Old School BJJ vs. Modern Jiu-Jitsu – Which Do You Prefer?

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If you take a broad look at the state of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you’ll notice two main streams of BJJ. I’m not talking about specific techniques or the periods of fame certain concepts have. It is not as much about style as it is about the orientation and principles of competitive grapplers. The two streams I’m referring to are the old school BJJ guys and those that like the modern Jiu-Jitsu game. Both have a lot to offer but are quite different from one another. Even though there’s not a real out-and-out rivalry, both these streams are opposed to each other. Each has its own die-hard fans, but as the landscape of Jiu-Jitsu is slowly changing, this is becoming more and more insignificant. What’s important is recognizing the values of both, and how they can improve your own game. . 

The reason why this two schools of thought are so different has to do with time above everything. Old school BJJ developed as teh result of certain influences that were popular at the time. It fit the requirements of the martial arts scene from a century ago. This included a lot more real-world applications in addition to competing. Modern Jiu-Jitsu, on the other hand, is all about competition. Whether it is MMA or pure grappling, the majority of modern innovation has a specific sports application.

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The Case For Old School BJJ 

As you probably know, old school BJJ is all about the basics. Let’s make something clear when we’re referring to old school BJJ we do not mean the early efforts of Helio and Carlos Gracie. It is actually the second generation o Gracies, featuring the likes of Rickson, Royce, Ryan, and others that put everything into context. There’s also Roger, the king of the basics, that still makes this brand of Jiu-Jitsu exciting today.

Remove term: Old School BJJ vs. Modern Jiu-Jitsu Old School BJJ vs. Modern Jiu-JitsuThe original intention of JIu-Jitsu was for it to be an effective martial art. Unlike modern Jiu-Jitsu which is competitive but only under given circumstances, old school BJJ worked everywhere. It actually included striking and distance management all based on extensive groundwork, which was unheard of at the time. This old school BJJ style worked perfectly for Vale Tudo, gym storming challenges or even street fighting. As such, the lessons it learned while evolving are priceless.

From a more sports perspective, there’s one thing you cant skip over in Jiu-Jitsu – pressure. Old school or modern, there’s no high-level BJJ unless you know how to use pressure. And, in the old days, it was all about smashing with pressure from all imaginable positions. the goal was to always end up on top, where pressure is going to be the game changer that leads to submissions. It’s still the case today.

And then, there’s the self-defense aspect. Although many see BJJ as a sport nowadays, back, in the beginning, it was all about being able to defend yourself. Only a handful of truly old school academies focus on this today. As such this is a key trait of Jiu-Jitsu that we all need to incorporate into our style.

The Modern Jiu-Jitsu Perspective

Let’s now take a look at the opposite side of the spectrum. Modern Jiu-Jitsu obviously has different goals to old school BJJ. One of the direction modern BJJ is moving in, seems to be complexity. Complex positions and techniques are the norm nowadays, and even lower belts get tangled up in them. From the Berimbolo, through funky lapel guards, all the way to Danaher’s Ph.D. level instructionals, Jiu-Jitsu is evolving into a complicated way to manipulate people’s bodies.

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However, this way of looking at grappling is exactly what makes modern Jiu-Jitsu so effective. All the research into specific positions and techniques means the level of technical knowledge is extremely high. While Old school BJJ was technical, the way we perceive Jiu-Jitsu now is completely different. Attention to detail is as high as it can be, and simple unnoticeable movements might make or break a technique. Once again, it’s complicated but it is undoubtedly effective. Whether it is more effective than the old style of BJJ remains to be seen.

Remove term: Old School BJJ vs. Modern Jiu-Jitsu Old School BJJ vs. Modern Jiu-JitsuFinally, there’s the sports aspect. While old school BJJ was competitive, it was all about challenges, Vale Tudo and eventually, MMA. However, modern BJJ has plenty of platforms of its own. Gi competition, No-Gi competition, submission only, even combat Jiu-Jitsu. All these modern Jiu-Jitsu aspects mean that BJJ has grown into a full-blown sport. There are even opportunities to be a professional grappler nowadays, which is something that is very specific to modern day Jiu-Jitsu.

Finding Balance For Success

The easy thing to say is that you need to combine modern Jiu-Jitsu with old school BJJ. However, doing this, in reality, is a bit harder. it depends a lot on who you are, and what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, you need a clear definition of what your BJJ goals are before you start looking into building the most effective style. define your goal

The first thing to do is install a filter. You need to know which of the things that you learn are useful to your game and which aren’t. On top of it, you need to know where you can improve one aspect of BJJ, modern or old school, by introducing things form the other. The best way to achieve this is experiment a lot, and have someone that understand both styles to guide you.

There’s no need to engage in one style of Jiu-Jitsu and completely abandon the other. Old school BJJ has some qualities that transcend the boundaries of time. Modern Jiu-Jitsu, on the other hand, offers something old school guys never had – a deeper understanding of the art. Make sure you follow Bruce Lee’s advice and focus on what works for you. furthermore, learn what works for you from all available grappling sources, which do not necessarily start or end with BJJ.

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