Friday, February 4, 2011


It’s been said numerous times: without Rorion and Royce Gracie, MMA would not be in America. In late 1993 UFC hit pay-per-view television and martial arts were never the same. Yes, those first UFCs were like infomercials for Gracie Jiu Jitsu, but viewers still couldn’t ignore that fact that diminutive Royce Gracie was defeating opponents much larger and stronger than he was. The first UFCs were extremely dangerous affairs with no time limits, no safety gear, few rules and no weight classes. Several people were seriously injured. (Remember Ninja master Scott Morris in UFC 2? I’ll never forget that fight.) It was dramatic and entertaining for us to see Royce into that cage and watch what happened. The Gracies showed us all what a real fight looked like and audiences were amazed that Royce won almost every time. Moreover, he was victorious using grappling techniques most people had never seen before. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was now a big part of America’s martial arts scene.

In this recent interview, Royce recounts those days, emphasizing that Gracie Jiu Jitsu was always meant to be a “reality based” martial art for self defense. In this video, Royce tells us his career is still very much focused on those original Jiu Jitsu principles, and his life is centered on traveling, teaching and preaching the gospel of Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

UFC is very different now, and it’s a highly regulated sport. But I actually prefer the Vale Tudo matches of old. This interview reminds us of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s long history of no rules matches and why the art was developed.

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