Top Brazilian Judo Guy’s thoughts on Gracies

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Top Brazilian Judo Guy’s thoughts on Gracies
Original Poster: Bushi
Forum: Grappling & Jiu-Jitsu
Posted On: 29-08-2004, 01:41

Orginal Post: Bushi: Great link to Top Brazilian Judo guys thoughts about the Gracies (shamelessly stolen from Bullshido.net :mrgreen: )

http://www.geocities.com/global_tra…eport/mehdi.htm

Very interesting read.

Post: Ninja Kl0wn:

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Post: MrApollinax:

This has been debated estensively in sherdog, because this judoka has the respect of the Gracies, Silvio Behring, Mario Sperry etc. This top judoka who has trained the “who is who” of BJJ has little respect for the art of BJJ. Here’s an article from the web site http://www.geocities.com/global_tra…eport/mehdi.htm

“I had passed by the Mehdi Academia de Judo on R. Visconde de Piraja 411 in Ipanema more times than I could count. Sylvio Behring recommended that I meet Mehdi. So did many other people. “Mehdi knows everything. He’s been here forever”, they’d say, or something like it.

One late afternoon, I did stop in. The door was open. Mehdi was napping on the tatame. I rapped on the wall to let him know I was there, but he already knew. I told him that I lived in Japan and wanted to see how judo is practiced in Brazil. He liked that.

Kastriot “George” Mehdi came to Rio on vacation from the south coast of France, near Cannes, in 1949. He decided to stay. He had studied judo before, in France, and wanted to continue. There was judo in São Paulo among the Japanese immigrant community, but in Rio, the closest thing to judo was jiu-jitsu.

The place to learn it was 151 Av. Rio Branco in the Central District. That’s where Carlos and Helio Gracie had their large academy (for more about this academy see Robson).

Mehdi enrolled.

Carlos, Helio, Robson, Carlson, and the other instructors at the academy emphasized ground fighting because, they said, it was more effective and more realistic. In a street fight or self-defense situation, four things could be expected. First, the attacker would probably be bigger. Second, he would be attacking. Third, whoever was getting hit would probably clinch to avoid getting hit some more. And fourth, sooner or later, one or both people would fall down. The Gracie system was predicated on these four assumptions.

Mehdi’s interpretation was different. The Gracies emphasized ground fighting because they “don’t know how to throw”. Why get your clothes dirty if you don’t have to, Mehdi says?

Mehdi’s view was that a good throw can make ground fighting unnecessary. And even if the fight goes on, you are going to be in a much better position after dropping or slamming your opponent onto the ground from five feet up in the air, no matter how you look at it. Ukemi or no ukemi, it hurts.”

“A correctly executed throw is also beautiful to behold, Mehdi believed, whereas holding someone between your legs for the entire fight or match, while ok for a woman in a street survival situation, is unbecoming of a trained martial artist. Romero Jacare and Mehdi’s former students Sylvio Behring and Rickson Gracie, believe Mehdi has a point.

However, when two fighters are evenly matched and the rules permit them to stay in the guard, it’s inevitable that this will happen. It’s a problem with the rules, or the officiating, rather than the techniques, Sylvio says. Mehdi agrees entirely. It’s the rules that make jiu-jitsu what it is and what it shouldn’t be. That’s precisely what’s wrong with it. That’s the point.

It wasn’t only the Gracie’s emphasis on ground fighting Mehdi didn’t care for, it was the Gracies themselves. “Fighting and lying. I don’t like. Judo should make a better person, not someone who fights in the street”. He mentions as an example of Gracie mendacity the time Helio announced that a French judo “champion” was learning from him. “He was just a beginner, not a champion”, Mehdi says.

(Anyone watching Gracie in Action 1 and 2 might have detected a certain penchant on Rorion’s part for exaggerating the skills and achievements of the opponents of his family and its “representatives”. Rorion describes the guys who challenged him and his brothers (or accepted their challenge) in the USA as ” experts”, “masters”, “champions”, or at the very least “instructors”. In Brazil, the Gracies generally describe their challengers as palhaços (clowns).

For Mehdi, the simple fact that the Gracie’s call their style “jiu-jitsu” is evidence of dishonesty. “It’s all judo,” he says.

(Mehdi may be right that all jiu-jitsu techniques are really judo. Jiu-jitsu guys don’t mind that their techniques came from somewhere else. On the contrary, they are proud of it—every retelling of the Gracie story begins with Carlos’s encounter with Mitsuo Maeda. You can see most jiu-jitsu techniques on old Kosen Judo tapes. You won’t see many of them in judo dojos however. And most crucially, what you won’t see on these tapes or in old books is how to set them up. This is where the Brazilians have taken newaza to a higher level.)

