Gracie to Dis-Gracie of Martial Arts

Rants on the Gracie’s

Royce vs Kazushi (Winner Royce by Decision) (Gracie tested positive for anabolic steroids after match.)

    When I heard about BJJ, I didn’t know what was the difference between Jujitsu or Judo, because to me it was just another grappling art. But when I looked deeply into BJJ on Youtube videos, I was shocked to see that other arts were being dominated by BJJ. Then I discovered about the Gracie Academy and how they developed the art, how they founded the UFC, and how arrogant and cocky they are, which makes me hate this art with a passion. Once you watch this video below, just listen carefully how arrogrant they are in each fight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQXlg7DksvY

                After see many documentaries of the Gracie’s history, I realize that the Gracie family credits Helio Gracie for developing the style BJJ, but I believe that Mitsuyo Maeda should be credited instead of Helio because without Maeda there would be no BJJ. I have examining BJJ for a while and to me it’s just another copied art from Japanese Judo, but BJJ’s main focus is always fighting to the ground. All those moves that you see in BJJ are just the same as Judo or Jujitsu when you do newaza (ground techniques).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9N1jxstaKA

                Viewing their Youtube videos almost made me believe that this art defeats all other styles of martial arts. If you look carefully at their videos, you can see that they challenge many martial artists from different discipline, and they are all beaten easily. But did you notice that they challenged and defeated bunch of nobodies? They only fought people who were weaker than them and had no knowledge of grappling whatsoever. I have read that they tried to challenge a famous martial artist name “Benny the Jet”, Benny pretended he had no idea who were the Gracie were, and accepted the challenge but in the end it never took place. Why? Because the Gracie family found out that Benny the Jet, was a knowledgeable grappler trained by the famous Judo instructor Gene LeBell who was also challenged by the Gracie family, but again the fight never took place. The way I see it is that the Gracie Family only challenges a bunch of amateur fighters to promote their art to make people believe that their style is better than any art out there. They prefer not to lose face toward opponents that are better than them in fighting.

Benny the Jet

Gene LeBell “Thee Grappler”

                Even though BJJ may seem that the art itself is unstoppable, the art itself has its flaws and weaknesses just like any other martial art out there. BJJ itself is only good for ring matches and one on one fights because it’s not made for multiple fights, weapon fights, and people who fight dirty like for example: biting, eye gouging, groin hits, fish hooks etc. There are ways to get out of joint locks and choke holds, but that all depends on you as the practitioner.

Matt Hughes defeats Royce Gracie

                If you listen to how they talk about their art, you can see that they can be very arrogant and cocky about their style. You can also look up their defeats and steroid scandal in how they got the name from Gracie to Dis- Gracie. As I looked up their documentaries in how they challenge Kimura (Judo Champion), they can’t show any humbleness in their defeat making excuses that they could have won the fight if they were at the same weight class, or how Rickson Gracie disputed about his loss against Ron Tripp because he didn’t understand the rules. After Royce Gracie lost against Matt Hughes, for some crazy reason decided to take steroids for his next fight against Kazushi Sakuraba (The Gracie Hunter).  The Gracie family may look unstoppable, but they can be defeated, it all depends how well you train, not what art or style that you have learned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSPL2BFepgU

               After Ranting about BJJ, would I learn it? At this moment right now, I am learning Judo already and still a yellow belt. Sometimes I feel that it is not entirely necessary for me to learn BJJ because they have the same rules and traditions that they still hold for many centuries. Plus, I dislike wrestling on the ground because of some of the strange positions that you are in makes me feel a bit uncomfortable in my opinion. But hey… who says a fight is suppose to be comfortable right? If I were to learn BJJ, I would probably learn it from the Machado family instead of the Gracie family, because they seem more humble to the art even though their family is related to the Gracie family. So if you decide to fight in the UFC, then you must learn BJJ because every other famous fighter out there is taking the advantage out there to learn and counter the art even though they are practitioners from different styles. Even though I hate the art myself, part of me still feels that it is important to learn how to fight on the ground and not limit yourself to just one art or style.

