Interview With BJJ Phenomenon Eddie Bravo
By Alireza Fadaie
Eddie Bravo, a Jean Jacques Machado black belt, started training BJJ in May 1994. He won the Abu Dhabi North American Trials lightweight division on October 5, 2002, in San Diego, California—earning the "Most Technical Fighter of the Night" award.
He then advanced to the 2003 Abu Dhabi Championships in San Paulo, Brazil, where he secured a submission win over legendary Royler Gracie.
He is also known for his mixed martial arts commentating on the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and for his music composition.
Bravo lives in Hollywood, California, where he runs his 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu school out of Legends MMA—a gym also featuring Randy Couture and Bas Rutten.
Bravo was in Vancouver at the only 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu affiliated school in the Canadian city. The room was packed with over 50 practitioners from all over BC, the U.S., and New Zeland. This was the greatest Jiu-Jitsu seminar I have ever attended.
His new and revolutionary Jiu-Jitsu training system, called 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, is no-gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is made to work both inside the cage and on the sporting mats.
One of the fundamental premises is to have an unorthodox style which keeps an opponent under constant control and lessens the threat of danger. What separates 10th Planet JJ from other styles is its innovation and constant evolution, with invented moves like the rubber guard, twister, and lock down.
Besides being a very technical instructor, Eddie has a great sense of humour, and the seminar was quite fun. After the seminar, I had the opportunity to have a short and quick interview with this BJJ pioneer:
Eddie, what is the difference between your 10th Planet Jiu-jitsu and classic BJJ, and what made you want to innovate this system?
Classic BJJ is either mostly gi or they mix it up. What happens when you go to no-gi, it is hard to evolve, because they are different games. In my system there is no-gi only.
You see a lot of good practitioners with gi who are not impressive without gi. Marcelo Garcia is one of those fighters who trains with no-gi, and is also great with gi. When you train with no-gi you actually get better with gi too. I am spending all the time on no-gi, so it becomes a different animal.
What has been the response and reaction from the BJJ community? You are a young guy who is not from famous BJJ families, and now you have come up with a revolutionary training system. Has there been a resistance?
Not at all; they love me (laughing)!
I have never been interviewed by a Brazilian magazine. There is a resistance, and it is good and I like it. My Jiu-Jitsu is very MMA focused. I was not the best striker, and when I considered becoming a MMA fighter I just focused to improve my BJJ.
I have always wanted to help BJJ, and I have always asked everyone to get together and help BJJ. It was not acceptable, and many people were not, and are not, happy that I have dropped the gi. There is a lot of resistance for sure.
I see a lot of BJJ black belts who are not that impressive in the Octagon anymore. There was a time that a BJJ black belt was the hardest black belt to get. What is your requirement for black belt?
I like to be called grandmaster or Sifu (joking).
There are more black belts because enough time has passed. Back to that time nobody knew how to fight against a BJJ fighter—if you go against someone who knows BJJ you would have problem. You need tricks, you need to set him up, and you better know how to fight on the ground.
The resistance just reflects the evolution. I am doing all this for Jiu-Jitsu; you have to be evolved. If all the Mundial champions focus on no-gi, the whole BJJ [landscape] would change. The evolution is not happening as fast as without gi. More Americans and Canadians and Europeans are open to my style.
Maybe this year I [will] give out my first black belt. No flexibility issues, you should be good at rubber guard, be good at all dimensions, half guard, and be able to do seminars. I have had my school for five years only, so I still have time!
Eddie, you already have affiliates in Canada, Australia, and several U.S. states. What is in the future for Eddie Bravo and 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu?
To have as many affiliates as possible. The more affiliates I have the more I can sit back and let my brown belt and black belts do the work.
I can’t travel every weekend. I like to spend some weekends at my studio. I am doing all of this to prepare for a day when I can sit back and let my top affiliates handle the seminars. I will do a few seminars a year, like for West Coast, East Coast. This is just the beginning.
There you have it. Some words from the legendary Bravo. The seminar was nicely promoted and organized by local MMA veterans Dan Rizzuto and Nabil Salameh, who both train with Eddie and run the only affiliated 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu school in Vancouver, Canada.
Alireza Fadaie is a Vancouver-based bleacherreport.com blogger who has competed successfully as an amateur competitor in Full Contact Kickboxing, Continuous Sparring, and Japanese Forms in North America and Europe with team Canada. His years of dedication to martial arts as an instructor, judge, referee, promoter, and writer have brought him the 2008 World Karate Union Hall of Fame award for "Outstanding Contribution to Martial Arts." Alireza teaches Kickboxing on a part-time basis and continues competing and training in MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. To learn more about him, visit his website at www.warriorsclub.net.
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