T Nation

Gracie vs. Buchecha Rematch


#1

Not sure how many follow competitive bjj, but this was an interesting outcome which surprised many (myself included).

It’s being held up by many as an example of how old school focus on executing fundamentals can triumph over superior attributes and new school innovation and athleticism. I can get behind that sentiment.

Regardless, two amazing competitors and a great capper to Roger Gracie’s career.

Thoughts?


#2

I agree with that assessment and agree that it was an awesome match.

As someone who has always focused mostly on the basics but who has really, really put a microscope to those basics over this past year I can totally appreciate Roger’s efficiency and effectiveness. IMO he is the quintessential example of what BJJ/GJJ was originally meant to be: simple, effective, not based on tremendous athleticism/attributes, capable of working on opponents of all shapes and sizes, efficient, direct, and an ability to finish the opponent.

Other than Rickson, I feel that he is the person who has best embodied this “ideal” (at least in my lifetime). I love watching Kron too, but Roger is just so damn efficient and good at what he does! When he mounts, everyone knows he’s gonna collar Choke them, but they just can’t do a damn thing about it. Now THAT is mastery!


#3

My thoughts exactly. Around a decade ago (has it been that long?) I have had the pleasure to roll frequently with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in a week long training camp. What impressed me the most was the fact that he used very few techniques - if I remember correctly it was one half guard sweep, one full guard sweep, two guard passes, two chokes and one armbar, give or take a technique or two. All executed perfectly with ideal timing. You knew what to expect yet you were powerless to stop it.

He was tapping people left and right (I lost count how many times I was submitted) and some black belts from esteemed lineages were complaining constantly about his allegedly “backward” techniques, despite getting regularly submitted by Nogueira. No gogoplatas or spider guards for that matter.

If six techniques are sufficient for the art of boxing, I don’t see why true masters of BJJ shouldn’t practice just a few techniques flawlessly.


#4

Much of jiu jitsu innovation has been addition of wrestling, no gi techniques, and 10th planet esque stuff meant for very particular situations in mma, and some wilder shit that’s been emerging in response (fisher pole guard, etc)

As such, it’s not shocking that fundamental jiu jitsu dominates in an environment rhT facilitates that style.
Go to MMA, and the Gracie’s don’t do shit anymore. Innovation generally follows the way of money, ie not jiu jitsu centric fighting.

Sidenote, kind of like bravo vs royler. For all of eddies bag of tricks, the biggest win of his life came from fundamental guard work and a tricky triangle.

Jiu jitsu is best in jiu jitsu comps.


#5

I can see what you are saying, though Damian Maia might disagree with you. :wink:

I also think it’s less about Jiu-Jitsu now being obsolete in MMA or other contexts than just pure submission grappling/IBJJF competitions and more about most BJJ practitioners and schools focusing almost exclusively on sport grappling with perhaps a little MMA and a splash of self defense thrown in. Almost every top level BJJ fighter that has tried their hand at MMA comes from a sport BJJ background (Marcelo, Roger, Demian, Werdum, etc…) not a self defense/combative GJJ/BJJ background. Some also have very solid backgrounds in other relevant combat sports (for instance Nogueira’s boxing background, Anderson Silva’s Muay Thai background, or Jake Shields wrestling background)

Contrast that to the older generation of Gracie fighters (Rickson, Renzo, Royce, Ralph, etc…) and even more so their seniors (Helio, Rolls, Carlson Sr, etc…) who focused primarily on actual combat/self defense first and foremost, and then split the rest of their time between Vale Tudo/MMA and submission grappling.

Therefore the older generation (who are now all much too old to really compete with and to to defeat the current crop of high level Combat athletes) was generally much more effective when it came to actual or even sport combat (MMA) while still being very good at sport grappling. The need for real world effectiveness and the understanding of wanting to avoid “fatal tendencies” meant keeping their Jiu-Jitsu fairly simple and fundamental as the threat of strikes, as well as other “dirty fighting” tactics were a very real concern for them.

Specificity is king. Always has been, always will be.


#6

Completely agree. As exciting as Buchecha is to watch, he is the big, strong athletic guy who bjj was designed to help the less gifted defeat through technique and economy of motion.

Love that basic, old-school game.


#7

Agree, and I think the "lack"of Gracie jujitsu at the UFC is not due so much to the sport passing them by as it is due to the fact that in some sense they MADE the sport.

Nobody says Einstein’s really only good at turn off the century physics…because he literally made physics what it has become. His finger prints are everywhere, on everything. Physics doesn’t turn the corner like it did without him . Same with the Gracie’s and JJ in MMA.

So I think it is wrong to say the Gracie’s don’t do shit any more–they created the revolution. They were the founding fathers of the next generation of MMA. And they are still so incredibly good.