 

Founders of BJJ

Exchanging  Knowledge

            For those who don’t know much about BJJ, and wonder why is it partially named and used as a Japanese art, and how did the Brazilians gain the knowledge to do moves very similar to Judo, then you will be amazed how just one Japanese immigrant help gave birth and rise to BJJ. A Judo practitioner named Mitsuyo Maeda, a member of Kodokan, was one of five of Judo’s top groundwork experts that Judo’s founder Kano Jigoro sent overseas to demonstrate and spread his art to the world. Maeda had trained first in sumo as a teenager, and after the interest generated by stories about the success of judo at contests between judo and jujutsu that were occurring at the time, he changed from sumo to judo, becoming a student of Kano’s Kodokan judo.[2] Maeda left Japan in 1904 and visited a number of countries[2] giving “jiu-do” demonstrations and accepting challenges from wrestlers, boxers, savate fighters and various other martial artists before eventually arriving in Brazil on November 14, 1914.[6]

            In 1917, Carlos Gracie, the eldest son of Gastão Gracie, watched a demonstration by Maeda at the Da Paz Theatre and decided to learn judo. Maeda accepted Carlos as a student and Carlos learned for a few years, eventually passing his knowledge on to his brothers.

            At age fourteen, Hélio Gracie, the youngest of the brothers, moved in with his older brothers who lived and taught Jiu-Jitsu in a house in Botafogo. Following a doctor’s recommendations, Hélio would spend the next few years being limited to watching his brothers teach as he was naturally frail. Over time, Hélio Gracie gradually developed Gracie Jiu Jitsu as an adaptation from Judo, as he was unable to perform many Judo moves. Hélio Gracie also held the rank of 6th dan in judo.

                Hélio Gracie had competed in several submission-based competitions which mostly ended in him winning. One defeat (in Brazil in 1951) was by visiting Japanese judoka Masahiko Kimura, whose surname the Gracies gave to the arm lock used to defeat Hélio. The Gracie family continued to develop the system throughout the 20th century, often fighting full-contact matches (precursors to modern MMA), during which it increased its focus on ground fighting and refined its techniques

                Around the 1980s, Helio’s son Rorion Gracie gave birth to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), which was to test and see which style was very effective on a one on one no holds-bar match. Rorion’s brother Royce Gracie won 3 out of the 4 UFC matches to popularize their art and to prove that their art was better than any other art. As time went on, BJJ became more popular to the world because people actually believe it is the only actual self defense in the world. It does open people’s eyes that ground fighting is also very important part in martial arts. If you want to become a full trained martial artist, then you must learn all of its aspect, including the knowledge of how to deal with a fight when it comes to the ground.

 

 

 

 

Brazil- Brazilian Jujitsu

Tap Out!!!!      

       So far in my blogs I have been talking about striking arts, I figured why not talk about a grappling art that is so favored in MMA, so believably dominate in the UFC, so popular to world. Welcome to the blog of Brazilian Jujitsu, a  martial art, combat sport, and a self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. The art was derived from the Japanese martial art of Kodokan judo (which itself is derived from Japanese Jujutsu) in the early 20th century.

            The benefit of learning this art is that it can teach a weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique – most notably by applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person.  BJJ training can be used for sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition or self defense.

            BJJ permits a wide variety of techniques to take the fight to the ground after taking a grip. While other combat sports, such as Judo and Wrestling almost always use a takedown to bring an opponent to the ground, in BJJ one option is to “pull guard.” This entails obtaining some grip on the opponent and then bringing the fight or match onto the mat by sitting straight down or by jumping and wrapping the legs around the opponent. Once the opponent is on the ground, a number of maneuvers and counter-maneuvers are available to manipulate the opponent into a suitable position for the application of a submission technique.

Side control

       In side control, the practitioner pins their opponent to the ground from the side of their body. The dominant grappler lays across the opponent with weight applied to the opponent’s chest. The opponent may be further controlled by pressure on either side of their shoulders and hips from the practitioner’s elbows, shoulders, and knees.

Full mount

       In the mount position the practitioner sits astride the opponent’s chest, controlling the opponent with their bodyweight and hips. In the strongest form of this position the practitioner works their knees up under into the arm pits to reduce arm movements, limiting their ability to move or counter the submission attempts.

Back mount

       When utilizing the back mount, the practitioner attaches to the back of the opponent by wrapping their legs around and hooking the opponent’s thighs with their heels. Simultaneously, the upper body is controlled by wrapping the arms around the chest or neck of the opponent. This position is often used to apply chokeholds, and counters much of the benefit an opponent may have from greater size or strength.

