Royce Gracie: MMA is not a style


Sports Illustrated's Jeff Wagenheim recently conducted an interview with MMA Hall of Famer Royce Gracie, and discussed the differences between martial arts and mixed martial arts.

Jeff Wagenheim: What do you think of the MMA that your kids are growing up watching? The fighters of today are well versed in a variety of disciplines, from standup to the ground. The thinking is you can't survive as simply a jiu-jitsu guy anymore. Do you agree?

Royce Gracie: Fighters have to adapt. Look at Lyoto Machida, for instance, or Chuck Liddell. They come from a karate background, but they had to learn wrestling to avoid being taken down. If they did wind up on the mat, they had to know jiu-jitsu, just to know what's coming at them. I learned my boxing and kickboxing not because I was planning to knock somebody out. I just needed to know how standup fighters moved, how they would set me up with a kick or punch. So, yes, fighters have evolved, but they all have one main style that they call home, where they feel most comfortable.

JW: Nowadays, though, a lot of gyms don't teach one particular discipline, like jiu-jitsu or karate. They teach mixed martial arts. Do you think something gets lost when young people learn this way rather than focusing on a single tradition that's been passed down through the generations?

RG: You don't say, "Hey, I'm going to go get some Starbucks." No, you're going to get some coffee at Starbucks. "Hey, I'm going to make a Xerox." No, you're making a copy on a Xerox machine. So kids want to learn mixed martial arts? Mixed martial arts is what you do inside the cage, inside the ring. What they should be looking to learn is a martial art.

You learn a style. You learn wrestling. You learn Gracie jiu-jitsu. You learn boxing. You learn judo. You don't learn mixed martial arts. You learn a style or maybe more than one style, and then you mix them. But you don't teach a mix. People come up to me all the time and ask, "Do you teach UFC style?" [Laughs.] UFC is a brand. It's not a martial art.

Read entire interview...

What do you think UG? Is Mixed Martial Arts now a valid martial art to teach, or is it something you do in a cage, from a base of BJJ, Muay Thai, wrestling, etc?


tags: UFC   Royce Gracie (detail)  

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cm81 site profile image  

6/11/13 10:05 AM by cm81

Well aware of this. But don't forget the countless hours he put into wrestling.

eljamaiquino site profile image  

6/11/13 8:34 AM by eljamaiquino

I know youre trying to be funny, but GSP actually did say that his karate is what makes his wrestling entries so great....

Bucephalus site profile image  

6/11/13 8:34 AM by Bucephalus

You don't get Starbucks or make Xerox but you train Gracie!

omega 2013 site profile image  

6/11/13 8:29 AM by omega 2013

Lol@Gracie talking about branding when every 3rd word out of his mouth is "gracie"...

cm81 site profile image  

6/11/13 7:29 AM by cm81

Doesn't matter what he says. Its what he does.GSP spends most of his training time doing BJJ (his "favorite" sport), working on wrestling and Muay thai. When he has time he trains boxing with Freddie Roach.Since when in the videos of him training at Tristar do you see him doing karate, other than goofing around with JCVD?He doesn't seek out to train under some karate masters. He goes to Freddie Roach, Braulio Estima, Roger Gracie. Of course Machida has the best tdd. And Ichihara had the worst tdd. John Makdessi's karate also didn't help him geting taken down and choked by Dennis Hallman.There is nothing wrong with Karate. We've all done it sometime. But its delusional to say you can learn tdd from it, or to pretend that BJJ is a huge component in modern MMA.

BadMon site profile image  

6/10/13 11:39 PM by BadMon

  you have no clue.  don't base the entire history of Karate on the hillbilly mcdojo bastardization.  

KingofBJJ site profile image  

6/10/13 10:38 PM by KingofBJJ

Karate may do this now, but they did not before.  Just like when I took Tae Kwon Do, when were 90% stand up and there only a few moves that where judo throws.  Absolutely nothing about take downs or take down defenses.   

Carl Sonnen site profile image  

6/10/13 8:02 PM by Carl Sonnen

Wait, you mean its not possible to 'trane ufc'?

BadMon site profile image  

6/10/13 7:49 PM by BadMon

  Go watch his Joe Rogan Podcast and edcuate yourself.     He goes into DETAIL about Karate.  You can come back and write the quotes he said.  He attributed his incredible TDD and TD executions to his karate footwork.   The 2 best karate fighters in MMA, Machida and GSP both have the best TDD in the game.

OnlyTheStrongSurvive site profile image  

6/10/13 7:43 PM by OnlyTheStrongSurvive

I'm kind of confused about what people are disagreeing with. all he is saying is MMA isn't a martial art, but a blending of different martial arts.