From Brasil, Thailand,
Roberto Drysdale Reflects on
the Evolution of BJJ
By Robert Drysdale
Special to GTR
on my research, Carlos and Helio Gracie did not advance the
evolution of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
technically. Instead, they preserved a niche style that was
ground-oriented as opposed to its Judo mothership that was becoming increasingly
more stand-up oriented. That was what later became known as BJJ.
The notion that Carlos and Helio improved or invented an art is unsupported by
reliable evidence. Unless we agree that they "evolved" ground-fighting in the same
way every practitioner on the planet does every evening: by making small
contributions to techniques. But nothing special there, since all practitioners
are responsible for evolution in this sense, with varying degrees according to
one’s time and effort on the mats.
May 2, 2018
Joăo Alberto Barreto was one of the original
"Heroes of the Rings" in Brazil. Recently he released a book
telling his story and explaining his philosophy of fighting. Robert
Drysdale reviews it here.
March 24, 2018
Rickson Gracie and the
Art of Thai Tae Tad
By Roberto Pedreira
Rickson Gracie believes in self-defense. Jiu-jitsu should be about self-defense, he
insists. Guys who want to devote their careers to 50-50s,
worm guards, and berimbolos are welcome to do that, he says, but
if the self-defense needs of ordinary non-super-athletes, are not
addressed, jiu-jitsu will "drown". And it is drowning, he
chokes work very well, if you can get behind an aggressor without
getting damaged. Obviously, people who have done their training against
punchers and kickers will be able to do this with a reasonably high
success rate. However, based on Roberto's experience, not many BJJ
people actually do this sort of training, or not enough of it. So their
lethal rear naked will not avail them of much more than the TKD
stylist's deadly ax kick.
Train your rear
nakeds, by all means, but know that you need more. For beginners, the
ordinary people with self-defense needs that Rickson is worried about,
even rear nakeds or any other jiu-jitsu techniques, are not enough and
may not even be needed. Rear nakeds are not the answer to
every problem and are not without limitations.
Jiu-Jitsu in Action
How Jiu-Jitsu Can
Save Lives and Keep You out of Jail
Australian named Benjamin Robb, age 43, decided he needed to choke one of
the bar ladies, Roong-arun Sangsuwan. He grabbed her by the neck and
squeezed until "her face turned blue", according to
letting the Thai staff and Thai police deal with it, Jose Manuel Polanco
Jr., decided to step
up and do the right thing, or play hero, depending on your point of view.
Benjamin objected. Jose punched him. Benjamin fell. He was transported to
hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Posted February 13,
was Oscar Gracie and who taught him Jiu-Jitsu?
Carlos Gracie learn the gentle-art of “jiu-jitsu” under
the auspices and intimate “paternal
supervision” of Mitsuyo
Maeda, aka Conde Koma,
as he and his supporters claimed (and still do),
invariably without any substantiating evidence.
recent discovery throws important
light on the question.
A Judo Visit to France
Shizuko 5-dan in France
July 3, 2017 (January 1, 2018)
Judo Destroys BJJ
By Roberto Pedreira
The age-old question has now been answered.
The question derives from the assertion that a BJJ blue
belt can beat a judo black belt in a BJJ competition.
Not many people would deny that other things being
equal, BJJ guys are better at ground, and judo guys are better at
stand-up. But what if other things are not equal? Suppose that BJJ guy is
a typical blue belt and the judo black belt is an Olympic gold medallist.
Merely hypothetical! Could never happen!
It happened Sunday November 26, in Samukawa [寒川],
Japan (a small town about 30 minutes south of Yokohama).
Posted November 6, 2017
Theory and Practice
By Roberto Pedreira
Originally Published in 2003,
revised and updated November 6, 2017
at the Mike Tyson vs. Tyrell Biggs fight (October 16, 1987) Sugar Ray Leonard
observed that "a good step-in jab can be very effective against Mike Tyson.
It remains to be seen if Biggs can keep this up.”
couldn't and was knocked out in the 7th round. But on February 11,
1990, Buster Douglas shook up the boxing world. Unintimidated by Iron Mike,
confidently used his jab to set the champion up for power shots and ended up
stopping Tyson in the 10th round, capturing the sports world’s most
prestigious prize in the process.
The Art of Selling
by Robert Drysdale
Drysdale's BJJ and grappling accomplishments are too well-known to
need retelling here. Below, he shares his opinions on
"self-defense" in the martial arts industry.
the most overly debated topic within Martial Arts, as well as its biggest
financial draw, is the category of “Self-Defense.” It is virtually
inseparable from combat disciplines and are often bundled up into the same
category. People seek Martial Arts, for a number of reasons, Self-Defense
likely being the prime one. The possibility of acquiring skills that could
potentially save one’s life, or that of a loved one, has secured the
Martial Arts a role in the upbringing of millions of children and adults
worldwide as well as an entire industry that capitalizes on this. Fear is
indeed a powerful sales tool.
