I have read with interest and elucidation many posts about the similarities between Judo and BJJ, and in that spirit, have a question. I am not trying to be confrontational or leading, and apologise genuinely if I unintentionally come off that way.

BJJ as it is practiced worldwide has (at least) two aspects - Sport Jiu-Jitsu and Vale Tudo. I presume both are familiar to everyone reading this.

When the argument is made that BJJ and Jiu-Jitsu are the same, is the reference to Sport Jiu-Jitsu? Or is it to both Sport Jiu-Jitsu and Vale Tudo?

If is only the former, then the argument could be made that Judo and Sport Jiu-Jitsu are the same, but emphatically, you could not reasonably say that Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are the same, as BJJ fundamentally encompasses Vale Tudo. Sport Jiu-Jitsu of course does not, although there is cross over.

And if the argument that BJJ and Judo are the same does include Vale Tudo, I am curious as to the parallels people see between Judo and a contest done in trunks, where striking is integral to every submission attempt and positional advance, where striking is integral to closing with the opponent preparatory to a takedown, where the use of a wall is assumed (ever notice the padded walls in BJJ academies?), and any number of other defining features that do not appear to be Judo related in any way I can imagine.

I do not take this to be an irrefutable point, and look forward with interest and respect to the replies.

everything came from something else..nothing appears out of thin air. this holds true with medicine, technology, science and ofcourse martial arts. if these things didnt evolve, people will be reading by candle light and riding horse and buggies.

i love how you make the evolution of vale tudo out to be something the brazilians did because they suck at every other combat sport.

you try your best to come off as polite as you can to BJJ but it always seems to reek of jealousy, bitterness and contept for BJJ.

Terrific reply as ever. I apologise that this was discussed before and I missed it.

Carlos Gracie first started taking lessons in 1914, and started teaching in 1918. Very shortly later he began taking on all comers in no rules contests, even going so far as to take out his famous ad in the local paper "If you want to get your bones broken and your eyes blackened, come to ..."

Thus the statement "(the) BJJ jacket was there LONG before the "anything goes", no-jacket contests were." is not factually correct. The first known contests that BJJ participated in were no rules, and included strikes. This gets back to the point that Vale Tudo is an integral, inseparable part of BJJ, and appears in many defining regards to have no similarity to Judo.

I am confused on one fundamental point. Is the "History" argument that BJJ came from Judo historically, or is the argument that with relatively insignificant variations, BJJ is Judo? The two points are of course immensely different.

If it is the latter argument, I would, as I stated above ask that someone in good conscience explain how Vale Tudo and Judo are substantially the same. A simple historical common origin is of course inadequate; by that standard, the USA is the UK, with a few minor technical differences.

If it is the former argument, simply that BJJ came from Judo (not JuJutsu), but with the acknowledgment that from its inception BJJ headed in a radically different direction, and is now a pursuit in fundamental ways completely different from Judo, I think that should be said unequivocally, as many have missed the point.

Well, the reply is very simple, and has been discussed.

First, let us accept two very simple concepts.

1. "jacket wrestling" what ever we call it, can be traced back to Kodokan Judo. While there are other styles, and some much older, it was Kodokan Judo that gave us a standardised teaching style, a core concept of safe but effective prastice, and the style of contest we see today.

2. Darwin still rules. Nature will decide how things turn out. In other words, the rules of the game will make the game.

OK, now, removing all hype from the game, lets look at two other simple truths:

1. We promote (as a nation) the things we do well at. We see a lot of boxing and football here but much less Judo and Soccer.

2. We want to make heros out of winners, not losers.

With those things in mind, lets look at the BJJ siutation (removed from the GJJ one which is a different issue).

Clearly their jacket matches and entire system came from Kodokan Judo. Yes, there are now different rules, but there is no doubt that the system of "BJJ" was brought to them by Madea who was Kodokan Judo and ONLY Kodokan Judo. If someone disagrees, again I await them to provide the name of the Bujutsu Jujutsu system he was title holder of and took to Brazil. Don't hold your breath on that one.

Now, and this is a hard pill to swallow for some, the people in Brazil never got better than the Japanese with the jacket on. So, they got a great idea, why not take it off?

