#253 Gracie Nationals Event Now Submission Only, Tests for Performance Enhancing Drugs; Alliance BJJ Holds its Own Submission Only Events

by Caleb on January 8, 2012

Roger Gracie chokes Tarsis Humphries
Roger Gracie, perhaps the most consistent BJJ athlete in submitting his opponents, prepares to finish Tarsis Humphries at the 2010 BJJ World Championships.

Later this month, Rose Gracie (daughter of Rorion Gracie and wife of Javi Vazquez) will hold the Gracie Nationals BJJ and No Gi Tournament in Los Angeles. Rose has been holding this event since 2008 as part of the LA Fitness Expo and has made some noteworthy changes to the way things are run this time around:

  • Some athletes will be randomly selected for testing to detect performance enhancing drugs.
  • The competition (gi and no-gi) will be a submission only tournament. No points will be awarded. You can only advance in the event if you submit your opponent.

Rose has some very strong feelings about the state of Brazilian jiu-jitsu today, and believes that the steps above are necessary to return jiu-jitsu to her grandfather Helio Gracie’s original ideas. We’ll speak with Rose on these ideas in our first interview in our show today. (Related: see her cousin Kron Gracie’s performance at the inaugural 2008 Gracie Nationals, where he submits four opponents!)

On a similar note Alliance Jiu-Jitsu, who last year became the first BJJ organization to win all four major IBJJF events (the World Championship, the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the European Championship, and the Brazilian National Championship), will be holding a series of submission only jiu-jitsu events at their United States headquarters in Atlanta. We will speak with Alliance leader Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti about what made them decide to use the submission only format.

Happy new year! May 2012 be the best year of your Brazilian jiu-jitsu yet!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

San Diego Brazilian Jiu Jitsu January 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Rose’s goals, while ambitious is truly positive. A tournament with the winner based on submitting the opponent should be what every competitor’s goal instead of riding the time when they are ahead on points.

Brendan @ BJJ Gi Reviews January 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

Love the submission-only format. Very true to the nature of BJJ.

Tom January 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I like submission only tournaments, but I was not a fan of how Rose presented her case. Saying that all these great champions are doing something that is “not jiu jitsu” is just asinine. You can promote your views without tearing down others.

John January 12, 2012 at 7:39 am

Submission only sounds like a great idea. Not sure how much time it would take though. some matches just so happen that one guy is a wrestler but cant submit

Logan January 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Sub-only tournaments are a great deal of fun and I’d love to see more of them at the highest levels.

Drug testing is a tremendous idea for the top competitions.

Rose Gracie saying telling me, or anyone else for that matter, what is and isn’t jiu jitsu, is asinine. That side of the family seriously, truly needs to get over this “we have the only true jiu jitsu” rubbish, because it’s laughable. Are we to believe that someone who competes in IBJJF tournaments, let’s say someone like Buchecha or Caio is NOT doing jiu jitsu simply by virtue of their decision to compete in those point based tournaments? Are their setups, movement, triangles, sweeps, passes and armbars not jiu jitsu? The answer is, of COURSE they are.

I understand that Rorion, Ryron, Rener, Rickson, Pedro Sauer, etc.
believe that Helio’s philosophy is sacrosanct. That’s fine….for them, but don’t go slagging off the rest of the BJJ world, most of whom respect them for their accomplishments, because they don’t want to join the Helio cult of personality. They do not have a stranglehold (pardon the near pun) on this art, which is evolving and maturing just as it did from Maeda to Helio and Carlos, from Helio and Carlos to Rolles, Carlson, etc. and beyond.

We have to be critical thinkers when it comes to this stuff. We can take the entire story of jiu jitsu as a wonderful example of this. The way I see it, after doing some research, is that the story of Jiu Jitsu has been scrubbed clean of anything that does not line up with the Gracie storyline, to the point maybe 1% of jiu jitsu practitioners even know who Luis Fran├ža or Oswaldo Fadda are. This is a shame.

The point, long winded as it may be, that I’m trying to get at is this:
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belongs to every single person who plants the BJJ flag down firmly and represents the art and lifestyle. Rose Gracie should be lauded for her Herculean efforts to offer BJJ practitioners another option, but rebuked for her attempts to discount those who don’t subscribe to her narrow vision of what BJJ is.

Michael January 19, 2012 at 12:33 am

I agree that some of Rose’s rhetoric is excessive, but there’s no faulting her intentions. BJJ can and should develop, but we shouldn’t forget where it came from and why it was developed: to enable weak individuals to defend themselves (re: survive) in a fight. The submission-only tournament seems like a step in the right direction.

Josh Wentworth January 26, 2012 at 7:25 pm

US Grappling out of Virginia does several sub only tournaments each year and all of them run really well. They have a lot of stats on the average match length and things like that.

Also, US Grappling in general has had the best run tournaments I’ve ever been part of. So if you’re looking for sub only on the east coast check them out. There’s an event coming up in February.
http://www.usgrappling.com/events/

Brendan @ BJJ Gi Reviews January 30, 2012 at 11:55 am

I just want to second what Josh posted. US Grappling’s sub only tournaments are awesome.

What’s even cooler… dangit, Josh posted that already too. Oh well.

They found that the average match is under 10 minutes, which is cool. But I know people who have, in all their combined matches, had over 3 hours of mat time in one day haha.

I love sub only tournaments, but have yet to do one. Definitely hope they bring it to Chicago!

spiritsplice March 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

Logan, getting ahead on points and stalling for 5 minutes is certainly NOT BJJ. A tournament is meant to simulate a fight. Who is going to do a take down and hold a double leg or lay in safety position in a real fight? This is obviously what she was getting at.

Points in any type of combat competition is nonsense.

She isn’t saying saying they aren’t doing JJ because they compete in point tournaments, but if they fight *for* points, then it isn’t JJ. There are no points in a fight.

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