Guard

       In the Guard, the practitioner is on their back controlling an opponent with their legs. The practitioner pushes and pulls with the legs or feet to upset the balance and limit the movements of their opponent. This position comes into play often when an opponent manages to place the practitioner upon his or her back and the practitioner seeks the best position possible to launch counter-attacks. This is a very versatile position from which the BJJ practitioner can attempt to sweep (reverse) the opponent, get back to the feet, or apply a variety of joint-locks as well as various chokes.

Submission

       The majority of submission holds can be grouped into two broad categories: joint locks and chokes. Joint locks typically involve isolating an opponent’s limb and creating a lever with the body position which will force the joint to move past its normal range of motion. Pressure is increased in a controlled manner and released if the opponent cannot escape the hold and signals defeat by submitting. Opponents can indicate submission verbally or they can tap out (i.e. tap the opponent, the mat several times. Tapping one’s own body is dangerous because the opponent may not be able to tell if his or her opponent is tapping.) A choke hold, disrupting the blood supply to the brain, can cause unconsciousness if the opponent does not submit soon enough.

Joint locks

       While many joint locks are permitted, most competitions ban or restrict some or all joint locks involving the knees, ankles, and spine. The reason for this is that the angles of manipulation required to cause pain are nearly the same as those that would cause serious injury. Joint locks that require a twisting motion of the knee (called twisting knee locks or twisting knee bars, or techniques such as heel hooks, and toe holds) are usually banned in competitions because successfully completing the move nearly always results in permanent damage that requires surgery.

Chokes and strangles

       Chokes and strangles (commonly referred to as “air chokes” and “blood chokes”) are common forms of submission. In BJJ, the chokes that are used put pressure on the carotid arteries, and may also apply pressure to the nerve baroreceptors in the neck. This kind of choke is very fast acting (if done properly) with victims typically losing consciousness in around 3–5 seconds. In contrast, an air choke (involving constriction of the windpipe) can take up to two minutes, depending on how long the person can hold their breath.

            This system of maneuvering and manipulation can be like a form of kinetic chess when utilized by two experienced practitioners. A submission hold is the equivalent of checkmate in the sport, reflecting a disadvantage which would be extremely difficult to overcome in a fight (such as a dislocated joint or unconsciousness).

Still more to learn

Never stop learning!!

 

Here we are coming near to the end of the semester for my English 414 class, and I tell you guys one thing…. I thought this class was going to be one of the most dreadful boring classes that I would ever take in SF State, but in the end, I found out that this turned out to be my favorite classes that I ever had in SF State, especially having Professor Joan Wong as my English teacher. I never thought creative writing on a topic you love so much can be so much fun, especially when you have a passion for it. But all classes in college can’t last forever, which leaves the question for me? Will I still write more post about Martial Arts? Yes of course darn it!! There are still many martial art styles that I have not mentioned to you guys and the blog feels in-complete due to the fact that there are only a few martial arts styles that I have already mentioned on my post.

So how often will I put a new post? Probably 1 or 2 post a month. We all have work and other things in life to take care of, so therefore I will do my best to write as many as I can and when I can. I would probably stop blogging about Martial arts when I pretty much have mention almost all of them, well except the thousands of Kung fu styles, because there are too many styles of Kung fu to mention (seriously its not even funny) but I will write about some popular styles and some ancient styles that is hardly known to you guys out there. If I ran out of topics for this blog, will I personally blog on a new topic? Maybe, that all depends if I have readers out there commenting and giving me feedback. So yeah FEEDBACK AND COMMENTS folks, it would be appreciated.

Teachers to Pupils.

