This site stats exploded this week as a response to the post where I used the match Royler X Bravo II to comment the evolution of BJJ. While most of the feedback was positive, there was a wave of critics that partially or totally disagreed with my point of view, which is normal and to be expected. I browsed through some forums and was tempted even to join them and reply, because some comments were intelligent and contributed to the debate, while others were just fan post disconnected from reality. Internet is a place where everyone can express their views, but I do not have that much time to go on forums, so I try to reply some of the comments that people made there in this new post. Comments on here are welcome and will be replied when posted in our blog and keep respectful.
The intention was never to bash Royler or Bravo but to tell peole that there is a (r)evolution happening which they are not part of. I agree that Eddie dominated Royler mainly using resources he developed or improved (lock down, electric chair and so on), so people said he had no need for berimbolos or leg drags. Yes I do not disagree with that, but the revolution I am talking about is not only doing berimbolos or new school techniques, is about training methods that involve drilling stuff to become faster and more accurate, transitions done with perfect balance, and having multiple options to avoid getting stuck. Old schools techniques still work and the basics are important regardless of what game you like to play, but adding speed and balance to the equation only improves it tenfold. Fair enough that Royler and Bravo are not young but I do not see why changing directions or increasing the pace would not help them a great deal.
One guy was very upset with my irony to Bravo using his success to promote weed use. I did not go deep into that controversial matter in the article, but here goes my personal opinion on that: If you want to ingest anything, as long as you are an adult, it is your body and it is not up to me, the government or anybody else to tell you otherwise, but once you use the martial arts and grappling to preach about drug use, you are dead wrong if I will agree with that. Kids and teenagers have access to the book and other places where Eddie keeps pushing his views all the time. Whoever has power to influence others, must understand that there is huge responsibility attached to it, so my thumbs down to Bravo being vocal about his drug of choice, I see it as wrong and detrimental to our sport, to the kids and to society as a whole. I travel a lot and most instructors I know of have similar views on that, specially the ones that work with kids. Let’s influence those kids in a rather positive way, promoting the practice of the sport only, and let them decide what to use when they are old enough to make their own choices. This is what I stand for.
Another person pointed out that Rafael Mendes was unidimensional in his match against Clark Gracie, and I agree with that, he also could have explored other routes and did not, but when you watch 10 other matches of Rafael, you will see that he tries different things and plays well from top and bottom, the depth of his game can be fully appreciated by those who look beyond that match only. Just watch his brother in the same event to validate what I wrote.
Other said that Eddie enjoys the new school moves, but as he was succeeding against Royler using his patented moves, he had no need for them. Fair point there, why change what is working? Well, I cannot argue with that either, but I want to see his approach working against top grapplers of this generation and not a retired fighter soon turning 50. Fact is that Eddie did not fight a single match since 2003 and if he wants to validate his system, he or his students using his style must come to table and prove it in BJJ comps. I do not see much of his system working in Grappling and BJJ comps anywhere. If you find videos of successful grapplers using his style and winning major comps, please post a video as a comment here. From what I see, not much of that system actually translates to victories in tournaments, Gi or No Gi, although some of the techniques can be used and should be by the ones comfortable with them. The debate should not be between old school vs. new school, but rather what works in opposition to what does not work, and tournaments are the battleground where this can be measured.
Another commented that Bravo developed his No Gi approach to be used in MMA. Although my analysis was based on Grappling only because the analysis was based on a Grappling match, his game is not good for the UFC. Can anybody actually be confident in playing half guard in a match that involves punches and elbows? Just look how easy was for GSP to pass Dan Hardy’s half guard lock down several times a while ago. Bravo never fought MMA and his schools do not prepare anyone for the things someone will face in the cage. As a matter of fact nobody can succeed in the UFC using BJJ alone. MMA fighters must be complete, and that means knowing how to strike and defend, and be better than their opponents in Wrestling. As the best system to connect the stand-up and ground fight, Wrestling is the key to win in the UFC. As much as I love to play guard when doing Grappling, there is no winning strategy in MMA that revolves around playing from the bottom. That worked in the early 90’s, but as BJJ evolved, even more did the MMA and what we see now is totally different from the first UFC’s. Having a solid defence in the ground will save your ass, but will not win you much anymore. Top control is essential and ￼therefore developing your wrestling is a fundamental part of any winning strategy in my opinion.
There were many comments disconnected to reality that I will not address here, and if you are looking for all the answers, I do not have them either. I wrote the previous article in less than one hour and english is my third language but it came together quite nice as a way to express my views. I do not consider myself as a prophet or someone that knows it all, but I tried to keep it real. My goal as attested in my previous post was to use that match to track the progress in Grappling tournaments, and by the general response I had, it was quite successful. If you have a different opinion, please comment right here in the blog and I will try my best to respond.