#8
  1. Sentoguy, I consider demian to b one of the main ppl advancing jiu jitsu in mma. In particular his passing, adoption of the Zguard and later discarding it, and bottom game looks very different, not to mention his posturing. I don’t think jiu jitsu is obsolete, I just think what MMA guys use now as jiu jitsu includes a lot more stuff and positions, and generally looks pretty diff, even if fundamentally they are very similiar. Gi to no gi, and being exposed to many different other arts in live situations means it had to adapt. One of the main reasons I like jiu jitsu, is that it is so adaptable to MMA, unlike the judo community.

  2. yes, the Gracie’s are the shit. But there are no top 5 UFC fighters with the last name Gracie, and comparatively few UFC fighters associated with them than in the past, and NO UFC fighters relying on them completely. Total respect for the Gracie family and what they have done, and their still occurring accomplishments in jiu jitsu. But if you fight, you are concerned with the most lethal, cutting edge stuff happening TOMORROW. You don’t find that shit with them, you find it at AKA, jack-Wink, tristar, Phil donahue, Marcelo, 10th planet, novice uno…
    Like, the lions den and wolfs lair used to really push MMA advancement, but no one would say they are still making waves in mma, or doing anything. The past is past. Respect the history, but a fight is only about winners and losers. And in the past few years, the Gracie’s have been neither.


#9

Coplan,

You need to define what you mean by fighting. Is fighting mutual combat in the “street?” Is it mma? Is it self-defense, i.e., a response to a criminal act such as assault? Just because the Gracies, for example, don’t have the presence in mma that they had when it was vale tudo doesn’t mean they know nothing about about how to deal with “fighting” since fighting can mean many different things.

You then mention Marcelo, who I assume is Marcelo Garcia, who fought one mma fight years ago and lost. He doesn’t have a stable of mma fighters either yet you refer to him in the context of fighting. Also, Garcia is known to not really use a “modern” or “cutting edge” BJJ game.

10th Planet? All due respect to Eddie but how many world champions have they produced in BJJ or submission grappling? How many UFC champions?

Phil Donahue? If you mean John Danaher then you do know he is affiliated with Renzo Gracie?

Something else to consider is that there is a limited number of Gracies out there so it’s not like they could have a huge presence anyway, in sport bjj or mma, as coaches or athletes. But, if you look at lineages then their presence is huge.

You mention AKA, their BJJ coach is Leandro Vieira who traces his roots to the Gracies. Ricardo Liborio founded American Top Team and they are a force in mma. Liborio used to train under Carlson Gracie.


#10

I concede.


#11

zecarlo,
Damn, man , I havent seen you on here in forever. Glad that you are still out there, this forum has missed you and some other regulars. Stay safe.


#12

The interesting thing is that nothing that Maia is doing is “new”, it’s all very old school GJJ/BJJ. Everything from his insistence of getting up off his back to try to take the top whenever possible, to his pressure passing game, to his “both arms over” or “both arms under” rather than “seatbelt” attacking style from the back are all old school BJJ concepts and strategies. Look no further than Kron to see another example of someone utilizing similar Old School GJJ concepts in his fights and doing very well in MMA as a result of it.

From what I’ve seen, much of the “innovation” in BJJ is the result of a lack of truly solid fundamentals. And I don’t mean that as a knock btw, there is some very effective stuff out there, but much of it is based more on athleticism/attributes rather than on the principles of leverage, “connection/disconnection”, angles, and the other principles that were designed by Helio and later expanded upon and further refined by Rickson to allow smaller less athletic individuals to overcome larger more athletic individuals. Without those “invisible” ingredients though, BJJ simply becomes an athletic competition which usually goes to the superior athlete. And since many of the guys coming into MMA are top level wrestlers (who are elite level athletes) they are simply “out athleting” many of the BJJ guys coming into MMA.

And that’s not to say there aren’t wrestlers who are amazing technicians and don’t have similar “deep” level and non athletic based approaches to wrestling (Dave Schultz is probably the quintessential example IMO). Just that, often wrestling is about “outworking” your opponent and superior athleticism. There is “technique” no doubt, but (partly due to the rules of wrestling and partly likely due to a lack of truly deep strategy and “hidden” details) the winner is often determined by who is the superior athlete.

This background is also much closer to the current MMA structure than the Gracie’s “Vale Tudo/no rules/street fighting” approach which had no time limits/rounds and was simply a matter of “winning by attrition” in many cases. Yes, modern sport BJJ/Submission Grappling is becoming more similar in round structure to modern MMA, but due to the lack of as many stalling fouls and modern sport BJJ being kind of a “watered down” version of old school
BJJ (where the idea of conservationof energy is still utilized, but due to the round structure in most tournaments not really able to be truly utilized) the athletes that come out of it are generally not quite on the same level as the top level wrestlers in many cases. There are some freaks like Jacare, but even he has had issues with conditioning that you don’t see as often with wrestlers like Chael.

