The toughest belt in Jiu Jitsu

Hey guys, Erick is back to tell you about my toughest belt in Jiu Jitsu. Recently Bernardo Faria, one of my FAVORITE Jiu Jitsu practitioners, did a video on what he thought was the toughest belt in BJJ. He came to the conclusion that for him, it was purple belt. This made me sit back and think. And for me, I have to agree. My journey through Jiu Jitsu has been…unconventional to say the least. You can watch the video here.

How did I get to where I am?

It was only six months into my gi training, and I’d been promoted to blue belt. Showing up to gi training I had a lot of no gi experience and some experience fighting in MMA. It was obvious that I wasn’t the next big UFC star but I could hold my own and all of my victories were by submission. Who wouldn’t be happy to get promoted to blue belt so quickly? Most of all I was happy because I was in Afghanistan when it happened. That one is called my “War Belt”.

After the war

I was only a blue belt for about a year when I found myself back in the states training at my home academy, Twin Wolves Martial Arts Academy, and found myself getting promoted to purple belt by a tough competitor and amazing teacher in Alexandre Bueno de Oliveira. GFTeam guys don’t just promote anyone and they look highly upon competitors. Getting a belt from those guys is tough. That said, I feel like my time at white and blue belt were easy. I was competing, winning and learning so many new things.

Which brings us to…well…now.

Here I am now at purple belt. For the last three years and almost 4 by this summer. At white belt, it was easy because I already had a ton of grappling knowledge but even so, it is a time where you learn how to swim. You’re learning to defend and how to stay afloat. Everything is so new and you absorb things at such a high rate. It is exciting! Jiu Jitsu is amazing and you can’t see yourself doing anything else and you fall in love. That’s the best part of white belt days.

It was fun while it lasted.

At blue belt, things were fun. Learning different aspects of different guard games and finding what your favorites are. Learning how you move and how you can feel your opponent’s reactions to determine your next step. Finally learning how to attack and reverse. How to defend things properly. You’re still absorbing new technique and getting to be familiar with stuff to the point where you’re proficient. Blue belt is still a hell of a lot of fun.

Zero fun sir.

Now, for me at least, purple belt has felt…stagnant at times. When you’re a purple belt, you’re at the point in your journey where you already have seen almost everything you’re going to learn. Yes, you’ll still learn new things but, you have gotten to a point where you have already formulated your style. You know your game. This, I think, is what makes this level the most exciting in some aspects. Seeing competitors and others come into their own. Seeing their personalities in their game and how they fight.

Why does it feel dead here?

It’s also where I feel the most, “dead”. It has been a time where, at least for me, it seems progression has come to a halt. I don’t feel like I’m getting any better. I don’t see the improvements like I did when I was coming up as a new grappler and chugging along through white and blue belt ranks. There is a large stable of legit, high level brown belts at my academy and I can hang with each of them. Sometimes, I get lucky and catch a submission. Most of the time though, it is a stalemate. It is frustrating. Absolutely frustrating. I feel like with as much training as I’ve put in, I should be able to catch a limb or a neck at a higher rate than I can. But, that just isn’t happening. So why do I think that the toughest belt in jiu jitsu is purple?

But what is REALLY happening?

Here’s the thing…I’ve been EXTREMELY successful at this level. Throughout 2017, I only lost ONE match. I lost to the man who would go on to become the Pan American Champion at super heavyweight. Of all of his matches, I was the ONLY opponent that he couldn’t submit. And it for sure wasn’t for lack of trying. I didn’t lose by a large margin of points, wasn’t disqualified, but only lost by merely a couple of advantage points. Which says a lot considering he submitted all of his opponents within the first two minutes of every fight.

Winning much?

Since that tournament, I had gone the rest of the year on nothing but W’s. I won three more gold medals throughout the year as well as TWO professional BJJ matches, BOTH by submission and then the highlight of the year, winning gold at the San Antonio International Open by flying arm bar. I’m over here thinking I’m not gaining any skill and I’m not improving. I’m feeling like everything is just repetitive. Like every day is exactly the same and yet…I was killing the competition scene.
That is what Professor Faria said that just hit me like a ton of bricks. He was the EXACT same at this level. At purple belt, he was winning his competitions. Killing it out there and he felt like he was stuck. I can totally relate.

What do I do then?

I think that is what makes it hard to be at this level. Feeling like there isn’t any upward or forward progress. It makes it difficult to stay motivated and inspired. To stay wanting to put in those hours on the mat and keep pushing. When you don’t see those stripes coming or you suddenly get to a point where it’s like everyone is even and you can’t get an upper hand. That isn’t you getting worse. It’s all part of the process. I think the point here is…I think purple belt is the toughest spot. Once you’re a brown belt, you’re honing and fine tuning your game and figuring out what kind of black belt you’re going to be. And you’re just waiting on that black belt. Purple feels like you have to be out there proving something. You have to start shining and if you’re not, you’re nothing. That is the furthest thing from reality as it could be.