French Boxers

            Michel Casseux and Charles Lecour were two historical figures in the history of the shift from street-fighting to the modern sport of Savate. Casseux who was the founder of Savate opened the first establishment in 1825 for practicing and promoting a regulated version of chausson and savate (disallowing head butting, eye gouging, grappling, etc.). However the sport had not shaken its reputation as a street-fighting technique.  One of Casseux’s pupils, Charles Lecour was exposed to the English art of boxing when he witnessed an English boxing match in France between English pugilist Owen Swift and Jack Adams in 1838. He also took part in a friendly sparring match with Swift later in that same year, but felt that he was at a disadvantage, only using his hands against his opponent’s fists. He then trained in boxing for a time before combining boxing with chausson and savate to create the sport of Savate. At some point la canne and le baton stick fighting were added, and some form of stick-fencing, such as la canne, is commonly part of Savate training. Savate was developed professionally by Lecour’s student Joseph Charlemont and then his son Charles Charlemont. Joseph Charlemont founded an association for French boxing, the Society of French Boxers (Société des Boxeurs Français). As a result of his achievements, savate increased in popularity. Due to the efforts, the French kick-boxing art reached its pinnacle of recognition, respectability and social acceptance towards the end of the 1800’s

 

            Today, Savate is practiced all over the world by amateurs: from Australia to the USA and from Finland to Britain. Many countries (including the United States) have national federations devoted to promoting savate. I bet you readers are thinking this is just another lame martial art which isn’t that popular to learn because many people I know would prefer to learn another form of kickboxing like Muay Thai, China’s Sanda, and karate kickboxing. But did you know that even cool fictional characters like Marvel’s Gambit and Robert Downey’s Jr. Sherlock Holmes are Savate practitioners? Even the famous Bruce Lee took moves from Savate and incorporated in his book “Tao of Jeet Kune Do”. When I first heard of Savate, I had no idea what it was nor did I believe that the French have created their style of kickboxing. Would I like to learn Savate myself? I would probably consider it if there were any available schools around the Bay Area. Searching on the web for a school close by turns out that this style of Kickboxing is one of the few minority martial arts styles that is being taught around the world.

 

France-Savate

En garde!!!

                Just when you think I was going to talk about another eastern martial art, I thought maybe it’s time to inform you readers to know that the French have a style of kickboxing developed within their country. Time to put up your dukes and say En garde!!! It’s called Savate, also known as boxe française, French boxing, French kickboxing or French footfighting, which uses the hands and feet as weapons combining elements of western boxing with graceful kicking techniques. Only foot kicks are allowed unlike some systems such as Muay Thai, and Silat which allow the use of the knees or shins. “Savate” is a French word for “old shoe” and the only style of kickboxing in which the fighters habitually wear shoes. A male practitioner of savate is called a savateur while a female is called a savateuse.

                Savate in French means “old boot” (heavy footwear that used to be worn during fights; sabot and sabotage). Before it became a national sport, it was known to be a form of self-defence and to fight off people who would raid ships off from sailors. Savate was then a type of street fighting common in Paris and northern France. In the south, especially in the port of Marseille, sailors developed a fighting style involving high kicks and open-handed slaps. It is conjectured that this kicking style was developed in this way to allow the fighter to use a hand to hold onto something for balance on a rocking ship’s deck, and that the kicks and slaps were used on land to avoid the legal penalties for using a closed fist, which was considered a deadly weapon under the law. It was known as jeu marseillais (“game from Marseille”), and was later renamed chausson (“slipper”, after the type of shoes the sailors wore).   In addition to kicks and punches, training in savate de rue (savate defense) includes knee and elbow strikes along with locks, sweeps, throws, head butts, and takedowns.

 

            “Modern codified savate provides for three levels of competition: assault, pre-combat and combat. Assault requires the competitors to focus on their technique while still making contact; referees assign penalties for the use of excessive force. Pre-combat allows for full-strength fighting so long as the fighters wear protective gear such as helmets and shin guards.”

 

            Like in many martial arts that provided a belt ranking system, Savate uses glove colors instead to indicate a fighter’s level of proficiency (unlike arts such as karate, which assign new belts at each promotion, moving to a higher color rank in savate.)The ranking of Savate: Boxe Française is divided into three roads that a savateur can choose to take. The Technical road is Blue Glove, Green Glove, Red Glove, White Glove, Yellow Glove, Silver Glove I, Silver Glove II and Silver Glove III (Violet Glove for less than 17 years of Age) Competition Road: Bronze Glove, Silver Glove I, Silver Glove II, Silver Glove III, Silver Glove IV and Silver Glove V Teaching Ranks: Initiateur, Aide-Moniteur, Moniteur and Professeur

 

  Techniques

In competitive or competition savate which includes Assault, Pre-Combat, and Combat types, there are only four kinds of kicks allowed along with four kinds of punches allowed: .

