The story of how the UFC (originally known as the Ultimate Fighting Challenge, now known as the Ultimate Fighting Championships) originated is truly fascinating…..due to the confidence that a fighting family from Rio de Janiero, Brazil had in their unique fighting system.
Taking just a sliver of the original story, which can fill books I will quickly share how Gracie Jiu Jitsu changed Martial Arts forever….
In the 1980’s the founder of the Gracie Academy in Torrance, CA, Rorion Gracie brought Gracie Jiu Jitsu to the United States. His father Helio Gracie and uncle Carlos Gracie, had taken and learned Japanese Judo and then ‘specialized it’ in a manner that would allow an average person to fight very effectively without concern for how big, fast, strong, or athletic an opponent is, be it on the streets of Rio de Janiero or in the ring at a local coliseum or stadium in Brazil.
The secret sauce of Gracie Jiu Jitsu exposed other martial arts as having a hole in their art, as most people/fighters had no idea what to do if the fight is taken to the ground; and 95% of fights typically end up on the ground.
The Gracie brothers, Carlos and Helio, mastered the art with leverage, timing and technique and would challenge others in Rio to street fights or fights in the gym, to prove that what they are teaching is not only effective, but extremely effective for a smaller, less talented or athletically gifted person to be able to fight, and defeat, larger opponents time and time again.
Enter Helio Gracie’s oldest son, Rorion Gracie, now living in the United States with the idea of all ideas to prove the effectiveness of Gracie Jiu Jitsu in the original Ultimate Fighting Challenge; where they would pit martial art versus martial art. For example Karate vs. Judo, Boxing vs Taekwondo, or whatever…. Fighters would fight numerous fights in one evening to PROOVE who’s art was the best.
Rorion Gracie chose his younger brother Royce (Pronounced Hoyce) to fight in these challenges as his size and demeanor was the epitome of the average Joe with him being slight of build and not menacing to look at… Rorion wanted the world to see that Gracie Jiu Jitsu could win fights, organized and/or in street fighting situations. Royce, who many referred to as the ‘skinny Brazilian’, won fight after fight and won 3 of the first 4 Ultimate Fighting Challenges. (He withdrew from #3 after defeating a beast of a man, Kimo, due to what I believe was dehydration/exhaustion, but not 100% sure.
So with all of that said, how did Gracie Jiu Jitsu change Martial Arts forever?
Royce Gracie exposed a glaring hole in most martial arts by taking good fighters down to the ground, and submitting them with chokes, arm locks, triangle chokes, and other techniques that other martial arts did not know at the time.
The beauty of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is also that, with the correct training partners who are training to learn, and not hurt people….you can train at full speed and ‘tap’ a training partner without hurting your partner.
After Royce’s amazing display of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, there should no longer be the ‘hypotheticals’ from people who had their ‘secret’ kicks and punches that would supposedly maim their training partners….because they were on full display, in a cage with no time limits. Martial art versus martial art. Mano y Mano. No Rules!
Royce Gracie, by utilizing the learnings he received from his father, Gracie Jiu Jitsu indeed changed Martial Arts forever!
I’m pleased to say that Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Hendersonville, NC is taught at Hendo BJJ out of the Rise MMA Academy near downtown Hendersonville.
It makes no difference where you train jiu jitsu, just TRAIN Jiu Jitsu!