Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu certainly never fails to amaze us. We have Gi competition, we have No-Gi tournaments, we have submission only super fights. Moreover, we now have so many different formats of tournaments, from EBI all the way to Quintet and Subversive team vs. team grappling. However, the most debatable BJJ competition format to emerge in recent times has to be Combat Jiu-Jitsu. Not exactly MMA, not really Pancrase and definitely not just grappling. What is Combat JIu-Jitsu exactly and can we really expect it to stick around for years to come? After all, this is not the first time we see this kind of a tournament format.
It is always satisfying to watch Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grow and evolve. Granted, like with every evolution, some directions hit a snag. Others, on the contrary, thrive and change the landscape of the sport forever. And, some, well, they’re banging in the middle, still looking to get out of their cocoon and become a beautiful butterfly. I’d put Combat Jiu-JItsu, as a concept right there in this middle category. At least for now. Personally, I’m undecided on it. It looks fun to do, but it does take away some of the enjoyment of watching pure grappling matches. Plus, there are the slaps. I can’t say it is bad, but I’m also not against it. Hopefully, it’s own evolution is going to take it in a sustainable direction and make it much more enjoyable for all of us.
Combat Jiu-JItsu: The Second Coming
In all honesty, Eddie Bravo did attempt something akin to his Combat Jiu-Jitsu years ago. With MMA on the rise, it never really caught on. However, if you take into account that Eddie Bravo’s entire brand of CJJ was built around the concept of “grappling for MMA you can see where Combat Jiu-Jitsu fits. I have to admit, this time around, Bravo used a much better strategy to launch Combat Jiu-Jitsu – his highly successful EBI platform.
The first time Bravo introduced Combat Jiu-Jitsu was at one of his EBI events a couple of years ago. Back then, it was only a four-man mini-tournament to test the crowd. The rules were simple – same as EBI rules, just with a strategic introduction of strikes. So, that means No-Gi, submission only, with a match duration of 10 minutes. The matches start on the feet an there’s no striking allowed. However, once at least one fighter reaches the ground, it’s a go for strikes, or in particular, open palm slaps. The way a match would finish was either by knockout or a submission. Finally, if a match went all the way, slaps we’re taken away again and classic EBI overtime decided the winner.
As Bravo’s Combat Jiu-Jitsu took off, he did the one smart thing most others often fail to do – adopt and evolve his new brand. So, learning on the go,. Bravo first introduced a time limit for standing, so that people can’t avoid the strikes. Now, after 2 minutes the fighters go to the ground if there are no takedowns.
Furthermore, it seems he is bringing up kicks back to the game, which is going to open up a new dimension for those involved. But how is it all going to look? And more importantly, how exactly do you train for it?
Combat Jiu-Jitsu Worlds 2019 – The Welterweights
Before we go on to talk about the less glorious aspects of Combat JIu-JItsu, let’s take a look at what’s happening this Sunday. Namely, on August 18, in Long Beach, LA, the COmabt JIu-JItsu Worlds for Welterweights is set to take place. The vent is going to stream live on UFC Fight Pass, with the main event starting at 8 pm ET/5pm PT.
You can expect some big names to feature in this one as Nathan Orchard is going to be looking for redemption. In fact, he was the first victim of a Combat Jiu-Jitsu knockout win back in the first Worlds. Also, a notable name that’s certainly guaranteed to deliver excitement is UFC Hall of Famer Diego Sanchez. It will be Sanchez’s first CJJ experience and we expect him to make things interesting no matter who he faces.
Other names on the roster for Sunday night are Hunter Colvin, Jean-Paul Bosnoyan, Bobby Emmons, Kody Steel, Derrick Kennington, David Farias, Ruben Rivera, Vinicius De Jesus, David Garmo, Khalil Fadlallah, Tom Gallicchio, Vardan Sholinian, Andrew McInnes, Cesar Arzamendia and Justin Folk. Not that this is the first Combat JIu-Jitsu tournament so far that’ll feature the aforementioned upkicks.
In the meantime, check out the brand new DVD by two 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belts Zach Maslany. and JM Holland. The “10th Planet Fundamentals” DVD covers all of their crazy warmups flows step by step!
Bring Back The “Real” EBI!
In the buildup to this latest Combat Jiu-Jitsu event, there seemed to be a general lack of interest among people. In fact, Gary Tonnon, a multiple-time EBI champion himself cried for the return of the original EBI in a social media post that got a lot of attention. Actually, Bravo himself stated that in 2020 the Eddie Bravo Invitational is going to become a grappling-only tournament once again. Is Bravo losing faith in Combat Jiu-Jitsu or doe sit expect it to gain even more momentum?
So far, the first-ever CJJ tournament was met with approval, although through plenty of laughter. Yeah, the rules were crude, but still, it is kind of hard to take slaps seriously unless you’re on the receiving end. Open palm strikes can be devastating, as Bas Rutten proved on multiple occasions. However, there’s certainly a funny side to it, as is often the case in Combat Jiu-Jitsu matches. Moreover, it takes a lot away from pure grappling, both in means of tactics, technique and certainly, flow.
Previous events were more or less successful, something I have to agree with in general. We did see some highly entertaining stuff, like Vagner Rocha’s knockout of Orchard in the final of the first Worlds. There were some awesome matches so far, but the majority were actually plagued by defensive tactics, rather than meaningful action. This is exactly opposite to the main goal behind CJJ – to make grappling more interesting.
One more aspect I’d like to touch on is CJJ in the Gi. Since it is still evolving, and we can’t say whether it’ll stick or fade, why not give Gi Combat JIu-Jitsu a try? Holding on to lapels while striking can prove to be a tough puzzle to crack and might turn more people on to it.
For now, Comat JIu-Jitsu is one of those things that I’d watch if it came up. I wouldn’t, however, stay up and impatiently wait to watch it live, like I did when Eddie Cummings and Geo Martinez fought at EBI 10. Yeah, Fabrico Werdum Vs. Gordon Ryan would’ve been fun but it never happened. CJJ certainly has a few more kinks to work out, but all in all, it is still a promising concept. As long as Eddie Bravo keeps evolving it in the right direction, it will stick around, WHo knows, it may even become a staple among combat sports?