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I’ve decided to write a series of posts breaking down each martial art used in modern MMA. Starting with each art’s origin & the main people who pioneered it. We then take a look at the main characteristics or the martial art (is it striking or grappling based), do practitioners wear a uniform? Does it stay stood up at all times or can it go to the ground? and finally can it be used as a form of self defence? The idea is to hopefully give you a general idea about what the martial art is about if you are thinking or taking one up to get into shape I hope these articles will help you decide which one is right for you. In the previous post in the series we covered the origins of Judo.

We are continuing our series by taking a look at the Martial Art that gave birth to modern MMA Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

demian maia bjjBrazilian Jiu Jitsu is currently one of the most popular form martial arts around today. This revolutionary form of martial arts has roots that go back to the nineteenth century. Sensei Jigoro Kano took the initiative to create a new dynamic style of judo back in 1882. His new style started gaining popularity within the martial arts world when thirteen out of fifteen fights were won using his style.

Kodokan Judo gained a reputation for being a devastating martial art that could help anyone dominate his or her opponent. No one challenged the effectiveness of Kodokan Judo until the twentieth century. Mataemon Tanable felt that his style of martial art was superior to Kodokan Judo. Sensei Tanable was the leader of a classical form of Jiu Jitsu that was not known to the public. Tanable began to hold exhibitions in various locations. Many martial arts students, experts, and followers began to see that Tanable had a solid point. Tanable’s form of Jiu Jitsu was easy to learn. It also revolved around using techniques that were designed to take an opponent down to the ground with ease.

Mitsuyo Maeda emerged as one of the most exceptional students in the history of Judo. He combined Kodokan Judo and Tanable’s form of Jiu Jitsu. He began to travel around the globe in hopes of introducing his new style to the world. People in Great Britain, The United States, and other countries around the world began to take notice of Maeda’s creation. Maeda’s new style enabled him to remain undefeated throughout his entire fighting career.

Maeda moved to Brazil after he retired from competitive fighting. He proceeded to open a Jiu Jitsu academy. Carlos Gracie became one of Maeda’s students and started his own instructional school back in 1925. Their modified form of traditional Jiu Jitsu became a household name when The Gracie Family moved to The United States. The world was stunned when they witnessed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dominate The Ultimate Fighting Championships during in the nineties. Royce Gracie became the first recognized champion of The Ultimate Fighting Championships with the aid of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

bj penn brazilian-jiu-jitsu

Jiu Jitsu is ideal for people of all ages. It is also ideal for people of all sizes. Someone weighing less than one hundred sixty pounds can easily dominate a man who weighs over two hundred pounds. Many martial art styles focus on one using his or her strength while applying the techniques. Jiu Jitsu revolves around using techniques that don’t require strength. One simply maneuvers his or her opponent into a vulnerable position.

Jiu Jitsu is mainly a grappling art, but practitioners use strikes on their opponents. The strikes are used to distract or hurt the opponent. One simply takes his opponent down to the ground after a strike is thrown. One or two punches are enough to begin a ground assault.

Practitioners mainly use the jab in order to distract or stun their opponent. Kicks are also used in Jiu Jitsu. For example, Royce Gracie was well-known for throwing a side kick to his opponent’s knees. The side kick kept his opponents at baygsp brazilian jiu-jitsu while he looked for take-down opportunities. Kicks are normally aimed at areas below the waist. High kicks are not endorsed by Jiu Jitsu. High kicks can leave one vulnerable to counterattacks.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an art that concentrates on implementing techniques that helps one gain a significant advantage on the ground using leverage. One is introduced to various locks and choke holds. Very few martial artists from other styles are able to deal with these locks and choke holds effectively. This is the primary reason why Jiu Jitsu practitioners number one priority is taking their opponent to the ground.

Jiu Jitsu practitioners normally wear a uniform in the dojo. They also wear uniforms in competitions. Jiu Jitsu Uniforms come in various colors. Every instructor selects a color that they find suitable for his or her students. The uniforms are very light and comfortable. They do not hinder practitioners from competing or fighting effectively.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a wonderful sport. It is also a wonderful form of self-defense. Criminals normally use tactics that help them get close to their victim. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu helps one to reverse the tables on their assailant. This is the major reason why it’s considered to be the perfect form of self-defense by many martial arts experts.

Jiu Jitsu is one of the most popular forms of martial arts in existence today. This is largely due to the explosion of Mixed Martial Arts. Jiu Jitsu is great for anyone who is interested in staying in shape. It is also great for anyone who would like to learn how to deal with dangerous criminals in the street. It is a revolutionary style that is ideal for people from all walks of life. Size and age will not hinder one from learning how to use these dynamic techniques with proficiency.

If you’ve watched any of Nick Diaz’s fights in the last few years it almost seems like he never gets tired. In fact he seems to get more energy as the fight wears on. If you saw how he outworked BJ Penn at UFC 137 you will understand what I mean.