The creation of "anything goes" came from the logic of making your opponent fight you on more equal footing. Once the jacket was off, then it spun off in a very different direction. This direction has as much to do with Brazil lacking boxing champions as it does anything else. This gave them an event they could excell at, and have hero's from.

The logic flaw is the extension of my statement that BJJ came from Judo by saying that "anything goes" did not. My reply is BJJ jacket was there LONG before the "anything goes", no-jacket contests were. Kodokan Judo begat BJJ. BJJ begat "anything goes". Yes, as we move further away from the source, and allow natural selection to occur in a very different enviornment; we are going to get a very different kind of creature.

This does not change the core truth of our common parent.

The real problem in all of these discussions is the GJJ people who sold the "anti-judo" hyperbole, the greatest of which was the article in Combat. There, the claim was made that Judo was created to fool the US into believing that they were getting real fighting methods when they were not. This, and statemnents like it, did not sit well with Judoka. More importantly, the people who paid thousands of dollars for "pure water" do not want to hear that their art is Judo. Who can blame them after what they paid and what they were told Judo's history was?

When you add "selling the dream" and the "GJJ superman" to the mix, well, here you are.

People do not give up their "magic thinking" very easily. From Santa to Professional Wrestling, we hold on as long as we can.

But, as men of science, as all true Judoka MUST be, as should all grapplers, then we are forced to seek the truth, and check our premises on a daily basis. If a premise prooves to be false, then we must reject it at once and change our outlook.

If we fail to do so, we will become as extinct as the dinosaur....

And yes,that is what Sylvio says."Judo is the science,Jiu-Jitsu is the technique applied."

He also says that they (BJJ) take Judo and refine the technique sets for their purpose.

I assume much like Kimura took O-Soto and refined it for his.

First, i would like to reinterate Mtripps point of darwinism, the style evolves to fit the environment (rules).

Kodokan Judo is the science (a set of principles and evolving techniques) and Olympic Judo and BJJ are the APPLICATION of this science (using the principles and techniques appropriate in a constrained and limited environment). I believe that Slyvio Behring once said something similar, but i could be wrong.

A taoist analogy would be water: water is a consistent substance (it doesn't change from water to non-water unless you add a substance to it), but you can put it in a square conatainer or a round bowl. it's still water.

"To avoid problems with fighting for money by the Kodokan by calling their matches "jujitsu" matches rather than Judo matches."

Could this be where the confusion comes in, with the Gracies calling them jiu-jitsu champions?

"First, i would like to reinterate Mtripps point of darwinism, the style evolves to fit the environment (rules)."

I think its just a matter of opinion. Some people think that when it evolves, its still the same thing, others think it has become something else. No one is really right or wrong there.

You are correct Mark,Maeda entered the kodokan at 17 and remained a part of it his whole life,all his teachings where judo.

Further you are correct that no-gi vale tudo was used to avoid the kodokan`s dominance in such matters.This is why the pro-wrestlers refused to wear gi,and who could blame them,I wouldn`t have wanted to either.This though only sparked a new emphasis for the Judoka and MANY,MANY Judo men fought all over the world without gi because no one would fight with it.This pro-wrestling vs. Judo no-gi stuff was something Maeda and other Judoka became experts at and what he brought to brazil along with his standard gi Judo.

I have pictures right here of Maeda from years before he went to brazil,fighting in no-gi vale-tudo and he is wearing nothing but shorts.

I think that the brazilians created their greatest contribution not from vale-tudo but from regular style vs. style grappling.They may have not been able to beat the Japanese under their rules or maybe they thought it was stupid to get thrown onto a mat where ya didn`t get hurt,so they changed them.They changed them so that there was no pin or throw for ippon.This of course,while avoiding another style,also helped them perfect a ne-waza style because now they had no fear of losing except by submission.Going back to vale-tudo then,all they had to do now was get it to the ground by any means because since it was all they practiced and they had nice soft floors for ukemi they almost always won there.

"I think its just a matter of opinion. Some people think that when it evolves, its still the same thing, others think it has become something else. No one is really right or wrong there."