Mehdi gave up on Gracie jiu-jitsu and went to Japan immediately after the American Occupation ended in 1952. Among others, he trained with Kimura Masahiko, who defeated Helio the year before. He stayed five years as a student at Tenri University in Nara. Kimuras’s fight with Helio, Mehdi says, “was a joke”. Kimura agreed to stall for 10 minutes, Mehdi says, to give the fans their money’s worth and begin fighting after that. Mehdi imitated Helio’s footwork in the match, exaggerating its awkwardness. Thirteen minutes into the fight, Kimura finished Helio with a shoulder lock, which the Brazilians now call “Kimura” in his honor (“don’t call it “Kimura”, Mehdi admonishes—it’s ude garami”). There was some talk of fixing the actual outcome of the fight, but the Japanese embassy reportedly warned Kimura that if he lost he wouldn’t be welcome back home in Japan anymore. A certain degree of choreography could be accepted but for Japan’s greatest champion to lose to a scrawny gaijin, that would be too much.”

“As another example of the Gracie’s flexible attitude with regard to accuracy, Mehdi says Kimura weighed 80 kilos, not the 100 usually claimed (he showed me a picture of himself and Kimura at about the time of the contest; they appeared to be the same height and weight, and Mehdi is about 5’9″ and 80 kilos. On the other hand, Kimura weighed 86 kilos for his final judo shiai in Tokyo in 1949. It is possible that he put on some kilos during the two years between the contests.)

Mehdi, who received his 8 dan kodokan rating in 1979, is not just an “encyclopedia” of technique (according to Cleiber Maia, who owns black belts in both judo and jiu-jitsu and was a Brazilian freestyle wrestling champion). He was a successful competitor too, dominating Brazilian judo for years. Mike Swain visited Mehdi’s dojo just after winning the world 71 kg. Championship in 1987 (his Brazilian wife was from Rio). Swain was understandably confident. While practicing a particular throw, Mehdi corrected his grip. Swain rashly invited, or according to some versions, challenged Mehdi to show him in a randori situation. Mehdi threw Swain across the room and into the wall (this story was recounted to me by both Sylvio Behring and Cleiber Maia, although neither could recall who the American judo champion was. Mehdi provided that information along with a quotation from Swain telling Mehdi’s students that, “voces não sabem a sorte que voces tem em serem alunos do Professor Mehdi, com todo conhecimento e technica” [you don’t know how fortunate you are to have a teacher like Mehdi, with all his knowledge and technique .)

Mehdi was reluctant to talk about the Gracies. It’s no secret in Rio that he doesn’t like them. Why write about the Gracies, when there are great Japanese champions to write about, he asks? Because I’m writing about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I explained. “Why?” he asked, seeming genuinely puzzled as to why anyone would care. He was reticent about himself too, for the same reason. It isn’t jiu-jitsu as such that he disliked, because he liked Marcello Behring. [Marcello was better at ground fighting than Rickson, says Mehdi. Sylvio says it isn’t true. “You have to remember, Mehdi loved my brother; he hated the Gracies” .

Mehdi loves the Japanese “mentality”. It’s that just as much throws chokes, locks, and hold-downs that he teaches. As one of his former students, Mario Sperry said, “I learned so much from Mehdi, not just judo and jiu-jiutsu, but other things too, like honor and respect”.

Maybe it’s the Brazilian mentality he doesn’t care for? He denies that. Brazilians are undisciplined (compared to the Japanese, who isn’t?), but he likes them. It’s the Gracies themselves he doesn’t like, and specifically their “mentality”—lying and brawling.”

Once the site is back up you can see pictures of him throwing students and showing technique.>

Post: bamboo:

Mr.Apollinax,

Thank you for posting the story here, it was frustrating not being able to read the link. :)

-bamboo>

Post: MrApollinax:

I read this last year sometime, i can’t remember what magazine it was published in but I believe the link does contain where and when it was published.>

Post: Bushi:

Yeah thanks Apollinax, it worked last night. :oops:>

Post: gojuguy:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen….to the world of…..the haters. I dont know why everyone insists on hating the gracies. I don’t care what someone’s beliefs are, there’s not denying their contribution to the martial arts world. There’s a reason that NHB fighters in the past 8 years are at least somewhat versed in BJJ. Well, all except tank abbott, but we all know what happened to him. So please everyone, stop hating on the gracies. “No one roots for Goliath”- Wilt Chamberlain>

Post: Bushi:

Gojuguy

You can save your little ‘haters speech”. I posted the thread and I study BJJ, so now what?>

Post: setsu nin to:

Gojuguy

I dont hate them I just dont like them and dont care for them, thats all.>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
Welcome ladies and gentlemen….to the world of…..the haters

Please take the time to read other threads and posts before making huge assumptions pertaining to the likes and dislikes of those posting on this board.

