I’m not a religious man and I’m certainly not one for preaching, but for the sake of spreading an important message, I’d like to call upon a well-known parable from the book of Samuel. I’m sure we’ve all had the heroic tale of David and Goliath recounted to us at some stage in our lives, but for those whose memories are a little foggy, here’s a quick rundown. The Old Testament tells us how David, the future king of Israel comes to do battle against the giant warrior and champion of the Philistines, Goliath. Regardless of the apparent hopelessness of the situation, David arms himself with only a slingshot and a handful of stones. To cut a long story short, he hits Goliath square between the eyes, knocks him to the floor and chops his head off! Although the tale is loaded with religious connotations and biblical metaphors, its wider message is one we can all appreciate. Regardless of size and strength, a clever strategy and accurate technique can always lead to a victory. Nowhere can this lesson be applied with greater effect than in the Octagon of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The great thing about the UFC is that it embraces combat disciplines from across the globe and welcomes athletes of all shapes and sizes. With an ever-increasing roster of international fighters there’s more variety in the kind of fighting styles being seen than in any other contact sport. Fighters from different backgrounds are being pitted against one another in the Octagon regardless of size or strength. Many of the smaller more nimble athletes are turning to a fighting style known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s the perfect strategy for a David and Goliath type situation and is arguably the most effective martial art ever created.
The Gracie Legacy
Although the ancient art of Jiu-Jitsu has its roots in the Far East, its greatest development happened thousands of miles across the globe in South America during the early 1900’s. This once secret martial art was taught to the Gracie family of Brazil by a Japanese prize-fighter named Mitsuyo Maeda. The family’s youngest son, Helio, who was at a considerable size and strength disadvantage to his brothers, took it upon himself to adopt many of Jiu-Jitsu’s core principles to benefit fighters of a smaller stature. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (as it later became known) promotes the idea that brute strength and size can be countered by leverage, timing and accurate technique. Although it sounds crazy, a BJJ fighter is most deadly when he’s attacking from the ground. A variety of mounting positions give smaller fighters the opportunity to unleash an intricate combination of grapples, chokes, holds and submission moves on opponents much bigger and stronger than themselves. Fighters who are used to staying on two feet often lack the skills required to defend against a BJJ ground attack. Once the fight is taken to the floor, it can be over in a matter of seconds.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the UFC
Due to its effectiveness, BJJ has become a popular style for many mixed martial artists. Helio Gracie’s son, Royce, was the first to introduce Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to the UFC. In 1993 he won the first ever pay-per-view tournament, defeating three opponents with submission moves in three consecutive bouts. Ken Shamrock, who was almost twice Royce’s size tapped out from a rear-naked chokehold in just 57 seconds. Royce went on to win the second and fourth PPV events and became renowned for making BJJ a core martial arts skill in the UFC. Since the nineties, a number of high-ranking UFC fighters (including Anderson Silva and Frank Mir) have made a name for themselves by
putting BJJ to devastating effect. BJ Penn was trained in BJJ by Ralph Gracie in the late nineties and obtained a black belt in only three years. In 2000 he became the first non-Brazilian to win the black belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships. He later went on to win world titles in 2 different UFC weight classes – one of only two people to do so.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can teach smaller fighters the skills needed to bring down just about anyone, regardless of size and strength. If you’re looking to learn more about this highly technical martial art then head over to www.tapout101.com.
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