Brazilian Jujitsu and a Look Back at the Early Days of the UFC

I still remember watching the very first UFC event back in 1993. That is when the world was introduced to Royce Gracie and Brazilian jujitsu. At that event, this unassuming looking, 175 pound man ( was beating far more menacing, bigger, stronger opponents and he was doing so easily and decisively. No one would have guessed that that could have happened. Well, almost no one, I actually called the winner before even seeing a promo for the event.

Before UFC 1 aired on pay-per-view, they were running some promos for it. And like I said, I had not even seen any of the promos yet but one of my friends was telling me about it and I was intrigued. I thought it was fascinating to see all of the different martial arts ( pitted against one another. Judo versus karate, sumo wrestling versus kung fu, etc. When he told me that one of the fighters was a jujitsu expert I said, that's it, that guy is going to win. Like everyone else, I had never heard of Brazilian jujitsu at that point, but I did know that jujitsu was a grappling art that used joint locks and that's why I expected him to win.

As a kid I grew up watching boxing and every boxing match I have ever watched had the two guys hugging each other at one point. I knew that if a boxer or a karate expert got into a clinch with a jujitsu expert, it was all over. Of course the striker could land a lucky punch or kick and knock this guy out but if the jujitsu expert got his hands on you (, you were done. It turns out that this guy, Royce Gracie, completely dominated every fight he was in. I expected him to win but he was even more dominant than I would have imagined.

The reason Royce Gracie was so successful in the early days of the UFC is because no one really knew what he was doing and they had no answer for it. He was able to secure an arm bar or a rear naked choke with almost no resistance ( because no one knew what he was trying to do. Of course today, every mixed martial arts fighter has some knowledge of Brazilian jujitsu. Today's fighters have to be skilled in every area of the game. The best fighters are experts in every area of the game but even the novice MMA fighter has to have at least some knowledge of everything, striking, wrestling, jujitsu, clinch work etc.

The most dominant fighters today are guys like Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. Both of these guys are devastating strikers but they also have considerable ground skills. A few months ago I actually attended my first live mixed martial arts event. I used a coupon ( to get a good deal on a hotel room and then I put gas in the car and drove for about eight hours to an Indian casino where the event was being held. It has been fascinating ( to watch the evolution of mixed martial arts over the years and I'm excited to see where it goes in the future.