We should begin by defining and distinguishing the ends of the
spectrum between Combat, Martial Arts, Competitive endeavor and
Posted August 27, 2017
Post-Fight Analysis of
Conor McGregor vs.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
August 25, 2017
Most of GTR's predictions
(here) for the
Floyd vs. Conor Fight of the Century turned out to be wrong.
Conor boxed better than expected for the first few
rounds, but being in shape for 12 rounds is part of the job. He fell apart
after round 7. But at least he tried to make it a real boxing match,
respecting the Noble Art. Floyd was Floyd, more so than usual.
Posted January 25, 2017
How Floyd Might Kill Conor
25 (Japan time), 2017 (before the fight)
GTR's prediction for
Floyd vs. Conor is that it will end in a pro wrestling pandemonium
scene. Conor will do a MMA move. Floyd will object, everyone will spill
in and out of the ring. Someone will attack the referee, of course.
Conor will pay huge penalties (supposedly) if he does that, but so what?
He'll earn it back in the rematch.
Posted August 8, 2017
Planos de Pagamento
How much does it cost
to train in Rio? Answer not much, at least, not in 1999, which this is
What kind of training
do Cariocas want to do? Answer: Almost everything.
What is a Carioca?
Answer: If you don't know what a Carioca is, check out Vocabulary
and Giria for the essential vocabulary and giria needed to training in Rio.
(Don't know what giria is!? It's there too).
Posted July 18,
"The Gracie Family
Launched Luta Livre"!
A GTR reader writes:
One of the realizations
that I got from Choque, Vol 1, is how strongly pro-wrestling/catch
wrestling influence was part of Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the
The pro-wrestling vs BJJ
modern debate which began with Sakuraba's wins over the Gracies,
continued with Rickson's victories over japanese pro wrestlers, and
currently continues after Josh Barnett's recent and easy victories
over eminent BJJ blackbelts, actually was the tip of an iceberg of a
close, historical relationship between both styles which goes deeper
than previously thought.
Choque was the first to
Posted July 7, 2017
is Wrong about BJJ Innovations,
Gracie doesn't like jiu-jitsu techniques that aren't designed to
finalize the opponent. A Jiu-jitsu match is like a hunter versus a
prey. Hunters don't try to get points, medals, or trophies. Why
should a BJJ fighter? Accordingly, Rickson scorns
such innovations as berimbolo and 50/50. (Read Rickson's views here).
people agree with him. But not everyone. World BJJ champion Robert
Drysdale disagrees. Here, in an exclusive comment to GTR, he
Posted July 1, 2017
BJJ Champion Robert Drysdale is Skeptical about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu History
From time to time, ever since the
beginning in 2000, GTR's editorial offices receive letters with
questions, comments, and suggestions. Some of them form the basis
for GTR articles. Sometimes we revise articles based on corrections or
suggestions from readers. In the present case, the letter below, dated May
2017, is interesting enough to justify reproduction (almost) in full,
with the writer's permission.
Posted June 20. 2017
Interview with Roberto Pedreira
Originally published c. 2003
The interview was originally published
c. 2003 and conducted by Eddie.
Since then Roberto has written Jiu-Jitsu
in the South Zone 1997-2008 (published in 2013) about his training in
Brazil from white belt to black belt, and the three-part history of
Jiu-jitsu in Brazil, consisting of Choque Vol. 1 (1858-1949), Choque
Vol. 2 (1950-1960), and Choque Vol. 3 (1961-1999), published
between 2014 and 2016 (and hundreds of GTR articles). His next series of
books on the evolution of jiu-jitsu will become available in the fall of
What got you started with GTR (Global Training Report) and putting your
I wanted to learn how to make a web site. I was already writing for
Black Belt magazine and some others. The magazines paid me
(except for Karate Bushido in France, whose check
bounced), but they also changed my content and demanded the
copyrights. I wanted to control my content, retain my
copyrights, and also publish the articles in a form that would remain
accessible for a long time. I get paid nothing for this, but that’s ok.
Read the complete
Posted June 12, 2017
Rickson Hates Berimbolo (and 50-50)
By Roberto Pedreira
On July 10, 2015,
Revista Tatame asked Rickson Gracie for his thoughts on the
berimbolo. Tatame explained, for those who hadn't heard, that
berimbolo is a position that occurs when the guardeiro (the guard
player) turns and inverts and thereby attempts to desequilibrar (destabilize)
the opponent. Having done so, he will then have accomplished a raspagem
(shave, or sweep) and will have a chance to take the adversary's back.