Purple Belt is The Toughest Belt in Jiu Jitsu

For all my other purple belt brothers and sisters out there…hell…any belt level. Don’t quit now. Some days are worse than others. Some days you’re the hammer and some you’re the nail. Don’t let it get to you. Keep grinding. Keep going out there and putting yourself on the mats and get those hours in. Hit up competitions and test yourself. You’re getting better and better every day, you just don’t know it. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Every person’s journey is different. You are exactly where you need to be and you WILL progress. Don’t let the illusion fool you. See you guys on the mats.

Call it a Comeback

Why do we call it a comeback? First of all there are millions of reasons why people take time off of the mats.  Let’s be real here.  Most of us work full time jobs, have families, go to school…hell, we probably even have other hobbies or passions!!!  What?!?!?!?!  But it all boils down to the fact that life happens.  Sometimes, just sometimes, that forces us to make a sacrifice and because of that sacrifice, we lose some mat time.  Such is the way of the world.  We’re grown, we’ll get over it right?

What’s the hold up?

If you ask me, the worst reason to take some time off is due to injury.  TRUST me on this one.  I’m living that nightmare right now.  We all have gone through it or will end up going through it at some point in our journey on the mats.  It happens.  Injury is a reality in a place where we literally simulate murder on each other.  Therefore, I often say we’re in the joint destruction and suffocation business.  Really when you break it down, that’s exactly what we do.  Back to my point.  Sometimes due to bad dieting, bad exercise regimen, being under the weather or even training too hard or with someone who is acting like they’re in the middle of the ADCC championship final…the unholy inevitable happens.  We get injured. We have to take some time to recuperate, and we call it a comeback.

Overcoming obstacles and driving on.

I’m here to tell you, DO NOT BE DEVASTATED.  While this is something that happens, because it’s a natural part of the cycle of life, no one is invincible nor impervious to injury.  It could be something as minute as a stressed out joint or dislocated finger to even the worst…blown out joints or serious damage.

Step one, cut a hole in the box. 

I’m telling you…if you’re of the mind that you think you need to see a physician to assess what the situation is…ALWAYS GO SEE A DOCTOR.  If you are NOT of the mind that you need to see a professional to tell you what is wrong…ALWAYS GO SEE A DOCTOR.  You’re not Doogie Howser.  Get a legitimate read on what the deal is with the injury.  As a result you will always know exactly what you’re walking, or not walking, into with the future.

Step two, put your junk in that box. 

You’re going to want to sit down and do a LOT of research on rehabilitation of that injury.  Talk to your doctor about the best ways to physically rehabilitate.  You’ll need to rest up, ice up and relax for a while.  DO THAT.  Take that precious time to allow your body to heal.  Make sure you’re eating the right foods to promote a good recovery.  Do the strengthening exercises if necessary to get yourself back on track and back to the mats because let’s face it, that’s where we want to be.  FOLLOW what your doctor and your body is telling you.  Don’t be that person to go back to the mats too early and risk reinjury (Dominic Cruz).  You don’t want to blow out the same thing five hundred times before you figure out that maybe you need to ease up and just do the right thing, no matter how much you miss the mat.  Trust me, we understand why you’re not there.  Your professor understands too.

Have her open the box.

If you’re doing all the right things, you’ll be back to the mats before you know it.  Ease back into things.  Don’t go hard in the paint the minute you get there.  You have to get your body back to where it was before you were jacked up.  Your knowledge won’t have left you.  Maybe a little cardio but the muscle memory is there.  You didn’t lose any Jiu Jitsu.  Just remember that this is part of the game and that we all have to endure some struggle to get to where we want to be.  After all, if it were easy, we’d call it boxing.  Am I right?

Call it a comeback.

When it’s all said and done, no one wants to get hurt while training or competing. When injuries to occur, we need to take that step back and properly assess the situation. We may need to take time off the mats, which no one wants to do, but it’s much better to heal a temporary injury than to be hard headed and get a permanent injury. That’s why we call it a comeback.

Don’t Go Chasing Quick Belt Promotions

No matter what you do in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, don’t go chasing quick belt promotions!

The worst thing you could ever do in BJJ is to put your own goals and aspirations before the art. That’s why you’ll hear people say don’t go chasing quick belt promotions.

First off, I’d like to express my gratitude to Jared and Gorilla Gi Co. for allowing me to contribute to the content of this site and offer my opinions and my view on combat sports and specifically, my experiences in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Little old me, a kid from Chi-town reaching out and speaking to the world. Who knew?