JCT, i completely disagree. If something evolves, you know it has evolved. I'll give an example:
say, you are used to doing an amazing grappling transition getting from one specific position to another to another trying to get a submission (assume for the sake of argument that submission is your goal). let's say it almost always works.

let's also say you are used to doing this combo (move-move-submission), in a no striking environement. let's further suppose that doing this combo will leave you wide open to heavy strikes during the transition.

Now your move would work well in SJJ environment, and would continue to be used if it works.

HOWEVER, in a Vale Tudo environment, where strikes are allowed, that move might be done once or twice, but when other fighters become aware of it and start pounding you for doing it, you'll stop.

In fact, if you continue to fight Vale Tudo, you'll stop almost ALL grappling transitions that will leave you WIDE open to a severe pounding. that's what evolution is. your strategies and techniques become tailored to the rules, with the most inefficient (weakest) moves and strategies being weeded out.

Now is what you are doing is still the same thing because you have altered your strategy? in a martial arts sense, it is still the same martial art if it is still following the principles and approach to fighting, even with the addition of new techniques because the training environment (method of training) is the same.

"My point is simply that teasing out a direct or clear historical line of descendance is impossible."

for some arts this is true. for other's like Judo and BJJ it is not.

"Capoeria could be called an "indigenous" Brazilian martial art, but that's not quite correct. It was developed by enslaved Africans and undoubtedly has some roots in Africa."

I believe the origin is angola, but i am not extremely familiar with the art. it seems like a lot of headstand kicks, spinning kicks and constant circular movemnent. Just because someone is a capoeriaist doesn't mean that they use it automatically. If i was a Tkd/Judo competitor, and i only used my judo techniques to defeat someone, can you say i was victorious because of my TKD?

I saw a clip of a "capoeria" fighter named Mater Hulk (hahaha)lay the smackdown on Amaury Bittetti, but he threw fists, Tank Abbott style. you are telling me that that is Capoeria?

"I'm sure Jim Arvanitis would be happy to tell you that, in some historians opinions, Judo is the descendant of Greek pankration that spread eastward via the conquests of Alexander the Great."

HAHAHAHAHA. is Arvanitis an anthropolist or historian? where is his proof? Although other cultures have developed similar techiques like some armbars, the science and art of Judo is clearly of Japanese heritage. Many of the techniques could have only been developed with the invention of the Judo Gi.

Also, to continue my point, when BJJ say that they are fighting "Vale Tudo" their fighting method is simply BJJ strategy and techniques applied in a Vale Tudo setting. some striking is integrated from boxing, but aside from some of the striking, the way to approach the fight and the grappling techniques are all found in Judo.

EARLIER Vale Tudo fighters such as Carlos and Helio Gracie in brazil may not have even cross-trained in boxing(i'm not sure), which means that all the strategies in VT had evolved from BJJ(and hence Judo) principles. These principles include maxims such as maximum result with minimum effort, leverage, unbalancing your opponent.

Wow. Mark and Quincy make great points! Please archive these threads.

Kirik,I am not in agreement with the vale-tudo being there long after jacket westling.In fact I believe it was Maeda who brought them both.Maeda had fought many,many times without the jacket(I can even give you a match by match breakdown of him fighting in many vale-tudo style fights without the gi before he ever went to brazil).

The birth of Vale-Tudo style Judo came when pro-wrestlers refused to compete with the jacket,So,Maeda took his off and kick their ass without it.Now this wasn`t only done by Maeda either but by Many traveling judoka of the early style vs, style kodokan era.

This is all chronicled and fairly easy to find.

So if the question is,how can Judo be the same as Vale-tudo,the answer lies in how it is practiced and fought.If it is not,then it dosn`t exist.So,the regular weekend ymca judoka has nothing in common with vale-tudo as the sport jiu-jitsu player dosn`t ,but just as jiu-jitsu has a style to deal with vale-tudo at his disposal,so does the judoka.It is a matter of study and not of what "is" as what "is" is within the practicioner.


RE: that fact remains brazil has never produced a world champion in boxing, kickboxin, wrestling, or judo.

