Rener Gracie, Mark and Luke Beston
ROYCE GRACIE JIU JITSU NETWORK AUSTRALIA

MD Mixed Martial Arts is proud to be affiliated with Luke Beston-Gracie Jiu Jitsu and part of Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu Network Australia.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the fastest growing Martial Arts in the world and a big part of our MMA syllabus. Being affiliated and able to network with Luke Beston (first Gracie Black Belt in NSW) will only enhance and improve our standard to the national standard.

LUKE BESTON

Luke was first introduced to Gracie Jiu Jitsu when Prof. Carlos Gracie Jr visited Australia in 1995. Over the next 10 years Luke travelled countless times to train at many of the best academies throughout Australia, Brasil and the U.S.A.

During this time Luke has won a number of Grappling titles as well as being crowned the 2001 NSW Pankration Champion.

In December 2005, Luke was awarded his Black Belt by Gracie Academy head instructors Prof. Royler Gracie & Prof. Rolker Gracie and Gracie Sydney head instructor Prof. Bruno Panno. This achievement made luke the first ever person from New South Wales to receive a Black Belt from the Gracie family.

As a grappling coach Luke has produced many champions at the state and national level, as well as winning the overall 2005 & 2008 NSW BJJ Federation team championship.

Luke is a regular contributor to BLITZ martial arts magazine. Some of his writing can be viewed on the Articles page of this website.

HISTORY OF BJJ

Origin

The art began with Mitsuyo Maeda (aka Conde Koma, or Count Coma in English), a member of the then-recently-founded Kodokan. Maeda 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 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. Jiu-jitsu is known as more than just a system of fighting. Since its inception in 1882, its parent art of judo was separated from older systems of Japanese jujutsu by an important difference that was passed on to BJJ: it is not solely a martial art: it is also a sport; a method for promoting physical fitness and building character in young people; and, ultimately, a way (Do) of life. It is often claimed that BJJ is a development of traditional Japanese jujutsu, not judo, and that Maeda was a jujutsuka.[citation needed] However, Maeda never trained in jujutsu. He first trained in sumoas 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] He was promoted to 7th dan in Kodokan judo the day before he died in 1941. In 1914, Maeda was given the opportunity to travel to Brazil as part of a large Japanese immigration colony. In Brazil, in the northern state of Para, he befriended Gastão Gracie, an influential businessman, who helped Maeda get established. To show his gratitude, Maeda offered to teach Judo to Gastão's oldest son, Carlos Gracie. Carlos learned for a few years and eventually passed his knowledge to his brothers. At age fourteen, Helio Gracie, the youngest of the brothers moved in with his older brothers who lived and taught Jiu-Jitsu in a house in Botafogo, a borough of Rio de Janeiro. Following doctor's recommendations, Helio would spend the next few years limited to only watching his brothers teach as he was naturally frail. One day, when Helio Gracie was 16 years old, a student showed up for class when Carlos was not around. Helio, who had memorized all the techniques from watching his brothers teach, offered to start the class. When the class was over, Carlos showed up and apologized for his delay. The student asked for Helio to continue being his instructor, Helio Gracie then gradually developed Gracie Jiu Jitsu as an adaptation from Judo as he was unable to do many Judo moves. Helio Gracie also held the rank of 6th dan in judo.

Name

When Maeda left Japan, judo was still often referred to as "Kano Jiu-Jitsu",[9] or, even more generically, simply as "Jiu-Jitsu."[10][11] Higashi, the co-author of "Kano Jiu-Jitsu"[9] wrote in the foreword:

"Some confusion has arisen over the employment of the term 'jiudo'. To make the matter clear I will state that jiudo is the term selected by Professor Kano as describing his system more accurately than jiu-jitsu does. Professor Kano is one of the leading educators of Japan, and it is natural that he should cast about for the technical word that would most accurately describe his system. But the Japanese people generally still cling to the more popular nomenclature and call it jiu-jitsu."

Outside Japan, however, this distinction was noted even less. Thus, when Maeda and Satake arrived in Brazil in 1914, every newspaper announced "jiu-jitsu" despite both men being Kodokan judoka.

The Japanese government itself did not officially mandate until 1925 that the correct name for the martial art taught in the Japanese public schools should be "judo" rather than "jujutsu".[12] In Brazil, the art is still called "Jiu-Jitsu". When the Gracies went to the United States to spread their art, they used the terms "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" and "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" to differentiate from the already present styles using similar-sounding names. "Jiu-jitsu" is an older romanization that was the original spelling of the art in the West, and it is still in common use, whereas the modern Hepburn romanization is "jujutsu."

The art is sometimes referred to as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (GJJ), this name was trademarked by Rorion Gracie, but after a legal dispute with his cousin Carley Gracie, his trademark to the name was voided.[13] Other members of the Gracie family often call their style by personalized names, such as Charles Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and similarly, the Machado family call their style Machado Jiu-Jitsu (MJJ). While each style and its instructors have their own unique aspects, they are all basic variations of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Today there are four major branches of BJJ from Brazil: Gracie Humaita, Gracie Barra, Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Alliance Jiu Jitsu. Each branch can trace its roots back to Mitsuyo Maeda and the Gracie family.