Okay, so initially, I was going to talk about the mental game and competition mindset and how I personally get things done. I won’t say I’m very good at Jiu Jitsu, but I know what works for me. I don’t claim to be a sports psychologist or to know how the mind works and I definitely don’t have a cure all for people on how to get the confidence they need to accomplish their goals. So, I figure I’ll save that one for another time. Right now, I’d like to talk about something entirely different…

Belts…let’s face it. Belts are important right? Anyone who walks into a gym to figure out if that is where they want to train or lines up for class is going to take a look around at who is already there. You’re looking at how these folks are rolling and sizing everyone up. You’re thinking to yourself man, I am starting now and I have no idea how I’m going to ever add up to these people, might as well sign up and get started.

Six Months Later… Still don’t go chasing quick belt promotions!

Fast forward six months and you’ve already done your first competition. Maybe you got a gold medal, maybe a silver or two and you have a little bit of experience. You’re starting to stomp on some of the white belts in your class and you’re maybe starting to hang with some of the blue belts. Now you’re thinking man, where’s my belt?

Stop. Just stop. Why the rush? What is so important that you have to have the next belt as soon as possible? I’m all for getting a black belt one day. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t come into Jiu Jitsu thinking I’d forever be at one belt level or another and I certainly didn’t come into this just to quit. But we have to remember something. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not just as sport or an art. It is a literal WAY OF LIFE!!!

Your belt color is NOT an indicator of skill level. Now, if you would, just bear with me for a second. To a certain degree, yes, seems like it indicates that this person should know a certain amount of things and should be able to execute these techniques with a certain level of efficiency and be able to teach back a certain amount effectively. Got it.   I don’t look at it that way at all.

Your Martial Arts Belt Rank Is An Investment. Still, don’t go chasing quick belt promotions!

Fortunately, I see a belt color as a level of investment not only in yourself, but the level of investment into your journey and into Jiu Jitsu. When I look at someone’s belt, I don’t see someone with an unstoppable skill or someone who knows more than I do. I see how much of themselves that person has put into their training and into the sport and lifestyle. My personal experience is this…I’m a purple belt. I’ve got four stripes on that sucker. You’d think I would be able to crush most blue belts, put up a fairly dominant effort against other purple belts and be hanging with the brown belts all the time as that should be where I am at skill wise. My belt says so.

Nah, it isn’t that simple. There are blue belts in my academy who consistently give me a hard time. They’re good. I mean really good. They have athletic ability. They’re young. They’re hungry. The difference? I’ve been in combat sports for more than a decade, I’ve invested years into this game. I have experience to go with the skill. These young cats, they have the skill no doubt…it’s the experience on how to best utilize that skill that they lack. That experience means something. When I see a belt, I see how much of their life this person has given to this sport. I see the following:

  • Years spent training on the mats.
  • Competitions lost or won.
  • Injuries
  • Lessons learned
  • Friendships built
  • Dedication

There is always a “Method to the Madness”. Still, don’t go chasing quick belt promotions!

Maybe I’m going on a bit but, I’m just saying, don’t be in such a rush. There’s a reason your Professor has you at a belt level for the amount of time you’re there. Your instructor sees something that you don’t. You have to trust that experience. You have to trust that insight. We’ve all been where you are, in addition to most likely being that white belt with a couple competitions and maybe a medal or two. You want that next level, that next challenge…maybe you feel you’re ready for it. Maybe you are. But don’t be in such a rush to make it happen.

Enjoy the time it takes you to get to the next step. Because once you’re there, it starts over and over again. You never stop learning. You never stop being that new guy. The minute you think you are better than most, is the minute you find out that you’re on the same level as most of those folks you think you’re better than.

I’ll link it to something my first team leader used to tell me when I was a Private. Don’t rush to be grown too quick. Enjoy being where you are. Learn as much as you can learn and then try to learn more. Be happy with what you have where you are, want the next thing but be patient. Your time will come.

I hope you enjoyed this first little blurb and I hope I can write more for you guys in the near future.  Until then, get off Youtube. Stop watching FloGrappling trying to be the next berimbolo master. You just need to “shut up, show up and train.”

BJJ Lifestyle Series Begins

This is part of our BJJ Life series. During the creation of the “BJJ Life” design, another company has released their own “BJJ Life” series. We will have to change the name, but the idea still remains the same. We will be taking this design, and adding color to it while only using the colors at the bottom of the picture. This is to signify that BJJ is more of a lifestyle change that becomes part of your life.

 

 

How Can You Save Space with many BJJ Gis?

I discovered this method when I lived in Japan, where our horizontal space was extremely limited.

The first step (not shown) is dependent on the types of hangars that you have. You will have to be the judge of it based off your own experience. You can execute a simple trouser fold on your pants and place them onto the hangar before proceeding if you desire. I personally use two hangars to keep the weight off the cheap Wal-Mart hangers shown in the pictures.