This was an article posted for all to read, your post came before setsu gave you his honest opinion, but if you noticed he only posted AFTER you came in.

-bamboo>

Post: MA dude:

[quote=gojuguy Welcome ladies and gentlemen….to the world of…..the haters. I dont know why everyone insists on hating the gracies. I don’t care what someone’s beliefs are, there’s not denying their contribution to the martial arts world. There’s a reason that NHB fighters in the past 8 years are at least somewhat versed in BJJ. Well, all except tank abbott, but we all know what happened to him. So please everyone, stop hating on the gracies. “No one roots for Goliath”- Wilt Chamberlain[/quote 
Why are you assuming everyone is hating? I think I am probaly one of the few that do not like the Gracies. I get tired of the claims of bjj being the best art or best grappling art. Its a decent grappling art for th ground, but and kosen judo are equal to it in groundfighting and I believe sambo is better because it has the same sportive techniques and the lower body subs that bjj does not have and it includes techniques such as how to strike on the ground and how to dela with weapons. The claim that nearly all NHB fighters do BJJ is also false. There are no BJJ schools in the former Soviet Union area so everyone borrows groundfighting from sambo and other native arts. Fighters such as Igor Vochancyn, Fedor, Sergei Khariktov, and just about any other Red Devil fight team member uses sambo as there grappling art. Many Japanese fighters use Judo as there grappling arts and the American wrestlers take there submission lessons from various places. There is also evidence that the Gracies stacked the first UFCs in there favor. Art Davie was planning to get Russian fighters and was really looking into a wrestler from Russia. Mark Schultz lasted 30 minutes sparring with Rickson despite not knowing submissions. The wrestler from Russia was supposedly better than Schultz and he had access to sambo schools for submissions and I am sure the Russian National Boxing Team or some Russian fistcuffs fighter wouldn’t mind helping him prepare either. There is also the fact that Russia has had NHB contests as long as Brazil has. So there was people used to fighting in that enviroment. When Oleg came to the U.S. Rorion hired him to teach Royce leg locks, I also heard something about Rorion wanting oleg to spar Royce but changed his mind after seeing him beat senior students of the academy. When Art Davie showed interest in Oleg Rorion said he stunk and shouldn’t be in the show. Oleg then went on to win the UFC against much more skilled opponents than Royce fought. Lastly I do not like how they said Helio changed the art to fit his frail body. All the techniques are the same as other grappling arts. There armbar does not use more leverage or anything. I have yet to see any example of something they do new or better. There is actually a jiu-jitsu school in Brazil with the instructor having learned Maeda. There is no difference between there stly and Helios method. Well I hope I did not offend anyone with this and i am guessing this might start a long debate where I get flamed.>

Post: Bushi:

[quote=MA dude Why are you assuming everyone is hating? I think I am probaly one of the few that do not like the Gracies. I get tired of the claims of bjj being the best art or best grappling art.[/quote 

I believe BJJ is one of if not the best ground fighting art, because it has evolved tremendously since the UFC. It is truely hard to explain, you really have to go to a school or tournament to understand. The BJJ in books and videos is completely different than in an actual class.

Quote:
Its a decent grappling art for th ground, but and kosen judo are equal to it in groundfighting and I believe sambo is better because it has the same sportive techniques and the lower body subs that bjj does not have and it includes techniques such as how to strike on the ground and how to dela with weapons.

First off Kosen Judo is not really an art. It WAS a bunch of people that only trained ne waza Judo in Japanese school systems. It is so rare, to even mention it as an alternative for groundfighting is not wise. Try to find a teacher with connections to that 1 club in Japan. As far as BJJ not having strikes, that is false it is referred to as Vale Tudo. Also, a good BJJ school should show weapon defense. There SD is not much different than JJJ schools.

Sambo is a great art, but to say it offers more than BJJ is not correct in that BJJ is an open system (like it or not) and assimilated most of Sambos leg attacks. Sambo does not choke if I remember correctly.