Development

Maeda met an influential businessman named Gastão Gracie who helped him get established. In 1916, his 14 year-old son Carlos Gracie watched a demonstration by Maeda at the Teatro da Paz, in Belém, and decided to learn the art. Maeda accepted Carlos as a student,[2] and Carlos went on to become a great exponent of the art and ultimately, with his younger brother Hélio Gracie became the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In 1921, Gastão Gracie and his family moved to Rio de Janeiro. Carlos, then 17 years old, passed Maeda's teachings on to his brothers Osvaldo, Gastão and Jorge. Hélio was too young and sick at that time to learn the art, and due to medical imposition was prohibited to take part in the training sessions. Despite that, Hélio learned from watching his brothers. He eventually overcame his health problems and is now considered by many as the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (though others, such as Carlson Gracie, have pointed to Carlos as the founder of the art).

Hélio 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. TheGracie family continued to develop the system throughout the 20th century, often fighting vale tudo matches (precursors to modern MMA), during which it increased its focus on ground fighting and refined its techniques.

Today, the main differences between the BJJ styles is between traditional Gracie Jiu-Jitsu's emphasis on self-defense, and Sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu's orientation towards competition. There is a large commonality of techniques between the two. Also, there is a wide variety of ideals in training in different schools in terms of the utilization of pure or yielding technique versus skillful application of pressure to overcome an opponent.

Prominence

Jiu-Jitsu came to international prominence in the martial arts community in the early 1990s, when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Royce Gracie won the first, second and fourth Ultimate Fighting Championships, which at the time were single elimination martial arts tournaments.[3] Royce fought against often much-larger opponents who were practicing other styles, including boxing, shoot-fighting, karate, judo and tae kwon do. It has since become a staple art for many MMA fighters and is largely credited for bringing widespread attention to the importance of ground fighting. Sport BJJ tournaments continue to grow in popularity worldwide and have given rise to no-gi submission grappling tournaments, such as the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.

Style of fighting

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu emphasizes taking an opponent to the ground and utilizing ground fighting techniques and submission holds involving joint-locks and chokeholds also found in numerous other arts with or without ground fighting emphasis. The premise is that most of the advantage of a larger, stronger opponent comes from superior reach and more powerful strikes, both of which are somewhat negated when grappling on the ground. BJJ permits a wide variety of techniques to take the fight to the ground after taking a grip. 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.

Achieving a dominant position on the ground is one of the hallmarks of the BJJ style, and includes effective use of the guard position to defend oneself from bottom, and passing the guard to dominate from top position with side control, mount, and back mount positions. This system of maneuvering and manipulation can be likened to 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).

Renzo Gracie wrote in his book Mastering Jiu-jitsu:

"The classical jujutsu of old Japan appeared to have no common strategy to guide a combatant over the course of a fight. Indeed, this was one of Kano's most fundamental and perceptive criticisms of the classical program." Maeda not only taught the art of judo to Carlos Gracie, but also taught a particular philosophy about the nature of combat developed by Kano, and further refined by Maeda based on his worldwide travels competing against fighters skilled in a wide variety of martial arts.

The book details Maeda's theory as arguing that physical combat could be broken down into distinct phases, such as the striking phase, the grappling phase, the ground phase, etc. Thus, it was a smart fighter's task to keep the fight located in the phase of combat that best suited to his own strengths. Renzo Gracie stated that this was a fundamental influence on the Gracie approach to combat, these strategies were further developed over time by the Gracies and others, and became prominent in contemporary MMA.

Ground fighting

BJJ is most strongly differentiated by its greater emphasis on groundwork than other martial arts. Commonly, striking-based styles spend almost no time on groundwork. Even other grappling martial arts tend to spend much more time on the standing phase. It is helpful to contrast its rules with judo's greater emphasis on throws, due to both its radically different point-scoring system, and the absence of most of the judo rules that cause the competitors to have to recommence in a standing position. This has led to greater time dedicated to training on the ground, resulting in enhancement and new research of groundwork techniques by BJJ practitioners.

Along with BJJ's great strengths on the ground comes its relative deemphasis of standing techniques, such as striking. To remedy this comparative lack, there is an increasing amount of cross-training between the sports of BJJ and wrestling, Judo, or Sambo, as well as striking based arts such as Muay Thai, kickboxing, and boxing.

Training methods

Sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu's focus on submissions without the use of strikes while training allows practitioners to practice at full speed and with full power, resembling the effort used in a real competition. Training methods include technique drills in which techniques are practiced against a non-resisting partner; isolation sparring, commonly referred to as positional drilling, where only a certain technique or sets of techniques are used, and full sparring in which each opponent tries to submit their opponent using any legal technique. Physical conditioning is also an important part of training at many clubs.

Primary ground positions

During the ground phase of combat the BJJ practitioner strives to take a dominant or controlling position from which to apply submissions, these positions provide different options.

