BJJ is already so popular that its various factions and styles are beginning to appear. Schools that teach their understanding of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are springing up like mushrooms around the world. Some are cool and legit, others can be safely named fake martial arts. However, these different variations on jiu-jitsu don’t bother the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner’s attention as much as the discussion on what is better Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Modern BJJ. That’s why today we will take a closer look at these two and this whole debate.
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu otherwise now called Old School is the version of BJJ focused on self-defense. You can say is a bit simpler than modern-day Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, because its ultimate goal was just to control the opponent. For this purpose is based on a simple sequence of moves consisting of a sweep, pass, and submission. The action plan of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is simple. First, shorten the distance, then clinch, takedown, and control the opponent from mount or back. Whether you decide to hold, submit, or strike, you can end a fight when you desire. All this philosophy comes from Grandmaster Helio Gracie who thought that BJJs main purpose should be self-defense. Actually, when it was created, it was not even seen as a sport. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu firstly was a self-defense system and only then a martial art.
This is how it used to be back in the days. Today, the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu still exists, however, it has blended more into the sports aspect. Actually, outside of Gracie gyms run by people like Rickson Gracie, it is hard to really find this style of teaching. Even Gracie Barra, another huge Gracie academy, has dedicated a lot more to sports BJJ, than keeping up with Old School.
Now you can wonder what makes Modern BJJ, otherwise called New School, so different from Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. After all, it still got a lot of the same sweeps, submissions, and other techniques that were in the original style created by Gracie Family. However, there are also several things that changed. These changes among other stuff are the increase of gi based techniques, changes in rules, stalling techniques, and a rise in lower body attacks. Moreover, in Modern BJJ there is no such focus anymore on submissions. It is caused by the ruleset that has changed over the last few years. And because of it a lot of competitors nowadays are not as determined to submit but prefer to rather win by advantage or sweep.
Also, due to the increase in popularity of BJJ the level of this sport is rising. This means athletes are getting better because more and more people are training and competing. And this, in turn, translates into creating new techniques. This then leads to a substantial increase in the complexity of moves. However, all that variety makes BJJ ultra-fun as support, makes New School at the same time a lot less effective in a self-defense scenario.
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu vs Modern BJJ -Main Differences
The debate what is better Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Modern BJJ is still ongoing because a lot of people, including iconic BJJ figures believe that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is losing the essence of what it is. They are saying BJJ has changed for the worse, denied their roots in self-defense, etc. And therefore Old School is better. This is met with opposition from a community of New School supporters, who think Modern BJJ is better because of its openness for interpretation and evolution. Arguments for the superiority of both sides can be found. For example, in a sports environment, Modern BJJ wins. New School practitioners just have an advantage thanks to the knowledge of such things as point tactics to stalling strategies. However, in a situation of a real fight, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu turns out to be better because of its self-defense focus.
Due to the fact that this type of argument can be multiplied indefinitely the debate about what is better Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Modern BJJ is virtually undecidable. So in conclusion generally it’s just better not to consider any of these two superior and pick one winner. A better option is to get the most out of both styles and improve your jiu-jitsu game thanks to the knowledge of both.