with a knockout. No matter what category they belong to, a comprehensive training is paramount in order to be a complete MMA athlete. Traditionally, the MMA fighters were trained in one or more of the martial art sport like Muay Thai Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or any other. Nowadays, the students get trained specifically for MMA irrespective of their previous martial arts training, under the guidance of professional trainers.

There are a number of professional training schools all over United States, including in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. area that provide specialized training to be a refined MMA athlete.