The Role of BJJ in MMA

Learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can do so many positive things for a person.  It can be a strenuous exercise vehicle, a fun hobby, or an opportunity for men and women of all ages to compete in athletic competition.  For those who are interested in mixed martial arts fighting competition, a sport growing quickly worldwide (and especially here in the United States) it is essential to have a working knowledge of the 4000 year old weaponless martial art.

The fact is most fights end up going to the ground, and generally sooner rather than later.  Even if both combatants are trying to keep the fight on their feet and exchange blows, someone can lose their balance or be knocked to the ground.  For this reason MMA athletes must have a firm understanding of how to position and defend themselves on the ground as well as standing up.  For many professional MMA fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (the most popular association in the U.S.) and other fighting organizations, Brazilian style Jiu-Jitsu is the primary style or fighting style of choice.  These athletes would rather take the fight to the ground quickly, if not immediately, which is yet another reason why everyone in the sport must have a competitive understanding of BJJ, no matter how good of a striker they are.  When a good jiu-jitsu practitioner moves in closer than the range of standing kicks and punches, even the best kick boxers and Muay Thai fighters need to have an answer for it.

America learned this lesson in the early 1990’s when Royce Gracie dominated the then “no rules” Ultimate Fighting Championship” with his leverage and ground game.  He took on larger and stronger opponents and dominated them, forcing them to give up with his submissions and ground game.  Though jiu-jitsu had been in the states for ninety years by then, America finally took notice.  Since then, the popularity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in this country has skyrocketed.  It is no longer a competitive advantage in Mixed Martial Arts style fighting to have a firm understanding of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it is now a necessity.  The questions for fighters now are how much time are they going to invest in their ground game, positions, and submissions, and, more importantly, who are they going to learn it from?

Lineage is important in the sport today.  Unlike our great grandchildren, we in 2012 are not too far removed from the Brazilians who expanded the ancient art into the unstoppable force that it seems to be today.  While many can learn, understand, and teach the art to others, “the difference between a champion and other athletes is associated with the details of each position.”  That is a quote from Professor Marcello Monteiro, the instructor and owner of his own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brand but also of the Indianapolis BJJ Coach Academy, where he teaches the details of championship techniques six days a week (except when he is often traveling to give seminars around the world).  You can check out his biography and the lineage of his instruction and black belt at       

TechGasp Comments Master

About the author