Back in November of 1993, there was an event held in Denver Colorado that was designed to hash out the debate about which of the martial arts is the best to learn for self defense and which would reign supreme in a fight when pitted against all other martial arts. Of course this little event is known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In UFC 1, 8 men from 8 different martial arts were pitted against each other in a single elimination tournament. Back in 1993, the UFC rule book must’ve only been 1 page long, and was probably even double spaced. There were very few rules about what fighters were prohibited from doing because they wanted to ensure that no martial art would be at a disadvantage due to being limited by a strict rule set.
In the very first UFC fight featuring Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Royce Grace (BJJ) was pitted up against Boxing specialist, Art Jimmerson. If you are interested in seeing the fight, check out the video below. The fight starts at approximately 4:25 into the video
I apologize for the Non-English commentators and the small screen, but you get the idea. Royce was able to avoid damage by monitoring the distance between himself and the boxer. Royce used kicks to push Art back, and if Royce wanted to create more space, he would simply step back and stay about 2 arm’s lenths away from Art to make sure that he was out of the Boxer’s punching and attacking distance. Royce slowly stalked Mr. Jimmerson until he saw and opening. When the BJJ guy saw his chance, he shot underneath the Boxer’s punches and secured a double leg takedown. I would also like you to note how easily the Boxer went down. Many martial arts such as boxing have zero focus on developing a sprawl or on avoiding takedowns. Most people, when hit with a double leg takedown, will crumple to the ground with minimal effort.
Once Royce secured the top position, he quickly transitioned to the mount, threw a few punches, and the boxer, being so lost on the ground and overwhelmed by Royce’s control tapped out due to fear! Royce had hardly dealt any damage at all, but Art knew very quickly that he was stuck, wouldn’t get out anytime soon, and would take a lot of damage and risk severe injury if he allowed the fight to continue. Let me say that again…
Art Jimmerson, a boxer, quit merely because Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, secured a top dominant position.
People who do not known how to fight and position themselves on the ground to stay safe are often overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and a complete sense of helplessness.
Royce went on to win his next 2 fights that night securing the title of UFC 1 champion. He choked out both Ken Shamrock and finally Gerard Gordeau with a simple Rear Naked Choke. If you do some self-research, you’ll find several fights online showcasing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu against a variety of other martial arts or unskilled attackers. If you’ve done any research about martial arts or self defense, and you are serious about wanting to take self defense classes, based on history and available facts, it’s obvious that your best bet would be to locate a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School near you and at least give it a try. Most schools offer a free trial or a free introductory lesson so you can try before you buy to make sure it’s going to be the right fit for you and help you reach your goals.