BJJ is not BJJ anymore!

BJJ, english, Training Camps | 0 comments



February 23, 2018

by Prof. Martin Guggi


I just saw this picture on facebook and it made me think! In martial arts there was always the question which is the better fighting style and who is the best fighter. Look at the development of the UFC and what the sport is today. Because of this question martial arts were improving, people are not only training in one style anymore if they want to fight at a MMA show. We know that we cannot say which fighting style is the best anymore but we can say which individuals know how to fight best under certain rules.

BJJ is a sport which was part of the success of the UFC. Today we hear a lot about the loss of the original value of our Art of BJJ. People are training not for self-defense anymore but only for the competition and to show that they are good grapplers. Founders of our art always wanted and still want BJJ to be more than a sport, to be an Art for self-defense, for MMA, for fitness and so on. But today we really have to ask ourselves if this question is important anymore. BJJ player who train for competition do not care about self-defense at all. They want to win according to IBJJF, ADCC or submission only rules. They spent hours on the mat to perfect their skills and really spent not one second at all thinking about self-defense. And I think we have to accept this.

Is our Art watering down?? In my eyes NO! It is changing and evolving but the power of our Art is that it is possible to use the techniques in a way to be successful in a sport, in a MMA and on the street. But we have to be honest with the way we train and want to use BJJ!

  • I cannot say I drill every day for competition and at same time say I practice self-defense. Of course martial art training could help me for sure on the streets but if I want to be able to help women to have more confidence on the street I am probably not the best person to ask.
  • If my goal is to win the next IBJJF Open then I cannot say that I am a great grappler for submission only tournaments because I am good at all aspects of the game… be honest with yourself – the techniques you drill depend on the rule sets you are fighting at.
  • If my goal is to win a submission only tournament then I will probably not be able to fight in the highest division of an IBJJF tournament. Of course, you can change your focus but you cannot be prepared for all tournament formats at the same time.
  • I get really angry when people claim their BJJ is good for MMA and they can compete in MMA too because they are good at grappling. If punches and kicks are allowed your game changes and you have to admit that your BJJ has to change too. How many times did I win against an MMA guy when I grappled him without punches but I never said that I am a good MMA fighter because of this! Let him use his punches and kicks on the ground and you will see how fast you will change your view!
  • The same is true for people who tapped out a high-level competitor and say I could be champion too because I won against this guy. If you do not step into a competition and do not prove your level then he is better than you because he already achieved the medal you just imagine you could win because you tapped a competitor. Fighting a tournament is different than rolling around at your gym.


What I would like to say is: BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND THE WAY YOU TRAIN BJJ. BJJ is not BJJ anymore, if you like (for example: IBJJF tournaments) one way better than the other be honest if someone asks you if you can help him at MMA/Self-defense/Submission only. I mean of course you can help him but tell him that you are not an expert at this field because your focus is somewhere else.

Today a lot of schools say that they teach MMA, BJJ, Submission Wrestling and Judo at the same time. Very often even the same teacher! Of course if you want to make money you need to tell what new students want to hear but perhaps you start saying where you focus yourself on before you say you know everything and be good in all fields of our Art!!!

In my school we offer MMA, BJJ and Judo – I teach BJJ, but we also have one guy who only focuses on MMA, one guy who focuses on Judo and when we train together we all can improve from each other but we know that every field needs to be focused on separately. Some people still ask which area is better or is the best!? I talked too much with people about this subject and I am tired about it. The best is the area you want to improve most. The field where you can develop your potential as an athlete and at the same time as a person. If you still need to raise your EGO and tell everybody that your way is the best you never understood the power of our ART which can change in more than one direction.


BJJ is not BJJ!!! But all of this below is part of BJJ
Self-defense BJJ is mainly a system for ground fighting. I think it is a little bit funny to hear that this was the original aspect of our Art – even if the ground is the place you never want to be in a street fight.
Mixed Martial Arts Vale Tudo Pride UFC Amateur MMA
With Kimono Judo BJJ – IBJJF Submission only – with heel hooks
NoGi ADCC Submission only events EBI NoGi – IBJJF


Here you can see that BJJ today can focus on a lot of fields and rule sets and this changes the way you are training the Art of BJJ. I would say that self-defense and training with the kimono is easier to combine as well as NoGi and Grappling for MMA.

It all started because of the self-defense aspect and this is the part we do not care anymore. It is understandable that the Gracies and founders of BJJ are right when they say we neglect the self defense aspect. I would not say that a lot of people neglect it, the truth is that they do not care about self-defense at all!! (And somehow this is a good sign!) In the development of BJJ, the first way to prove your quality of training  BJJ were Vale Tudo fights. You could really do everything you wanted – no rules!!! If you compare UFC events with Vale Tudo fights it is not the same anymore. There are rules – around 30 -50 rules today – but because of the marketing people still think this is a sport without rules. But as soon as you talk about a sport – you have to take care of your athletes and then it is far away from a self-defense situation. Pride Events where much more brutal than UFC but it does not exist anymore. In Amateur MMA fights elbows and knees are (often) forbidden.

The rules set of the Kimono IBJJF fights was based on the street defense idea. You got points for positions where you could control and punch. The position hierarchy is based on punching in different positions. But BJJ was developed out of Judo and when Judo became an Olympic Sport 1964 they focused only on the throws and because of the rules the ground fighting was not trained anymore. Out of BJJ also Luta Livre developed. I asked one of the highest Luta Livre representatives in Europe what is the difference between BJJ – NoGi and Luta Livre and he said – there is no difference because they developed next to each other at the same area at the same time. In the beginning BJJ was because of the use of the Kimono more influenced out of Judo and Luta Livre was influenced out of Catch as Can Wrestling – but that’s it. And if you take your Gi off, in standing Wrestling gets more important. Put the Gi back on, Judo is more useful. I would say the difference is because of the use of the Kimono or not and nothing else.

And today we have NoGi – for ADCC, for submission only Events, for EBI and for IBJJF NoGi Tournaments.

So now tell me again that you know all aspects of BJJ!!!!!!????


As soon as a Martial Art changes to become a sport then it starts to change. When you have a different rule set the sport starts to change again. You can become good in more aspects of grappling but you need time for this and it is probably not a good idea to fight one weekend under IBJJF rules and the next for MMA. You have to specialize your training for certain amount of time. But it is amazing what huge variations BJJ can offer today!!!


This brings me to the idea that on our BJJ intensive Camps we have to tell our students for which area of BJJ our classes are. We offering classes for MMA, self-defense, BJJ – Gi – Basics, BJJ – Gi – Advanced, NoGi and Luta Livre, Leglocks (Heelhooks) and woman classes. It is the student’s homework to choose the area they want to improve, but we have specialists for all different aspects of our great ART – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!!!!

Until now I have never seen any other BJJ Camp where they try to cover all aspects of the ART!



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