Local Karateka gets a taste of the skill of a Royce Gracie Jiujitsu Blue Belt

I've visited Royce Gracie Lancashire, aka Força Combat Academy a couple of times, taught there and trained with their head instructor my good friend Ross a bunch of times. Over this time, I've come to know and really like the team there so when Ross told there had been a "situation" with one of the Jiujitsu students, John, I had to do a piece! The altercation was of a friendlier nature than good ol' Gracie challenges, but there was still some foul play and dirty tricks. Read below to see for yourself how Royce Gracie Jiujitsu did. 

Does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu work in real life self defence?

Hi John. How long have you practiced jiu jitsu?

I've trained Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu for two years at Força Combat Academy. I received my blue belt from Royce Gracie a few weeks back.  

Cool. I believe you've recently been involved in an incident. Tell us in your own words what happened.

I went for a workout at the gym (ed. note: this is a separate leisure centre and not Força) and on the way out noticed a small number of guys getting changed into Gis, one was a purple belt and one was a two stripe brown belt along with a couple of guys with them who must have been starting. Interested to see what martial art they were doing I decided to watch them for a while with my brother, who also trains Gracie Jiujitsu. I asked the Brown belt what martial art it was and he told me it was Shotokan Karate, he then explained that they would do some body conditioning (which turned out to be him battering the other students with different strikes), some techniques (calling them everything when they got it wrong, such an inspirational instructor...) and then some "ground fighting". To which I said "can I watch?". I watched for a while all of their different techniques and then came the ground-fighting. 

Me and my bro watched on for a bit until he, my brother, told me I should go and tell the brown belt that we do Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu and that if they wanted to learn ground fighting then they should come down to the gym we train at. The brown belt's response was "wanna grapple?". I said "But there's no mats, just wood floors" to which he said "there's no mats on the streets",  I also added that I didn't have a mouth-guard, he said "a mouth-guard, really??". Then I just thought yeah ok, lets roll.

He said we should start back to back, which we did, then he said go, as I didn't move very quickly into the grapple and stayed relaxed he stopped before we could start and said, "well I expected something a bit more explosive than that". 

Take 2, this time I said go and he rushed me onto my side, at which point I hip escaped away, and moved into butterfly guard, broke his posture and swept him onto his back where I gained mount. He then pressed up into my chest so I thought an armbar was the best option until he moved his arm again. At this point he started to grab and squeeze my throat with his fingers, so I caught his arm next to his head and keylocked him. He had about 20 seconds to tap but wouldn't. We all heard a pop noise. End of grapple.

(In this video, Ryron and Rener Gracie show the finer details of the Americana shoulder lock from mount, also known as the keylock)

How did you manage to hold him down for the duration? Who else witnessed this challenge?

He did try to throw me off to the side, so I just hooked the back of his head and posted out with my arm. 

My brother was there and watched, and the other guys in the class just carried on trying to grapple with each other. 

It was quite a friendly encounter, if you dismiss the popped shoulder, but you don't think his ego will be as big with regard to new students from now on. 

What happened at the end?

I said I wouldn't train like that if I was him because there's not much chance of being able to train the next day if you get injured with no mats, no mouthguard and not tapping through ego. He said he was amazed at how relaxed I was in comparison to him during the roll. I told him if he enjoys grappling he should come down to the gym I train at and learn Jiu Jitsu.

Did either of you get any injuries?

I think his shoulder will be hurting for a week or two haha. 

What was the key to staying safe? 

I just did everything that the beginners class at our gym does and that was all that was needed to beat his groundwork. It just goes to show Gracie Jiu jitsu basic techniques can overcome a "trained practitioner" in another discipline with no effort at all.

I'd like to thank John for sharing his story with us. I remember reading a great interview with S&C and kettlebell legend, Relson Gracie Jiujitsu first American black belt and world masters and 8 time Pan Am jiujitsu champion Mr Steve Maxwell where he said:

"I never really saw BJJ as a sport. I always viewed it as more of a martial art. It takes you about a year to beat every other martial art and the rest of your life to beat other jiu-jitsu practitioners".

That really stuck with me. The positional dominance Jiujitsu can afford you is the quickest (and more efficient) way to neutralise any other martial art. Stay safe. Break posture. Dominate. 

It's still sad though that there are martial artists out there who feel scratching and throat grabbing from bad positions is a good strategy. Even worse, a strategy worth teaching to hapless students. 

Let's all learn Jiujitsu. 



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