MMA: Why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Is NOT the Most Useless Discipline in MMA

Matt Saccaro@@mattsaccaroContributor IIIJanuary 25, 2012

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu isn't useless, and it's not in crisis. It is, and always will be, applicable in MMA, despite what BJJ legend Rickson Gracie might think

However, it's easy to see why some might think that Jiu-Jitsu's prestige has fallen because, quite frankly, it has.

When BJJ (then called "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" in a brilliant stroke of marketing) burst into the United States in 1993, it quickly became the most feared martial art on the planet.

Royce Gracie—the representative of the Gracie family—ran through some of the world's best martial artists by using grappling and submission holds (which were practically unheard of in the mainstream U.S. martial arts culture at the time—thanks, Karate Kid).

After seeing Gracie and his family's martial art dominate, it became the next big thing.

Martial artists couldn't stop themselves from being taken down, mounted and choked out. One by one, Jiu-Jitsu established superiority over other fighting systems.

Then, something happened: Strikers started training in grappling, wrestlers started training in submissions and striking; martial arts were beginning to be mixed.

All the while, Jiu-Jitsu men stuck to their old but proven ways.

As the sport of mixed martial arts came to be and subsequently evolved, BJJ didn't.

Royce Gracie couldn't handle Matt Hughes.

Demian Maia and Thales Leites couldn't strike with or takedown Anderson Silva.

Fabricio Werdum couldn't strike with or takedown Alistair Overeem.

The best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world were reduced to butt-scooting.

Does that mean BJJ is the most useless discipline in MMA?


BJJ will always have its uses (see Pat Barry's arm-bar escape and the various submissions that are locked up in each UFC event), it's just that pure BJJ artists need to update their training and mindset for modern MMA.

Just training BJJ isn't good enough anymore, just as in the burgeoning days of MMA, just striking or wrestling weren't good enough anymore. 

It's not useless, and it will never be, it just needs a little bit of work.