The first round was fairly even with both competitors getting their fair share of the exchanges. But I would have given the first round to Penn. The problem with fighting Diaz is his opponents can only keep up with his relentless pace for so long before they start to gas and slow down. Once this happened to Penn in the second round it was basically a free for all for Diaz. Diaz was out striking Penn from the second round until the end of the fight. I have never seen BJ Penn look like that after a fight. He didn’t even look like that after fighting Jon Fitch or St. Pierre and they are both bigger and stronger than Diaz. I have a lot of respect for Penn coming out for the third round because he looked like his corner should have thrown in the towel and stopped the fight.

nick diaz cardio

Nick Diaz Cardio

How does he do this you may be asking. Well I’ve done some research and this is what I’ve found. Nick competes in Iron Man races and Triathlons. Whatever your feelings are about the guy you have to tip your hat to him to be willing to take his conditioning to the next level. From what he puts himself though before a fight it is clear he is extremely passionate about his health and fitness. Running these sort of races isn’t something for the feint of heart, it takes months of preparation and you need to be able to ignore that voice in your head that tells you to quit when you feel exhausted.

Nick Diaz Triathlon

Nick Diaz Mid Triathlon


Diaz recently participated in the 30th annual Donner Lake Triathlon in Truckee, California, finishing an impressive 36th out of 292 entrants. The race comprises of a 1.5 kilometre swim. A 40 k bike ride and finally a 6.5 mile run. Diaz completed the course in 2 hours, 46 minutes and 20.4 seconds.

Diaz has long been a triathlon competitor and credits that for his reputation as one of the fittest athletes in Mixed Martial Arts. In fact in a recent interview he stated.

“Fighting is 90 percent mental, and knowing that 15 minutes or 25 minutes are no problem can help you sustain that mental advantage over your opponent,” he said. “What’s 25 minutes when I’ve been pushing 80 percent of my maximum aerobic threshold for three hours?”

The below video actually shows Nick right before competing in a triathlon and he explains why he has such good cardio & endurance. Most of it he puts down to swimming as a child.

A lot of MMA coaches state that distance running is useless for Mixed Martial Arts and we should instead concentrate on sprinting. I think Nick Diaz makes a good case for that statement being a load of crap. No doubt sprints help your body develop the ability to have quick, controlled bursts of energy, but distance running definitely has its place. I have used distance running to help my weight loss. But I have also noticed a big improvement in my cardio for Brazilina Jiu-Jitsu and Grappling. When my team mates are all breathing heavily and out of breath I still feel fine. Doing GSP’s RushFit series has also improved my cardio dramatically.

Here is an example workout that I have created which will go a long way to increasing your cardio and endurance.

Simple Cardio Workout

  1. Start off with a 5k run. This will fill your muscles with lactic acid and start to tire you out
  2. 5 rounds of 1 minute sprints (add a hill incline for some extra difficulty if you feel the need)
  3. 30 Burpees

The goal is to try and complete this workout as quickly as you can. Over a period of time you should see that your cardio is increasing because this workout will start getting easier and you will not feel as tired after completing it and subsequently you start to finish it in a shorter time.

If you find that you can’t get through the entire workout when you first start doing it, do not worry. Just complete as much of it as you can. Eventually you will be able to do it all from start to finish.

If you are lucky enough to own a gym membership with access to a swimming pool you can substitute the sprints for 10 minutes of swimming laps of the pool as quickly as you can. I don’t have a gym membership any more so I make do with running. On a side note both running and swimming are great for weight loss. Swimming is probably the most effective of the two. I have a friend who managed to loose 20 pounds or 1.6 stone just by going swimming 3 times a week without making any serious dietary changes. It really helps burn the fat and speed up a persons metabolic rate.

The reason I’ve added Burpees into the mix is because in Mixed Martial Arts the most tiring aspect from my own experience is the switching levels between standing and being on the ground and getting back up to my feet again. Doing this multiple times in a five minute round really tires guys out. That is what really takes it out of me so I added those in for good measure. Don’t hate me, I hate them as well!

This workout will not give you Nick Diaz levels of cardio but it will go a long way to improving it. To get the same sort of cardio as Nick you are going to have to start distance running and maybe entering some races like he does. When you have the endurance to run a 2 hour race at 60-80% of your fastest pace you will find that the three five minute rounds of an MMA fight a complete breeze in comparison.

If you want to increase your endurance and cardio Nick makes a good case for distance running and swimming being the ways to go. Don’t be scared homie!

As always if you have any questions please feel free to leave me a comment. Thanks for reading cheers!

BJ Penn demonstrates a really cool alternative to use when you attempt an armbar from guard and the opponent puts his weight down on you to stop you from finishing the submission attempt, and instead turn it into a sweep to full mount by using the leg nearest your opponents head like a pendulum.

BJ Penn gives his opinion on how we can make MMA fights more interesting. Get rid of the Judges, get rid of the belts. Fights that go to decisions are automatic draws. The only way to win is by finishing your opponent, the only way to loose is by getting knocked out or submitted. He also gives his views on how to alter the pay scales to force guys that play for decisions to attempt to finish fights. This would make it near impossible for guys who go out to grind out a win.

Very interesting idea, let me know what you think in the comments.