Rickson's Favorite Fighters
Gracie cita lutadores que mais gosta de assistir em ação"
June 5, 2017
high standards. It is easy to disappoint him. Almost everyone has holes
in their game or what they are doing isn't his idea of real
"jiu-jitsu" or they are too focused on "winning
Is there anyone
Rickson likes? Actually yes. Helio Gracie is without a doubt, the best
and most technical BJJ fighter in history, Rickson believed in 1995, and
possibly still does. Rolls Gracie was technical and fast, and almost
equal to Rickson when he (Rickson) was 17. Royler was excellent
A Conversation with Rickson Gracie
and Yori Nakamura (中村頼永)
Translated by Roberto Pedreira
May 22, 2017
conversation or "dialog" (taidan,
対談) took place April 6, 1994 at the Cheesecake Factory
in in the Marina del Rey Yacht Harbor, Los Angeles, USA, about 15 minutes by car
from the Dojo (Rickson's, apparently, but it's actually closer to the Inosanto
Academy, where Yori taught shooto and Jeet Kune Do), to promote the Vale
Tudo 1994 Japan tournament held July 29 at NK Hall in Tokyo. It was published July 8,
1994, and republished in Kakutōgi Striking Sprits (格闘数トライキングスピリッと) May 1, 2002.
It is presented here for the first time in English, with some comments by the
translator, Roberto Pedreira.
Jiu-Jitsu versus Chinese Tai Chi
By Roberto Pedreira
May 6, 2017
May 12, 2017
Gracie and his jiu-jitsu defeat a bona fide Tai Chi master? Probably, but
that is speculation. Until Rickson accepts the challenge, gloves up, and
climbs into the ring, we'll never know for sure. If a promoter comes up
with the money, the mystery will be solved. Make it happen, Dana!
In the meantime,
a somewhat similar test recently took place in China. (see here
for video, note that it will probably not be up long). It
isn't exactly BJJ but it's
close enough. An MMA guy needed no more than 10 seconds to wipe the floor
with a Tai Chi representative, proving that MMA is the best style. Right?
is Gonna Drown"
But Rickson Gracie plans to do
something abut it....
By Roberto Pedreira
Posted April 11, 2017
first exposure to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ as it's now called, was via martial
arts magazines featuring Rickson and the usual suspects. He was unimpressed.
Pictures didn't do the art justice. It didn't matter that much because he was
far away from any place where he could learn "BJJ", even if he wanted
later, about 1991, a friend of a friend from the USA, visiting the edge of
the world where Roberto was at that time living/working/training, brought
with him a Gracie Instructional tape. Roberto and his training partners
studied the "uupah" mount escape and deemed it most worthy of
adding to their menu of techniques, concepts, and skills. In retrospect it
was fortunate that it was the uupah escape and not an inverted Berimbolo
variation that he first encountered. History would have been very
The uppah escape
is a good example of GJJ/BJJ. It is mechanically simple. It almost always
"works" and it is easy to grasp why it works. It's easy to learn
and hard to forget. Someone who begins their BJJ career with this
technique and a few others like it will be immediately prepared to survive
a "real" fight. The same day. You don't need to enroll in a
Shaolin Monastery for 12 years.
Posted February 1, 2017
By Roberto Pedreira
to someone who would know, namely George Foreman, the
job of the heavyweight champion is to make as much money as possible without
losing the title. Champions have to calculate the risk of
losing against the payday for fighting a dangerous challenger (i.e, the
probability of receiving the promised payment, discounted by the probability of
losing the fight). If he can get away with fighting easier
opponents for an adequate amount of money, the temptation would be there. If
he can avoid fighting at all, that would be better still, and many champions
have tried to fight as little as possible--see below. The sanctioning organizations would need to be paid of course but
ultimately the money would come from the broadcasters for the right to offer a
"championship" fight, which predictably draw higher ratings, thereby justifying higher rates for
Posted January 1, 2017
Kron Gracie vs. Kawajiri Tatsuya
and other Rizin 3 Fights
The View from Japan
By Roberto Pedreira
Rizin appears eager to avoid the
"evil customs of the past" (as the somewhat misleading English
translation of the 1868 Gokajo no Goseimon put it; the original
Japanese text didn't say the past customs were evil, it just implied
that kyuurai no kanshuu, 旧来ノ慣習, old customs,
weren't up to date, which in 1868, automatically made them undesirable).
Pride got into trouble, rumor has it,
by borrowing from organized crime. The former president of Pride
Nobuyuki Sakakibara is the founder of Rizin and evidently intends to
avoid needing to borrow, by keeping costs down. The way to do that is to
hire up-and-coming fighters, predominately local, with potential fan
appeal, and to resurrect veterans and people who who by all logic should
never go anywhere near a ring, except to announce a fight and give an
award, as Rickson's old nemesis Nobuhiko Takada did on December 31, 2016
(the fans still adore him; he has that samurai voice that Japanese
associate with manly men and they couldn't care less, if they even
realize it, that his fights, most of them, were worked).
October 1, 2016
August 30, 2016
August 18, 2016
August 18, 2016
July 25, 2016
June 18, 2016
June 1, 2016
May 11, 2016
May 9, 2016
April 8, 2016