Quote:
The claim that nearly all NHB fighters do BJJ is also false. There are no BJJ schools in the former Soviet Union area so everyone borrows groundfighting from sambo and other native arts. Fighters such as Igor Vochancyn, Fedor, Sergei Khariktov, and just about any other Red Devil fight team member uses sambo as there grappling art. Many Japanese fighters use Judo as there grappling arts and the American wrestlers take there submission lessons from various places. There is also evidence that the Gracies stacked the first UFCs in there favor.

Most of this I agree with. The only thing is Royce Gracies performance did cause most MA to start rethinking their approach to grappling and that is understating it.

Quote:
Lastly I do not like how they said Helio changed the art to fit his frail body. All the techniques are the same as other grappling arts.

This I disagree with. They are very similar, but not the same. The BJJ approach to the ground is much different from other arts. The techniques are pretty much the same though. The stradegy and transitions is what sets BJJ apart. This is hard to articulate, you have to go to a class for a while and experience it.

Quote:
Well I hope I did not offend anyone with this and i am guessing this might start a long debate where I get flamed.

This was not intended as a flame. Any issues left out from your post is because I agree or cannot commit for lack of Data.

On a side note, I have also showed contempt for how Rorion introduced BJJ to the US via the UFC, but if he had not I probably would never had the opportunity to train in it.>

Post: MA dude:

[quote=Bushi [quote=MA dude Why are you assuming everyone is hating? I think I am probaly one of the few that do not like the Gracies. I get tired of the claims of bjj being the best art or best grappling art.[/quote 

I believe BJJ is one of if not the best ground fighting art, because it has evolved tremendously since the UFC. It is truely hard to explain, you really have to go to a school or tournament to understand. The BJJ in books and videos is completely different than in an actual class.

Quote:
Its a decent grappling art for th ground, but and kosen judo are equal to it in groundfighting and I believe sambo is better because it has the same sportive techniques and the lower body subs that bjj does not have and it includes techniques such as how to strike on the ground and how to dela with weapons.

First off Kosen Judo is not really an art. It WAS a bunch of people that only trained ne waza Judo in Japanese school systems. It is so rare, to even mention it as an alternative for groundfighting is not wise. Try to find a teacher with connections to that 1 club in Japan. As far as BJJ not having strikes, that is false it is referred to as Vale Tudo. Also, a good BJJ school should show weapon defense. There SD is not much different than JJJ schools.

Sambo is a great art, but to say it offers more than BJJ is not correct in that BJJ is an open system (like it or not) and assimilated most of Sambos leg attacks. Sambo does not choke if I remember correctly.

Quote:
The claim that nearly all NHB fighters do BJJ is also false. There are no BJJ schools in the former Soviet Union area so everyone borrows groundfighting from sambo and other native arts. Fighters such as Igor Vochancyn, Fedor, Sergei Khariktov, and just about any other Red Devil fight team member uses sambo as there grappling art. Many Japanese fighters use Judo as there grappling arts and the American wrestlers take there submission lessons from various places. There is also evidence that the Gracies stacked the first UFCs in there favor.

Most of this I agree with. The only thing is Royce Gracies performance did cause most MA to start rethinking their approach to grappling and that is understating it.

Quote:
Lastly I do not like how they said Helio changed the art to fit his frail body. All the techniques are the same as other grappling arts.

This I disagree with. They are very similar, but not the same. The BJJ approach to the ground is much different from other arts. The techniques are pretty much the same though. The stradegy and transitions is what sets BJJ apart. This is hard to articulate, you have to go to a class for a while and experience it.

Quote:
Well I hope I did not offend anyone with this and i am guessing this might start a long debate where I get flamed.

This was not intended as a flame. Any issues left out from your post is because I agree or cannot commit for lack of Data.

