On May 20, 2012 in Los Angeles California there was an experiment of a new sport. It was the brainchild of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend and first American to tap out a Gracie in a competition,Eddie Bravo. Bravo is the founder of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu which has schools branching out all over the United States and globally as well. Bravo says “It is like extreme Jiu-Jitsu or tame MMA”.
Bravo goes on to explain that if an 8-year-old trained in Combat Jiu-Jitsu until he was 18 he would be much more prepared for a career in MMA than that of an 8-year-old who only trained in Jiu-Jitsu for the same amount of time. He makes a very strong argument and is very passionate about this sport that was sanctioned by the California Athletic commission on an amateur level on February 6, 2012.
The sports basic concept is when two fighters on their feet square off it’s just like a Jiu-Jitsu match where you cannot strike, only lock up and try to get your opponent to the ground with trips, sweeps, or by pulling guard. Once the fight hits the ground this is where the rules change. Now you can punch your opponent in the face to try to gain an advantage in position to finish off your opponent. In my opinion it is a very interesting and exciting twist on the Jiu-Jitsu game. A very intelligent idea that Eddie Bravo came up with and brought this idea to Turi Altivilla who used to work as an executive in The Pride Fighting Championships. With Altivilla’s expertise in putting on combat sporting events, the timing was right to give things a go.
In the 1st fight in this experimental sport one of Bravo’s top protégés, brown belt and also lead vocalist in Bravo’s band Smoke Serpant, Erik “Compella” Cruz submitted Kristopher Gonzalez by way of rear naked choke towards the end of the 1st round. Bravo said of the Bronx, NY native (my home town) that “he is a black belt on the mic but still a brown belt in BJJ!”!
In order for this sport to get off the ground of course and get big names in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to participate, there would have to be some kind of financial support from investors coast to coast. The sport will stay in an amateur level until the timing is right to try to make that leap to get sanctioned by a particular states professional Athletic Commission.
No matter how it turns out I truly think it was a bold move by a pioneer who has shown many times in his career that he is not afraid to take chances. His no gi Jiu-Jitsu training was frowned upon and despised for years by the traditional practitioners from Brazil who for many years taught the martial art only with the gi! Bravo’s philosophy, which turned out to be a wise one was that the sport of MMA was rapidly on the rise across the country and to better prepare Jiu-Jitsu players to make that step over to being an MMA fighter they would have to learn Jiu-Jitsu without the gi to be able to use BJJ in an MMA fight. He was, in my opinion, right on the money with his assessment and again with Combat Jiu-Jitsu. Best of luck to all parties involved and I am excited to see where this sport can evolve to in the future.