 

Lay out your Gi as shown below.

 

Place the hangar inside (with trousers already on if you choose to include them).

 

Fold the front left piece over and align it with the dovetail on the opposite end.

 

Fold the sleeve up and over.

Align the sleeve with the collar.

Fold the front right piece across.

Fold the sleeve up and over.

Align the sleeve with the collar.

Repeat for all Gis and hang them up.

 

The final result is a clean looking closet. I typically keep my own closet sorted by color as can be seen below.

Are Judo and Jiu Jitsu Gis the same?

We received a reader question regarding the martial arts uniform differences between Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ / Japanese Jiu Jitsu Gis. The most significant difference that everyone will notice is the customization options of BJJ, whereas Judo is very strict.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) generally sets the guidelines that the majority of other worldwide Judo federations typically follow. The fit of a judo gi will need to follow the basic requirements.

 

All manufacturers and supplies of Judo Gis are required to be pre-approved by the IJF in order to receive the patch of approval. The blue patch is typically for local and National level Judo tournaments. The red patch is for International level tournaments, to include the Olympics. Additionally, Judo will only allow white or blue gis.

 

While Judo is very strict with uniform requirements, BJJ is quite the opposite. In Judo, one may be able to use a BJJ Gi to train in class for awhile, but would never be authorized to compete for a Judo tournament while wearing a BJJ gi. While in BJJ the rules are less strict. One could compete in a BJJ tournament while wearing a Judo Gi. In general, the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) will set the rules of uniform requirements across the board. In large tournaments, such as the ones held by the IBJJF, only white, blue and black uniforms are authorized.

Outside of the norm, BJJ allows for my favorite part called customization. One could essentially add their own personality woven into their BJJ gi.

 

 

 

Jigoro Kano – The Founder of Judo

The greatest problem with history is that not all history is properly documented. This can be especially true in the martial arts history. Fortunately, the Japanese martial arts are seemingly well documented.

According to the World Judo Day, the takenouchi-ryu martial art system was founded in 1532. Many believe that this formal martial arts system initiated that which has become the Japanese martial arts. The most notably during the time was jujutsu (jiu jitsu).

Jujutsu was the first significant weapons-free martial arts fighting style, which was developed to ward off the feudal samurai in Japan. The original variation of jujutsu was trained through kata. Kata, which is more commonly seen in today’s Karate, is a series of predetermined movements with defenses and attacks thrown into the mix.

Jigoro Kano realized that kata was insufficient in properly training his students in the various throws, joint locks and chokes. Ergo, Kano devised a way to learn and train outside of the kata for non-weapons movements. This type of sparring was traditionally called “randori”. In 1882, Kano officially opened the first judo school, though not an official Kodokan, was quite successful.

One of the greatest additions to the martial arts community was that of the belt ranking system. In 1883, Kano devised a way to tell the newer students apart from the older, more seasoned, students. Prior to this, there was no formal belt ranking system amongst any martial arts. Two students were promoted to shodan (1st degree). This later evolved in 1886, when the black belt first emerged and again when the modern day judo gi and judo belt were introduced. Up until this point in time, all judoka (judo practitioners) were still using a formal kimono. Around 1930, the coral belt which was made of red and white panels emerged. This was to signify the 6th, 7th and 8th degree black belts. In 1943 the red belt made it’s first appearance, which was to cover the 9th and 10th degree black belts.

By this time, the belt progression is as follows: white, brown, black, coral and red. While in Europe, one of Kano’s students noticed that western students required a more visible progression and introduced several belts between the white and brown. In 1935, Mikonosuke Kawaishi introduced “the yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple belts before the traditional brown and black belts.” Naturally, these standards of formal uniforms and a belt ranking system spread across the world, which led all martial arts to adhere to this simple standard.

Kano’s Involvement with the Gracies and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

Aside from Kano’s great accomplishments with judo, Kano also facilitated the largest non-Olympic martial arts sport since the inception of the Olympic games. From 1904-1917, Mitsuyo Maeda was intermittently on a global tour in an attempt to proclaim that “Kano Judo” was the greatest martial art of it’s time. Showing demonstrations and accepting challenges was the bulk of these shows.

Finally settling in Brazil, Maeda taught the first of the Gracies his martial arts trade. This led to the birth of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Who is Mitsuo Maeda (Conde Koma)?

Taken from Conde Koma BJJ:

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 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. However, Maeda never trained in jujutsu. He first trained in sumo as 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. 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”, or, even more generically, simply as “Jiu-Jitsu.” Higashi, the co-author of “Kano Jiu-Jitsu” 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”. 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 “jūjutsu.”

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. 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.

More recently, the name “jitz” for the art has been gaining currency as a casual layman’s term, especially in the USA.

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, 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. The Gracie 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. 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.