Today in the Rickson Interview: We talk to Rickson about Ronda Rousey's comment that she thinks she could beat any BJJ woman under any set of rules. Rickson - "So I hope she has a great, brilliant future."
On the GreatMMADebate June 23 2014 Ronda Rousey stated:
"One thing I couldn’t stand when I was only watching MMA coming from Judo, is all these people saying that that all of these Jiu-Jitsu people would beat any judo fighter on the ground. It was such a stereotype. I still think that I can beat any BJJ girl in the world, any weight division, gi or no gi, black belt all the way, in any rule set that they want.
To be able to pull off being someone in Judo that can submit on the ground, it takes so much more skill because we have so little time to do it. Like Flavio Canto, Olympic bronze medalist from Brazil, who was known to have one of the best ground fighters in Judo... He could definitely win a world championship in Jiu-Jitsu. I really feel that the Judoka who excel with their ground work, have never really gotten enough respect.
This fight against Alexis, who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, the kind of person that should be the type to tap me on the ground with no problems, it would be nice to prove a point."
BJJ Legends: Recently Ronda Rousey was noted for saying that she could beat anybody, any female Jiu-Jitsu athlete in a Jiu-Jitsu competition. I have two questions. One is: What are your thoughts on that? Do you think it's true of not?
Rickson Gracie: In Jiu-Jitsu competition?
BJJ Legends: Yeah. And two, either way, whether you think it's true or not, do you think it says something about what the perception is of Jiu-Jitsu, outside of our community?
Rickson Gracie: No. First, she's saying something based on her momentum. She may talking... Because she never competed in a Jiu-Jitsu tournament. If she competes in one and win easily, I will maybe respect what she's saying, believing what she's saying, but she never proved.
She's been demonstrating a lot of good positive elements on the cage. I don't know if those opponents are weaker. I don't know if she's really super.
BJJ Legends: Well, she has that medal in the Olympics as well.
Rickson Gracie: Yeah.
BJJ Legends: Do you feel that plays a role at all?
BJJ Legends: So as in judo... Judo is a very tough sport. In order for you to become an Olympian, you have to really commit and be exceptional. In order for any Jiu-Jitsu competitor to be facing, it has to be a world champion. It has to be somebody in that level.
Even though I cannot confirm if she can really win or lose, I think she should be more focused on what she's doing right now, which is a great job in the MMA, and leave Jiu-Jitsu aside. I know she's been training some Jiu-Jitsu with my cousins and stuff. So I hope she has a great, brilliant future.
For fans of the Magazine we did a quick YouTube search and found these two old videos of Ronda competing in what looks like a BJJ no-gi tournament. In one she indeed kills it and the second she has to work a little harder. Neither opponents appear to be black belts or world champions.
Today in the Rickson Interview: Rickson on women in MMA, "Maybe one out of 100 [women] that makes a very special desire to confront, to go, and feels like, 'Okay. I'm born to do this.' I have to respect that."
BJJ Legends: How about Kyra? When she was on her path towards MMA... It's been temporarily set off for even better reasons now. Bless you and your family for that. What are your thoughts on her competing or women competing at large? I know I've heard you talk about Ronda a little bit. You seem very enthusiastic and encouraging about her, but there's some questions.
Dana White, himself, said you'd never see women in the UFC, which essentially meant you hardly ever see them in MMA. He changed his mind. Ronda Rousey made him change his mind. I've seen Kyra compete a number of times in Jiu-Jitsu competition. Lovely girl. I had the opportunity of interviewing her as well.
What are your thoughts on a member of your own family, who's a female, competing in MMA, as capable as she is? And how does that apply to other women as well, to the sport?
Rickson Gracie: If you pick generally 100 women, at the most, 10 will like to compete in something like that. I don't believe, based on my experience, women have this appealing desire to compete in such a violent and aggressive element.
Normally they don't belong to that kind of competitiveness. It's not common. It's not for everyone. Even for men, it's a kind of little fraction there who doesn't fit. Imagine for women, but that is maybe one out of 100 that makes a very special desire to confront, to go, and feels like, "Okay. I'm born to do this." I have to respect that.
For those very small percentage, Jiu-Jitsu competition, Vale Tudo or MMA will fit. But for the 99% who doesn't kind of have the appealing for that, they'll still be very motivated to learn self-defense, to learn how they can be able to deflect some aggressor, how to stand up from a guy who's trying to keep her and force her or something.
So the idea of deflection, the idea of empowerment, the idea of defense is appealing for any women or any children. The aggressiveness, the competitiveness, the toughness, and the willing to sacrifice every day and get punched, that's not appealing for every woman.