On a side note, I have also showed contempt for how Rorion introduced BJJ to the US via the UFC, but if he had not I probably would never had the opportunity to train in it.[/quote 
I am a blue belt in bjj so I am not just judging by books. But I suggest you too check out other grappling arts besides bjj. Like sambo, Armenian Koch, Armenian Jiu-jitsu, Russian Judo ect. After a while you will see there are few differences. Humans have two arms and two legs, so there is only so many ways you can break them. So I know what you are talking about in some of the things you said. But what do you mean about the strikes thing? Vale Tudo is a form of competetion. Do you mean the vale tudo aspect of BJJ? Those are just strikes meant to close the distance and are not really meant to do harm. I know Kosen judo is rare but it is an art equal to bjj in groundfighting. About 5% of bjj schools show the knife defenses and the other sd stuff. But from what it seems like its not exactly the best sd thing. The Haymaker defense does not seem like it will work. I do not think BJJ has assimilated most of sambo’s leg attacks. It has the basic ones mostly. Sambo has chokes but some competetions do not allow them. BJJ’s groundfighting lacks tatics that sambo has like dealing with a weapon on the ground and how to get up when multiple opponents show up. I disagree that bjj is unique on the ground. Its techniques are the same despite Helio claiming he changed them and even in Renzo’s book Mastering Jujitsu he says many grappling style employ the same strategy on the ground. That other school that learned seperately from the Gracies and is pure Maeda has absolutely no difference from bjj. The people from tht school compete in bjj tournaments. So I think that the real credit for BJJ should go to Maeda.>

Post: Bushi:

I am thoroughly familiar with Grappling arts: I have been studying the arts for almost two decades now. I teach JJJ and Goju ryu Karate. I train Judo and I wrestled both Folkstyle and Freestyle inschool and have book knowledge of Sambo.

Since you brought up your Blue belt in BJJ, under who?

I train BJJ under Dave Jacobs (2 stripe brown)@Fernando Yamasaki (3rd Black) and Mario Yamasaki(3rd Black)->Marcelo Behring(5th Black, deceased)->Rickson Gracie->Helio Gracie->Carlos Gracie->Maeda>

Post: Bushi:

As far as Vale Tudo is concerned yes, it is a competition, but it is also Full-contact BJJ, they train strikes to compete therefore going against your no-strikes comment.

I never said you should go to BJJ in order to learn how to strike, but I would not go to Sambo either.

How do you know Kosen is equal to BJJ? Have you trained it? Name me a school it is still trained.>

Post: Bushi:

Pay attention.

I said.

Quote:
The BJJ approach to the ground is much different from other arts. The techniques are pretty much the same though. The stradegy and transitions is what sets BJJ apart.

MA Dude said.

Quote:
After a while you will see there are few differences. Humans have two arms and two legs, so there is only so many ways you can break them.

I said the Techniques are pretty much the same.

How is what I said contradict the techniques being the same and humans breaking arms differently?>

Post: MA dude:

Blue Belt under Pedro Sauer and I have done some brief training under Gene Simco. You train under the Yamasakis? I have heard very high remarks for them. But with the vale tudo are they not just simply crosstraining in mt? If they are it is not bjj. Sambo borrows striking from Boxing, Mt, Russian fistcuffs and a few other arts so it has some decent strikes. I have not trained in Kosen. But I do know that nearly every technique of BJJ is included in old judo texts. Also Gene Simco thought it was quite good after watching a few tapes. He even wrote an article on BJJ being nothing new. We should thank the Gracies for reminding the American Martial arts community that grappling is just as part as real fighting just like striking but not for creating anything new. We should also thank them for preserving the older techniques of judo that were neglected because of competetion rules amd we should thank them for bringing NHB to America, not necesarily the world because other parts of the world had similar events at the same tme.>

Post: MA dude:

[quote=Bushi Pay attention.

I said.

Quote:
The BJJ approach to the ground is much different from other arts. The techniques are pretty much the same though. The stradegy and transitions is what sets BJJ apart.

MA Dude said.

Quote:
After a while you will see there are few differences. Humans have two arms and two legs, so there is only so many ways you can break them.

I said the Techniques are pretty much the same.

How is what I said contradict the techniques being the same and humans breaking arms differently?[/quote 
I never said you contradicted yourself. I was simply pointing out an observation I had found.>

Post: Bushi:

Quote:
Sambo borrows striking from Boxing, Mt, Russian fistcuffs and a few other arts so it has some decent strikes.

How does Sambo have “decent strikes” if it “borrows” as well?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a BJJ nutrider. I am a JJJ and Judo nutrider, but “like” BJJ.>

Post: MA dude:

[quote=Bushi 
Quote:
Sambo borrows striking from Boxing, Mt, Russian fistcuffs and a few other arts so it has some decent strikes.

How does Sambo have “decent strikes” if it “borrows” as well?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a BJJ nutrider. I am a JJJ and Judo nutrider, but “like” BJJ.[/quote 
The strikes are included in the art of sambo. Just like how boxing punches are in muay thai. BJJ people simply crosstrain, it is not included in the art. I know you are not a BJJ nutrider. You never struck me as that, but as a practicioner that simply curious about my opinions of the art.>

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