Mention Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ to someone and if they know the sport then they would likely think of an intense ground battle. A grappling match that is likened by many practitioners to a human version of chess. However, while ground fighting may represent the majority of this martial art, it is not the be all and end all.
All matches start from standing.
Where it goes from there depends on the fighters. Some may begin the match by fighting for collars and sleeves, then jump right into guard.
Others, may pull the opponent into their guard in an attempt to sweep them. But, there are fighters who would rather get their opponents to the grown using a more forceful way, a takedown.
BJJ is synonymous with Brazil’s Gracie family who refined the art and brought it to popularity.
Most practitioners also know that it was a Japanese fighter that taught Carlos Gracie, the older brother of the famed Helio Gracie, (along with a couple of other students) the basis of what will come to be known as Grace Jiu Jitsu or as it will be colloquially known, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Mitsuyo Maeda, also known by his nickname Conde Koma, traveled the world as part of a circus of sorts.
Putting on displays of his martial art, Judo, and taking on challengers. Maeda was a student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Kodokan Judo. While the Gracie’s expanded on the ne waza (ground techniques) of Judo, the echoes of the tachi waza (standing techniques) resonate through the various takedowns employed by many jiujitero’s.
Some jiujitsu fighters scoff at takedowns, considering it a waste of energy, while other’s live and die by it.
One thing is certain, those that learn and hone Judo throws are able to employ them with devastating efficiency. Take the seoi nage or shoulder throw, for example. By disrupting the opponent’s momentum and using leverage, the attacker can effectively get the opponent to the ground and remain in a dominant position. This is a throw that has been used by some of the biggest names such as Saulo Ribeiro. In addition, multiple time world champion Rodolfo Vieira prefers the double shoulder throw or morote seoi nage.
Mastering and exposing yourself to Judo-style throws are as important as refining the knee-on-belly technique or arm bar. It will allow a fighter to forcefully and decisively get their opponent to the ground. In a real world or fight scenario, the throw can also be an attack as the opponent is usually crushed by the weight of the attacker after the throw as seen in various shoulder throws and reaping throws. Not only that, but such throws will usually end with the attacker landing in a dominant position and in a place where they can impose their will and exercise their ne waza on the opponent.
While BJJ is known for, indeed famous for, the various subtleties of its guards, passes and submissions, to ignore the stand-up game would be catastrophic.
All fights begin on the feet, as they say. But, how you get the fight to the ground is equally important as how the fight proceeds on the ground.
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