Rener Gracie: Royce is right about BJJ being all you need, and wrong


UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie took a contrarian stance on the family's underwhelming record of late.

it is widely held that MMA has developed from its Vale Tudo origins, drawing now from striking, BJJ, and above all, from wrestling. The Gracie family has been faulted for not keeping up with the changes in the sport.

However, in an interview with MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz, Royce says the reason Gracie family fighters are not doing well is in fact because they are cross training.

"Jiu-jitsu is enough," said Royce. "I’ve trained boxing in the past to learn the distance, trained wrestling to understand how he would take me down, but I won’t get there to fight my opponent’s game. The guys from the family want to complement their game, like if jiu-jitsu was incomplete. I guess they forgot a little about history."

"I do jiu-jitsu my whole life, so why would I try to stand and bang with Mike Tyson? I’m going to learn boxing in six months because my opponent is good in boxing? That makes no sense."

"Roger (Gracie), like any other member of the family, is trying to learn wrestling, boxing. I believe in pure jiu-jitsu. That’s what I’ve done in the past. You have to go back to your roots and train Gracie jiu-jitsu."

Royce's nephew Rener, son of UFC co-founder Rorion, took a more nuanced view in a recent interview.

"The funny part is Royce is right, and Royce is wrong," said Rener. "He’s right in that, jiu-jitsu by itself is a complete martial art. It addresses a standing strategy, and it addresses a ground strategy. We teach our students in the back of the Academy to get ready to use self-defense in a street fight, and they’re not incomplete. They can close the distance, they can neutralize strikes and effectively neutralize the opponent. And in that sense, Royce is right, all you need in jiu-jitsu. Going back to the roots, if I had to fight some beast of a man in a street fight, I wouldn’t need amazing wrestling and amazing striking to do well against him. I would need jiu-jitsu and to manage the distance so I didn’t get knocked out.

"But if I had to fight that same beast in three five-minute rounds, with judges who don’t train martial arts watching me, I cannot pull guard and defend for 20 minutes? When Royce fought Dan Severn, which was an amazing battle, Royce lost in the judge’s minds until the very last second when Royce run (at the 15:49 mark of the fight). In MMA rules today Royce would have lost to Dan Severn. So, in that sense, you have train the striking aggressively. You have to train the wrestling -- not because it might be the most energy efficient way to fight, but because the judges will only score in your favor if you fight according to that game plan. It’s part of the newly accepted ideal way to fight a fight. As long as the game is being judged under those circumstances? Guess what, you better train in those arts, otherwise you’re asking for trouble in the eyes of the judges.

"I think that Royce and my dad and my uncles, all those guys, being the generation two -- old school, proving it against every other martial art, as they did so perfectly -- they get a little emotional sometimes seeing how things are evolving now. And I think their viewpoints are…they’re right, but they’re wrong, because you have to play the game."

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tags: Royce Gracie (detail)  Rener Gracie   


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Wade Garrett site profile image  

9/24/13 5:42 PM by Wade Garrett

I would like to say that the Sakuraba that fought Ralek Gracie had quite a few years and miles on him compared to the Sak who threw down with Renzo, Royler, and Royce (first time).

mdrndaysamurai site profile image  

9/23/13 11:33 PM by mdrndaysamurai

i know i've been bagging on you alot, but this is a great post. however, whoever said that bjj means you play from the bottom??? bjj gives an answer to the bottom, it never encourages it. it not only tries to give the smaller guy a chance from the bottom, but also a chance from the top (and a way to get there and stay there). rickson fought his fights with more athleticism because he was more athletic than royce, nothing more. but, isn't that the point? leveling the playing field with technique?

12 site profile image  

9/23/13 9:59 PM by 12

Royce did break his leg in that fight early,not sayn he would have won .sakuraba can fight (legend) just sayn Royce did well with a broken leg

mdrndaysamurai site profile image  

9/23/13 9:19 PM by mdrndaysamurai

a wrestler that just takes you down will not be able to keep you in side control if you are at least as efficient at bjj as he is wrestling. you don't have to wrestle to escape side control.

mdrndaysamurai site profile image  

9/23/13 9:17 PM by mdrndaysamurai

Rener says nothing incorrect. BJJ literally has an answer for standing, clinching, avoiding strikes, escaping the bottom, finishing, everything. it IS a complete martial art, regardless of what the haters say (or the incomplete bjj your local academies teach). are you going to learn to be a ko artist?? of course not, that's not the point. the point will always be to set up your subs with the strikes.MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY, MINIMUM EFFORT.

mijo site profile image  

9/23/13 8:59 PM by mijo

Rener would have just said a prime Ken Shamrock.

Trane site profile image  

9/23/13 8:57 PM by Trane

Good post, VU.

PrettyBoy site profile image  

9/23/13 8:48 PM by PrettyBoy

This is technically the course of all TMA's. You preach the gospel of your style until it becomes a dogma then when it gets made secondary in live competition you move the goalpost to validate why your style does not seem as effective as it should.Stand up TMA styles of old had to move the goal post to account for why they didn't dominate boxing and kickboxing.Now BJJ guys have to move the goal posts for MMA. The more well rounded guy will beat a straight up traditional BJJ guy. Jon Jones is a Gracie Barra white belt. Yet there is some kind of figment of imagination that only your opponent tires in a real fight and the BJJ guy will not. It's just not true. Matt Hughes could have stayed back mounted on Royce till the end of time. BJJ needs to either just become its own specialized sport as Carlos Gracie JR has made it. Or drastically evolve if it wants to survive as a complete style.

HULC site profile image  

9/23/13 8:28 PM by HULC

I'm not so sure. Fighters today set themselves a work rate that they hope will win decisions, knowing that there is a time limit in place. A fighter doing everything they can to conserve energy and avoid damage could survive long enough and then switch it on when the other guy is fatigued.Minor rule changes can make big differences.

Rudi site profile image  

9/23/13 8:10 PM by Rudi

How often does the flying armbar happens?