For these few who like it, I encourage and be positive about it, but that's not exactly... I don't believe every woman has to compete or even to have the pleasure to see a fight. Some don't even like it. They see the fight. They turn it off.
They put on something. So I'm favored to help those too. I think Jiu-Jitsu has a place to favor those general women, like soft art. That's why Jiu-Jitsu is also called soft art.
Tomorrow: We get Rickson's thoughts about Ronda Rousey stating she could beat any BJJ female in a BJJ competition.
Today in the Rickson Interview: Rickson, "I think the MMA today is a completely different sport than was developed Vale Tudo, because back then, there was no time limit and no weight division."
BJJ Legends: Let's switch tracks a little bit, not too far off, but we're still going to talk about Jiu-Jitsu here and the role that the JJGF provides. Now, we're going to talk about the athlete. For much of the conversation, we discussed some elements of amateur aspect of Jiu-Jitsu and how that helps individuals. But what about the professional?
We talk about professionals in terms of instructors. We can talk about professionals in terms of competitors on the Jiu-Jitsu scene. Of course, the other element of the art of Jiu-Jitsu is the Vale Tudo element, what we call now MMA, specifically, although I understand that you believe there's a difference between Vale Tudo and what we now call MMA.
For MMA, you have a son who's approaching MMA. Kyra was talking about MMA until very... Roger Gracie had an opportunity to make his foray into MMA. External to the Gracie family, but part of the Jiu-Jitsu community, we have Braulio Estima.
So there have been some contemporary Jiu-Jitsu competitors who have been making and are making their foray into MMA. What are your thoughts on making that transition nowadays, from Jiu-Jitsu into professional MMA?
Rickson Gracie: I think the MMA today is a completely different sport than was developed Vale Tudo, because back then, there was no time limit and no weight division. As you engage, you have to approach with a full capacity to adapt, sometimes by using techniques to defend yourself, to be resilient, to wait for the opportunity, and then come up with a submission, whatever.
Those days, the rules are very short, like five-minute tournaments, rounds. So that makes a much more explosive, much more physical, and much less time for you to approach strategy or techniques. So the MMA today translates more in the individual.
Of course, back then, everybody fights a style against a style. So Jiu-Jitsu has pretty much a comfortable way to deal with all those elements. Now, everybody training the same. Everybody train Jiu-Jitsu, box, wrestling, and so on. So they're cross-training.
Also, the fights are much shorter, much less explosive, and also the technology on the sport. That means a guy who walks around with 200 pounds, he competes at 185. If you have 185, and you go in the competition in the 185 pounds, you're in deep problem because the guys are much stronger in the weight division.
So in order for you to be comfortable with those new setups of rules and of engagement, you have, of course, to try to use the best technique you have, but you also have to do all the other protocols, like Chrome, for example.
He walks around with almost 180 pounds. He's going to compete 155. You know? His training is not only a Jiu-Jitsu comfortable training. He has to learn and develop the cage. So he has to breathe the environment. He has to train with the boys, and he has to be familiar with the rules and with the attention. The guy don't want to fight on the ground. He wants to... So he had to adapt to the new game and be very physical, be very explosive, like everybody else. Plus, if he had the edge of sharp techniques, I believe he can win.
Tomorrow: Rickson talks about his thoughts on women’s MMA.
We all learned the basic kimura lock in our infant stages in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world. While basic, the move can be very effective and damaging when done properly.
However, they are plenty of cases in which you’ll be forced to adjust and adapt the hold!
No matter what position you’re in—for instance, the kimura trap—the one constant remains is that you’ll have to rely upon your grip strength to execute the move properly.
While it may look tough, it really isn’t.
Setting Up And Attempting The Kimura Lock
In this specific setup, we’re assuming that our opponent is in the top half guard. In this given position, the kimura lock is almost the most readily available move, which makes it very easy to defend against if you are on the receiving end of it.
The trick of going about this hold is how strong of a grip you’ll have on your opponent when goingn to lock on the hold. The kimura can be easily broken if your opponent is bigger by them simply ripping their arm free, or by hiding their hand underneath them.
Your opponent hiding their hand is the most likely of the two, which can be tricky to deal with. Rather than trying to free it by using brute force, there’s another way of going about attack the arm you have already isolated.
As they hide their hand, shoot your hips backwards. Upon doing so, you’ll be able to take your far side leg, and bring it over the top of their shoulder, trapping the isolated arm.
This is where your grip strength comes into play; you’ll be placing yourself in an awkward position that your body isn’t used to, causing your grip to loosen up a bit. Really focus on maintaining the hold, allowing you to continue with the submission attempt.