I like your posts and value your contributions here, but that fact is not the fact :-). Brazil has enjoyed multiple world champs in Judo. I don't follow the great sport well enought to name names off the top of my head, but doubtless could find them in minutes with a web search; so could you. Granted Kickboxing has an absurd number of world titles, but you are wrong there as well, starting with Sergio Batarelli. And Boxing ... it too has too many titles, but what's his name Frietas who fought last month is a world title holder.

Mark makes extraordinary arguments; I am humbled to exchange occasionally contrary views with him. Support like yours above is not so useful.

Scoopy my Poopy,

Sometimes a name says it all.

"Because of various historically specific stimuli, these aspects were brought to prominence in particular societies at particular times"

I agree with this

"That same process is happening now on a global scale because of the ease of travel and flow of

I agree with this. i never said that i disagreed with your entire post.

However you wrote:

"Martial arts have developed autonomously, blended with each other and morphed in all corners of the globe forever."

This is only true in modern times, with more efficient methods of travel.

"Maintaining balance was not an invention of the Japanese; using legs to hold an opponent was not an
invention of the Brazilians; kicking someone in the head with the shin was not an invention of the Thais;
punching an opponent in the face with the fist was not an invention of the English."

NO, but they developed independently, autonomously to use your words, and developed into a system, instead of being done accidently or by occasion.

For example, a shin kick to the head isn't a thai invention, but it isn't done consistently by non-thai's in any historical record of fighting i've seen, and the thai's condition their shin to specifically kick with their shins.

So thai's didn't invent the concept of kicking, they just use it systematically, refined it and use it consistently. No one kicked, techniques-wise like the thais b4 the thai's (and people in the surrounding region like burma), because it would require consistent shin conditioning. the same with Judo: judoka didn't create the concept of the throwing, they invented a unique and complete system of throwing and grappling. also, Judo never invented unbalancing your opponent, however, they way they used the principle in grappling is unique because of the rules of Judo fighting.

History is what you make it. Pun intended.

muchrespect has a point in that correct interpretation of history is an improbable task, especially as you go further back in time, and that it would be difficult at best to unerringly attribute a particular aspect of fighting to a particular nation.
The oriental cultures are a very good example of this. The Chinese and Japanese invaded each other and the regions around them so pervasively that it's a wonder to me how any evidence can be attained of anything!
And I'm not debating the validity of the allegations presented by Quincy and Mtripp, I read ALL their input with much interest and would rather have my beliefs shaped by their presentation than by someone who just "says so".

Nevertheless, if you take a set of principles and create seven hundred different forms with them and they in turn create seven hundred each, where do they all come from?
The analogy can be made by your family tree.

But wherever it (MA) comes from, I'm just glad we have it and I'm glad for the diversity.

"This gets back to the point that Vale Tudo is an integral, inseparable part of BJJ, and appears in many defining regards to have no similarity to Judo."Kirik, you learnt/learn BJJ from the Renzo Gracie Family of practitioners, but come on, how many Machado guys can say what you said above? The entire family has fought in one vale-tudo fight (Sakurai over JJM), and they say that the difference between them and the rest of their family is that they emphasize the sport aspect.Adding to this, Bolo is on the verge of becoming a bjj black belt and hasn't undergone Vale-Tudo training. It is quite apparent, to me at least, that Vale Tudo training is no longer a given in bjj training...(not that it is good or bad that way, but it just is it seems).

Two things...

1. I have never spoken to what is, only what it came from. I would hope people have better memories than this. You do remember that it wasn't that long ago that the public statements from the GJJ people was that GJJ had NOTHING to do with Judo and did not come from Judo at all?

I would not be foolish enough to say no-gi MMA fighting is exactly like judo. But excuse me but even the BJJ/GJJ folks make a clear line between that and the Gi grappling they do. I have only addressed the grappling they do with a Gi on.

2. Many of you clearly have not read a very interesting artical in this months Grappling (Walid is on the cover) that speaks to this very issue....

...you really should.

to clarify what i was saying, i was not saying that MMA or VT only has BJJ fighters, or that MMA is Judo without the Gi.

i was saying that when BJJ fighters are fighting what they call "vale tudo" they are adapting what do with the gi to a no gi environment, sometimes with strikes from other arts. other arts have entered the VT/MMA arena, my above posts may not have been clear on this.

excellent thread.