Kicks

  1. fouetté (literally “whip”, roundhouse kick making contact with the toe—hard rubber-toed shoes are worn in practice and bouts), high (figure), medium (median) or low (bas)
  2. chassé (side (“chassé lateral”) or front (“chassé frontal”) piston-action kick), high (figure), medium (median) or low (bas)
  3. revers (frontal or lateral “reverse” or hooking kick making contact with the sole of the shoe), high (figure), medium (median), or low (bas)
  4. coup de pied bas (“low kick”, a front or sweep kick to the shin making contact with the inner edge of the shoe, performed with a characteristic backwards lean) low only

Punches:

  1. direct bras avant (jab, lead hand)
  2. direct bras arrière (cross, rear hand)
  3. crochet (hook, bent arm with either hand)
  4. uppercut (either hand)

Taekkyeon

The art that still lives.

Here is an art that still lives and still is being taught and practice in Korea called Taekkyeon which is one of the old traditional Korean martial art which is derived from Taekwondo. I have chosen to talk about this art because I would so love to learn this art because I find it old and intriguing to learn in my martial arts training. Not because of the fancy kicks that I want to learn, it’s an art that is very sacred to the country and very difficult to find an actual school that teaches it around California because the majority of the Korean martial art is Taekwondo. Plus I find the Taekkyeon practitioner’s outfit very fascinating and cool to wear around like if you were ready to be in a movie set or pretending to be video game character from street fighter.

Taekkyeon is a traditional Korean martial art with a dance-like appearance in some aspects. A Goguryeo mural painting at the Samsil tomb shows Taekkyeon was practiced as early as the Three Kingdoms Era and transmitted from Goguryeo to Shilla. Taekkyon derives from an earlier art called Subak, which split into two: yusul and Taekkyon, during the early Joseon Dynasty. Its practice never seems to have been widespread within the Korean peninsula, but it was practiced frequently around Hanyang, the capital city of the Chosun Dynasty. At the height of its popularity, even the king practiced Taekkyon. Unfortunately for the people of Korea, the king had to out-lawed Taekkyon matches due to the fact that matches were quite frequent and was mainly use for gambling purposes. In the end the king decided to just make Taekkyon only for military use to prevent the people from gambling their wives and houses away.

Taekkyon took a severe blow when Neo-Confucianism grew in popularity, and then the Japanese occupation nearly made the art extinct. The last “Old-School” Taekkyon practitioner, Song Duk-Ki, maintained his practice of the Art throughout the Japanese occupation and subsequently laid the seeds for the arts’ regeneration. He became the first human cultural asset in taekkyon.

“Taekkyon contains many kinds of techniques, including hand and leg techniques as well as joint locks, and head butts. The movements of Taekkyon are fluid and dance-like with the practitioners constantly moving. It is unique because of constant bending and stretching of knees which is called o-kum jil. The motions of Taekkyon may be similar to the motions of Taekwondo, but the techniques and principles differ a lot from those of other Korean martial arts. For example, Taekkyon does not make use of abrupt knee motions. The principles and methods used to extend the kick put more emphasis on grace rather than strength.”

“Taekkyon uses many sweeps with straight forward low kicks using the ball of the foot and the heel and flowing crescent-like high kicks. There are many kicks that move the leg outward from the middle, which is called gyot cha gi, and inward from the outside using the side of the heels and the side of the feet. The art also uses tricks like inward trips, wall-jumping, fake-outs, tempo, and slide-stepping.”

When I was taking Karate at the age of 13 just earning my purple belt, my family brought me to Contra Costa College to me another martial art school believing that this art is better and cheaper for me to learn because the Karate school that I was going to, their tuition was very high. I had no idea what Taekwondo was all about because to me at that age, just looked like your typical karate school. So out of ignorance and obeying my parents decision, introduced me to another martial art that loves to kick. I spent about 3 years in that school earning my green belt in Taekwondo but later on quit due to the fact of school and also my mother who was also taking the class was getting lazy to go at that time. Since she couldn’t go, we had no one to watch us or drive us to class. Unfortunately I regret not completing my training over there because I was half way done earning my black belt in Taekwondo. I really like the art myself because I am a martial art practitioner who loves to kick and use fancy techniques just like in the movies. So if you like to just practice kicks or make your legs really strong, then Korea’s Taekwondo would be the best flavor for you to add in your arsenal.