Staying Tight To The Body & Transitioning Into An Armbar
Once we have the foot over and the arm isolated, the next step is crucial. While we focus on maintaining the grip, we’ll also want to make sure that the arm is placed firmly to the chest. To do this, you’ll want to hug the arm by bringing whichever shoulder is on the mat to their elbow.
Now knowing that the hold is firmly in place and their arm isn’t going anywhere, it’s time to start posturing yourself to get the submission finish!
While keeping their arm tight, you’ll want to slowly extend backwards. Avoid leaning back as if you were doing a traditional armbar, but slowly arch backwards as the arm stays tight to your sternum.
If done properly, this will lead to an armbar finish. Even if they attempt to roll out—which they likely will—maintain this hold, as they would then just be rolling right into a traditional armbar setup.
Remember: grip is key! The second you feel the grip come undone, your opponent has the chance to escape. Even in a tough lockdown position such as the kimura trap, a weak grip can cost you the position and even the win. What I recommend anyone looking to improve their grip strength is the Finger Master Grip Strengthener. I wish I had a tool so helpful when I was beginning to improve my grip strength. Check it out for more details. The next best option is using incredibly heavy and inconvenient buckets or sand or beans like in this video.
Focus on keeping a firm grip and proper body position, and you’ll be well on your way to earning the submission victory and in impressive fashion!
In the storied career of the iconic Royce Gracie, there have been many memorable moments and fights that have defined his career. Be it the Gracie Challenges that began the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu rise, his UFC 1 match against Ken Shamrock, or maybe his phenomenal litmus test against Sakuraba that lasted roughly 90 minutes, Royce has provided some fantastic moments for the fans of Mixed Martial Arts.
What made this fight so unique was Ologun himself. Born in Nigeria, Ologun was on a Japanese gameshow, and through his charismatic antics, became a big star in Japan! He had his own show, where he would try out new activities and sports.
He would eventually give Judo a shot, and the running joke was that he’d be ready to fight in an actual MMA fight by year’s end. Ologun continued to train, and 8 months after he began his experiement, he was slated to fight against the pioneer himself, Royce Gracie!
The dynamic was fantastic: the icon vs. the TV star! Seeing the fight was held in Japan, Ologun had a strong fan base in attendance. Despite the vast experience gap, the fight didn’t play out as you would assume.
Dealing With The Element Of Surprise In Stride
Be it by luck or by skill, Ologun was actually able to control the pace of the match early on the first round. Was Royce taking him lightly? Was he toying with him? Whatever the case may be, Ologun had the dominant position on one of the most notorious men in Mixed Martial Arts history!
With the fans on their feet in shock, Royce showed the signs of a true veteran by not overacting. The much more athletic Ologun clearly had a more impressive frame that could probably pack a nice punch, but Royce wasn’t about to find out.
Keeping his wits about him, Royce did the smart thing and kept the arms—at least one most of the time—pinned to his own chest. By establishing a high closed guard, Gracie was preventing Ologun from posturing and reigning down shots. By eliminating the hands or his opponent, Royce not only saved himself from unwanted damage, but also limited the ground game of Ologun.
However, Ologun continued to dictate the match and where it went. Maintaining top position, Bobby had the legend in the corner, and was ready to unload. Again, being the crafty vet, Royce was aware enough to angle off to the side, while maintaining a grip on the arm of Ologun. This bought him time to fend off any serious strikes, and allowed him to get his right hand on the calf of Ologun.
From here, Royce was able to adjust Ologun’s footing, bringing him back to the mat. This eliminated the posturing advantage Ologun had, and brought the fight back to where Royce was most comfortable.
Trusting In The Foundational Skills of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
The bell would eventually ring without any major damage being done, but clearly something special was happening, and it’s hard to argue that Ologun didn’t win the first round.
At the start of the second, Ologun was able to stuff a takedown and even plow Royce over, regaining dominant top position. This would not last long, as Gracie was soon able to hit a series of sweeps, bringing him back on top in full mount position.
Aware of the power and athletic ability that Ologun brought to the table, Gracie was smart and was quick to get high up on Bobby when he mounted him. By establishing the mount closer to Ologun’s chest, Gracie didn’t have to worry about Ologun getting his hips under him and exploding and bucking him off.
The full mount is known in the MMA world as the most dominant position, one that would bring some vicious punches and elbows to the poor soul trapped underneath. However, it was clear that Royce had an agenda, as he didn’t throw a single punch from this position.
Rather, he methodically worked his way towards the armbar. Once he had it applied, his top leg had slipped off Ologun, and was on the mat for the most part. Even with a little kink in the process, Royce was able to work around the technical flaw and earned himself the submission victory in round two.