It’s like a raccoon taking on a greyhound. Have them compete in a foot race and the greyhound will win every time (superior athleticism). But, have them fight to the death and the raccoon will lure the greyhound into chasing it into the water, take it into deep water and drown it (strategy).

Just my 2 cents though. Others may disagree.


#13

Agree. I am very much a fan of that old-school game and work to model my own efforts after those concepts. In part this is because my practice is primarily meant to support my work so for me it’s about getting someone to the ground efficiently, establishing top position and maintaining pressure while moving into control for cuffing etc.

As such my game has a lot of old JJJ/Judo elements to it (I definitely don’t turn my nose up at wrist locks). As much as competition interests me it’s really not my focus.

The last thing I want is to develop habits that make sense in the IBJJF scoring environment but are useless anywhere else. Trying to stall someone with the inverted pterodactyl sweep to work the clock for a points advantage doesn’t interest me much.

Base, posture, leverage, distance management etc are all my friends. Rubber guard? Not so much. The old BJJ/GJJ stuff I find more conducive to my application needs than the more ‘innovative’ stuff. That said, I’m still guilty of trying to out-athlete people from time to time. People often ask if I come from a wrestling background haha…

In somewhat related news, planning to go to a day seminar with Rickson this fall. Pretty psyched.

Edited for premature submission.


#14

Sentoguy
My jiu jitsu knowledge is apparently much shallower than I thought. Will look into Kron more.
Iv been around professional mma before I was a teen. I consider innovation new stuff RELATIVE TO MMA. To me, Damian Mia is an innovator bcuz he does stuff rarely seem b4 in the UFC, and when ppl start to catch on, adapts off that. Along with the current crop of fighters copying him, and essentially following his lead. mma being what it is, I bet most innovation is borrowing from another art that already developed the method a long time ago. (Which makes the rubber guard and 10 planet recent innovations and quick transition to mma world so cool)


#15

I really like Bravo and think he’s got a great creative and innovative mind. Rubber Guard is cool if you’ve got the flexibility for it, but it’s also pretty dependent on your opponent having crappy posture or being able to easily break their posture (again, poor fundamentals). Since 95% of people out there seem to teach poor posture basics from inside the Closed Guard and have nearly zero clue about how to maintain it, it’s no wonder why you are seeing more Rubber Guard in MMA (and NoGi submission grappling in general).

Lockdown is also cool and there are a bunch of really nice transitions and sweeps off of it, but they are all pretty much based on your opponent using “head and arm control” and being on both knees. That’s the controlling position that I see taught most often and what I was taught initially, making Lockdown a great option for what people commonly encounter in MMA/Sub Grappling. But, IME it is actually a pretty crappy controlling position and leaves you open for way too many sweeps, guard recovery options, and easy positional changes (plus both your arms are being used up just basically “hugging” your opponent to you). I’ll still use it on my students occasionally so they can get familiar with it and how to beat it (Lockdown and it’s various options is one of the options that I teach them), but it’s not my “go to” and I teach my students the positioning that I have found to be much more efficient and effective (as well as negating the possibility for them using the Lockdown and minimizing their Sweep options to basically just 1, as well as how to shut that down).

Twister Side Control I pretty much never use as it’s way too easy to shut down if you know what you are doing and if I am going to go “Reverse Scarf” (for instance in order to transition to Mount) I will usually use more Traditional positioning.

I do really like the systematic nature of the 10th Planet system and some of the names are pretty colorful. Bravo is also very charismatic and fun to listen to, not to mention extremely passionate (which is contagious). So again, I’m not putting him or his system down; it’s great stuff. It is just too heavily dependent on your opponent having weak fundamentals and/or positioning habits IMO.


#16

Very cool about the Rickson seminar! He is THE Master of the Fundamentals IMO and every time I see him teach (especially) or one of his instructors teach (Dave Kama, Luis Heredia, Pedro Sauer, Henry Akins, etc…) I am always amazed at the “invisible” details he is able to give on techniques that I “thought” I knew and understood! He is/was BY FAR the best of his brothers/cousins and it wasn’t because of his athleticism, it was/is because of his mind and his approach to Jiu-Jitsu.

Have a blast! I’m jealous! :blush:


#17

Have to disagree with this. Eddie progressed a ton between their two meetings. He hit the electric chair several times, and I think he would have finished it with that vaporizer at the end if Royler wasn’t allowed to grab his pants.


#18

Great video, thanks for putting that up.

It was really cool how even what they chose to wear became part of the chess match. You wear pants to grip my leg, I grab your pants to stuff your submission.