Side control

The practitioner pins their opponent to the ground from the side of their body. The dominant grappler is 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. A wide variety of submissions are initiated from Side control.

Full mount

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. Full Mount is mostly used to attack the arms or apply choke holds.

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 commonly 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. The three main types of guard are Open, Closed, and Half. In closed guard, the bottom grappler has their legs around the opponent's trunk and has their ankles closed together to provide control and a barrier to escaping the position. In the open guard, the legs are not hooked together and the bottom grappler uses their legs or feet to push or pull in a more dynamic fashion. In the half guard, one of the top grappler's legs is being controlled by the bottom grappler's legs.

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.[3] 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. A less common type of submission hold is a compression lock, where the muscle of an opponent is compressed against a hard, large bone (commonly the shin or wrist), causing significant pain to the opponent. These types of locks are not usually allowed in competition due to the high risk of tearing muscle tissue. This type of lock often also hyper-extends the joint in the opposite direction, pulling it apart.

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. Similarly, joint manipulations of the spine are typically barred due to the inherent danger of crushing or mis-aligning cervical vertebrae. Leglocks are allowed in varying degrees depending on skill level, with straight ankle locks being the only leglocks allowed in the beginner division, or white belt level, straight kneebars being allowed in the intermediate division, or blue belt level and toeholds with the pressure applied inwards are allowed in the advanced division (purple, brown, black). Some competitions also ban submissions involving the crushing or compression of muscle tissue. However, most joint locks involving the wrist, elbow, shoulder or ankle are permitted as there is a great deal more flexibility in those joints and those locks are safe to use under tournament conditions. Also, some fighters practice moves whose sole purpose is to inflict pain upon their opponent, in the hope that they will tap out. This includes driving knuckles into pressure points, holding their opponent's head in order to tire out the neck (called the "can opener" or kubi-hishigi) and putting body weight on top of the sternum, floating ribs, or similarly sensitive bones. These moves are not true submission moves; they are generally only used as distractions mostly in lower levels of competition. They are avoided or aggressively countered in middle to upper levels of competition.

Chokes and strangles

Chokes and strangles (commonly but somewhat incorrectly referred to as "air chokes" and "blood chokes" respectively) are a common form of submission. Chokes involve constriction of the windpipe (causing asphyxia.) Strangles involve constriction of the carotid artery (causing ischemia.)[17] Air chokes are less efficient than strangles and may result in damage to the opponent's trachea, sometimes even resulting in death. By contrast, blood chokes (strangulations) cut the flow of blood to the opponent's brain, causing a rapid loss of consciousness without damaging any internal structures. Being "choked-out" in this way is relatively safe as long as the choke is released soon enough after unconsciousness, letting blood back into the brain before oxygen deprivation damage begins.[18] However, it should not be practiced unsupervised.

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Gi

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner's uniform is similar to a judogi, but often with tighter cuffs on the pants and jacket. This allows the practitioner to benefit from a closer fit, providing less material for an opponent to manipulate, although there is a significant overlap in the standards that allows for a carefully selected Gi to be legal for competition in both styles. To be promoted in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the wearing of the Gi while training is a requirement, but recently with the growing popularity of "no gi" Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, instructors have been giving out belts to no gi practitioners (e.g., Rolles Gracie awarding Rashad Evans a black belt). The term kimono is sometimes used to describe the outfit, especially in Brazil.

Grading

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ranking system awards a practitioner different coloured belts to signify increasing levels of technical knowledge and practical skill. While the system's structure shares its origins with the judo ranking system and the origins of all coloured belts, it now contains many of its own unique aspects and themes. Some of these differences are relatively minor, such as the division between youth and adult belts and the stripe/degree system. Others are quite distinct and have become synonymous with the art, such as a marked informality in promotional criteria, including as a focus on a competitive demonstration of skill, and a conservative approach to promotion in general.[20][21][22]Traditionally, the concept of competitive skill demonstration as a quickened and earned route of promotion holds true.[20][21][22] Some schools have placed a green belt for adults between the white and blue belt ranks due to the long periods between advancement. The amount of time it takes to achieve the rank of black belt varies between the individual but the average time frame is between 8 and 10 years with a consistent training schedule of 3 to 4 times per week.

Legacy

Since Royce Gracie successfully used BJJ techniques in the UFC to defeat opponents of greater size and strength, Jiu-Jitsu has become more and more popular all over the world.

In self defense

Since Jiu-Jitsu allows a small and weak person to submit bigger opponents with the use of proper techniques, specially when the aggressor has no ground fighting knowledge, its use as a self defense system has increased over the last years. Women have also managed to defend themselves by the use of BJJ techniques.

In public security

Police officers, security guards and similar professionals' interest in BJJ has grown. Many security-related professions have emphasized the training in grappling and ground fighting techniques, specially in BJJ, to guarantee success in situations that demand hand-to-hand combat.

In mixed martial arts

In MMA, proficiency in grappling and ground fighting has become a pre-requisite, and BJJ is, almost always, a favorite martial art in these moments.