The Greatest Jiujitsu Competitors of All Time: the 2000s

Editor’s Note: We run occasional guest posts from members of the jiu-jitsu community, and would love to run more. If you would like to submit one, please e-mail us. This post is the first in a series of four posts where Revolution BJJ black belt Daniel Frank evaluates the best sport jiujitsu competitors of each decade, starting the 1990s — and culminating in a post that crowns the greatest of all time. We will post a new entry every two or three days leading up to the final. This one covers the 2000s. Read the 1990s entry here.

By Daniel Frank

The greatest of all time is a difficult moniker to bestow upon anyone or anything. Whether we are talking about astronauts, ant hills, or automobiles it is a designation that is earned, but not without severe competition and also not without intense debate.

In Brazilian jiujitsu the greatest of all time is a title that is very hard to define due to all of the factors that determine the result. There is a long list of factors, including: gi competition, no-gi competition, tournaments, super fights, mixed martial arts, belt levels, gender, era, longevity, and talent of the competition.

This article is meant to determine the greatest male, black belt, gi competitors in the 1990’s, 2000’s, 2010’s, and of all time. Major International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) competition results were analyzed along with results from smaller IBJJF competitions. Larger, competing organizations results were also factored into the final determinations.

Using this method of data collection later articles can (and will) be written determining the best female black belt competitors, the best no-gi competitors (both male and female), and even the best at each belt level. The possibilities are endless.

Continue reading

The Greatest Jiujitsu Competitors of All Time: The 1990s

Editor’s Note: We run occasional guest posts from members of the jiu-jitsu community, and would love to run more. If you would like to submit one, please e-mail us. This post is the first in a series of four posts where Revolution BJJ black belt Daniel Frank evaluates the best sport jiujitsu competitors of each decade, starting the 1990s — and culminating in a post that crowns the greatest of all time. We will post a new entry every two or three days leading up to the final.

By Daniel Frank

The greatest of all time is a difficult moniker to bestow upon anyone or anything. Whether we are talking about astronauts, ant hills, or automobiles it is a designation that is earned, but not without severe competition and also not without intense debate.

In Brazilian jiujitsu the greatest of all time is a title that is very hard to define due to all of the factors that determine the result. There is a long list of factors, including: gi competition, no-gi competition, tournaments, super fights, mixed martial arts, belt levels, gender, era, longevity, and talent of the competition.

This article is meant to determine the greatest male, black belt, gi competitors in the 1990’s, 2000’s, 2010’s, and of all time. Major International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) competition results were analyzed along with results from smaller IBJJF competitions. Larger, competing organizations results were also factored into the final determinations.

Using this method of data collection later articles can (and will) be written determining the best female black belt competitors, the best no-gi competitors (both male and female), and even the best at each belt level. The possibilities are endless.

Let us begin with …

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GUEST POST: To the Girl Who Thinks She Can’t Do It

Editor’s Note: We run occasional guest posts from members of the jiu-jitsu community, and would love to run more. If you would like to submit one, please e-mail us. This is one we received from a competitive blue belt in North Carolina, in “open letter” format. We liked it a lot and hope you do, too.

 

To the girl who thinks she can’t do it:

As I look back over the past 2 years of my life, I am almost unable to fathom how much everything has changed.

Two years ago, I was sitting in the breakroom at work talking to an old friend, when he broke the news. I found out the guy – that just a year earlier I thought I was going to marry – just became a father. He was starting a family, a life, and I was just sitting in the breakroom. Granted, I didn’t want to be a mother at 23, but this news hit me like a ton of bricks. (I now know that no one has their life together at 23, but at the time it felt like my world was falling apart).

The situation slowly sunk in and weighed heavy on me.

What the hell am I doing? Continue reading

How to Drill for BJJ

Drilling is central to success in jiujitsu. With an art this detailed, you simply have to repeat the core movements thousands of times to train your body. As Roger Gracie famously advised, you shouldn’t drill a move until you get it right — you should drill until you can’t get it wrong.

There are several great sites and articles and videos out there with specific drills. I’ve written about the solo drills I do when no one is around to train with.

That’s not the point of this post, though. It’s very common that I see new white belts making mistakes in terms of drilling method: either they treat it like sparring, or they race through the  details, or they make other simple errors that are going to impede the learning process.

These are understandable mistakes — they’re new, for one thing. Also, sometimes new people see upper belts doing drills that are more appropriate for experienced people. Drilling should never stop. Red belt legends still drill basic moves.

It’s a lot easier to implement good practices than to correct errors. So let’s go over how I like to drill myself, and how I suggest you learn jiujitsu through drilling as you move up through the ranks. Continue reading

Meryl Streep, MMA and Empathy

Have you ever wanted to understand another person so much that you sacrifice elements of your own life that make you happiest? I’m not talking about making sacrifices to help another person — just to understand them, to deeply comprehend where they are coming from. What they love. What they want. What they fear.

That’s what actors do. When he was filming Taxi Driver, Robert de Niro got his New York cabbie license. He worked 12 hour shifts driving a cab to prepare for the role, and — legend says — used to pick up fares during breaks from filming. While shooting One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Jack Nicholson and some of his fellow cast members would spend the night at the psychiatric hospital. We all have some baseline human empathy, but to truly understand someone in a way that allows you to pretend convincingly to be that person — well, that’s impressive. I see what makes it worth doing, but I don’t understand the process.

Which brings me to one of the best actors ever: Meryl Streep. Yesterday, during the course of a far longer talk at the Golden Globes, Streep threw off some asinine remarks about mixed martial arts. She was wrong, of course, and it was an unforced error — one stupid sentence set off from a broader speech, but one that happened to insult a passionate (if niche) community. Two great pieces have already been published about this: Chris Zahar’s Jiu-Jitsu Times article explains what Streep got wrong, while the inimitable Jack Slack presents a vigorous and devastatingly argued defense of MMA as art. Those pieces are both spot-on. I don’t want to revisit that ground, so let me focus on one aspect of this mess: ignorance.

That’s what led Streep into this morass. We can say with near-100 percent certainty that Meryl Streep has no idea we’re even upset. If she did, she probably wouldn’t know why. Being ignorant doesn’t mean you’re stupid. It means you’re simply unaware of the realities of life as other people live it. That’s the source of so many human problems, it’s hard to list them all.

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PODCAST: Ask a Random Purple Belt

The first show of the new year is a Q&A extravaganza! From the shores of Vancouver Island and the Halls of Snowpocalypse, we bring you an episode of “Ask A Random Purple Belt.” There are four question-and-answer segments about jiujitsu etiquette:

1. Kneez Nutz: How do you respond when you’ve accidentally kneed a training partner in the twig and berries?
2. Wash Your Butt: What are best practices for gym cleanliness and personal grooming?
3. “Rank” Means Something Stinks: How should new people think about belts and stripes when training?
4. Fluid Like a Druid: What do I do if I cry or bleed on the mat?

Think we got something right? Something wrong? Left something out? Got a question for a future episode? Post it here or leave us a voicemail at (360) 389-2830. Also, check out our interactive calendar featuring upcoming tournaments, seminars, MMA fights, and open mats. Submit your own!

(We also learned a bunch about mic echo at the kitchen table — you can really notice the sound quality difference when recording outdoors! Next time we’re trapped by snow we’ll have a real home podcast studio set up.)