Royce has proven to be very influenctial on the BJJ scene. For more thouhts on HOW important Royce really has been check out this article!
Follow a man’s unlikely story of how he came from a small Nebraskan town of 200 people to becoming a cornerman in the most distinguished Mixed Martial Arts promotion in the world.
A Lesser Told Story of Mixed Martial Arts In the Blue Corner: by Jerome Gage
Tucson, AZ-‐2014 – Mixed Martials Arts (MMA) is emerging into a mainstream sport. As it grows more recognizable so do many of the stars. There are copious amounts of television shows, books, magazines, and radio shows highlighting the biggest players in the game. They constantly showcase the lifestyle and training of these fighters, who receive large sponsorships, fight out of renowned gyms, and make the big time money. However, for every one fighter, trainer, or promoter in the limelight there are thousands in the sport who do it solely for the love. Some of these people are promoters, fighters’ wives, gym owners, teammates, and trainers, all of which have their own story of their roles in the sport.
In the Blue Corner is a unique glimpse into one of the lesser told stories behind MMA and the fight lifestyle. It’s a narrative of how a hobbiest in the sport found himself cornering his friend in MMA. This book recounts the story of the cornerman while discussing training camps, scouting opponents, dealing with loss, overcoming injuries, the importance of good teammates, and the attitude behind the winning mindset.
Muscular power, just the sound of those two words together makes me think of muscle bound men deadlifting and bench pressing weight more than twice my weight! That doesn’t have to be the case, you can have great muscular power even if you are in the rooster division! Many of us little guys don’t hit the gym hard every day so we’re unsure of how strong we truly are. To get a good starting point we you should test yourself out!
I met Joey, that is what I called him, when he started training at the Pedro Carvalho Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Rancho Cucamonga in 1996. I had already been training there a little over a year. He was very excited about learning Jiu-Jitsu. He was very dedicated and trained as often as he could. He would even have his girlfriend record him so he could play it back see his mistakes and then try and correct them during class. Back then and for many years, Pedro was the only BJJ Black Belt in the Inland Empire. If you lived in the IE and wanted to train BJJ, you trained with Pedro.
I was a purple belt teaching the Friday evening No-Gi class. This is where my bond with Joey started to really build. Because of his interest to do MMA, he would come to the Friday classes religiously. This was an old school BJJ gym so No-Gi classes regularly consisted of punch and kick defense to take downs and ground control with striking to set up the submission etc. It was a basic training ground for early MMA style fights. Joey loved it. There was nothing I could throw at him that he would ever complain about. No task was too difficult. He loved sparring guys bigger and better than him even if he would get smashed. It was just a challenge that he was determined to overcome.
One of those Friday night classes we had a visitor from Europe wanting to try BJJ. This guy was already an experienced kickboxer. We were practicing timing the kick to step in get the clinch and take your opponent down. This guy did not like the technique. He proceeded to tell me that if he was truly trying to kick, the power of his kick would prevent him from being taken down. I realized at that point that he was not there to learn BJJ but to test himself. So technique time was over now time to drill full speed. The drill consisted of one person acting as the kick boxer and the other the grappler. The kickboxer would try to kick his opponent while the grappler could only take the kickboxer down without using any strikes to set it up. So I put the visitor in the kickboxer role first and Joey as the grappler against him. I told the kickboxer to not hold back. Joey was preparing for MMA and he welcomed his attempts to kick him as hard as he could. By the way, this was without Joey's pre-approval. I told Joey what I instructed the kickboxer to do and he didn't bat an eye. They proceeded with the drill and needless to say, the kickboxer didn't get one kick off on Joey while Joey punished him with repeated takedowns. I was so proud watching Joey just turn it up and represent Jiu-Jitsu right at the spur of the moment with no hesitation. The kickboxer didn’t return.
I’m sure that we’ve all been in the same situation before where we learn a new technique and something isn’t clicking, no matter how hard we try to focus on the details we often overlook. With tons of mat time and research, there is still something that isn’t making sense. At a stand-still, you’re ready to pass up on learning that technique and move forward.
However, times are changing thanks to the iGrapple Mobile app.
Recently released, the iGrapple is a fantastic tool that every single one of us Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players can use in order to take the next step forward in our skill development.
If you go back to the first paragraph and think to yourself, “Hey, that’s me!” when it comes to learning new techniques, then you’re in luck because the iGrapple is here to eliminate any issue that you may face in learning.
With a very classroom-like approach to grappling, the app does a fantastic job of breaking everything down so that even the most basic white belts out there can soak up the moves and implement them in a heartbeat!