There’s an old quote that says, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” I say bring it on! 2011 was a great year for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and we’re counting down the top 10 events that helped shape the year!
10. BJJHQ – Offering you one great deal a day, BJJHQ is probably one of the hottest deals going for Jiu-Jitsu gear. However, their significance isn’t their gimmick – it’s their representation of the market that’s important. We’re talking about a website whose sole purpose is to make money selling Jiu-Jitsu related products. Not a website who is selling you techniques or is a representation of a specific breed of Jiu-Jitsu, but a third-party sales company who is making money by simply selling merchandise. If a company can make money only selling Jiu-Jitsu gear then it’s definitely a major mile-stone for our sport and is a great sign of things to come!
9. Jiu-Jitsu Delivered to Your Door – Jiu-Jitsu Magazine, a publication coming out of California, is making its mark in the states. Due to the development and recent acceptance of the iPad, NOOK, Kindle and other e-readers the magazine and newspaper markets have taken a hit. Again, it says a lot about where our sport is for a publication to make it in today’s economy. Grab a subscription to this and expand your game!
8. The UFC in Brazil – In 1993 the Gracie’s created the UFC in an effort to show the world that they had created the best defensive combat system in the world. In 2011 the UFC went to the Gracie’s home country for the first time in history! MMA is probably going to be the first truly international sport because people all over the world love to watch other people from all over the world getting their arms broken. And the UFC is going to deliver!
7. Earn Your Degree Online with Gracie University – The Gracie family has done marvels with growing the sport and the science of Jiu-Jitsu online. Love them or hate them, odds are, you’re watching their videos. They’ve also inspired others to create their own online training programs. The difference between the Gracie’s and everybody else is that they are willing to promote you based on video evaluation. Not only can you put on your Blue Belt at home, you can add a stripe to it!
6. The Honey Badger Don’t Care – Fellow blogger, jitz roller, and artist Meerkatsu may have had his biggest break out in 2011 with the introduction of his Honey Badger rash guard. It’s taken off like wildfire (so much so that I can’t even get my hands on one to review, hint hint…). It’s turned into the “hot” item for BJJ all across the internet and developed itself into a brand, Honey Badger Fightwear. He did it right, too, by pushing through a noted and professional company like Tatami. I expect to see Honey Badgers on gi’s in the near future. Personally, I think an Octopus could take a Honey Badger any day…
5. Attack of the App – With the invention of the Android, iPhone, iPad and every other mobile device there has come more apps than one can count. Thrown in that mix are some pretty impressive Jiu-Jitsu apps. I’m a big fan of the Mobile Black Belt series by Gracie Barra Black Belt “Bill” Aparecido Faria. Quick, easy techniques to watch if you’ve got 5 minutes to kill. Another favorite is access to my Gracie University account via their mobile site. You can make fun of those who learn watching YouTube, or you can add those tools to your toolbox. Me? I have more than one Black Belt in my pocket.
4. The Match that Never Happened – Supposedly going to be the Superfight of the Decade, the Eddie Bravo vs. Royler Gracie rematch caused more stirs, murmurs and rumors than a hooker in the White House. Set for ADCC 2011, the always cost conscious Gracie managed to put this one to bed by refusing to roll for riches. Cash up front had to be provided or the event was to never happen. And it didn’t. Bloody Elbow does a good break down of events here.
3. Grandmaster Dr. Pedro Valente Sr. – Anytime you get a new Red Belt thrown in the mix, especially in Jiu-Jitsu where it’s incredibly hard to get promoted anyway, it’s worth pointing out. It took Pedro Sr. 58 years to put Red around his waist. That’s a lot of time shrimping on the mats.
2. Doing the Twist in the UFC – The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung hit the first Twister in UFC history! That’s sick! There are a lot of haters of Jiu-Jitsu in the MMA market but every time Chael Sonnen gets tapped out or somebody does something like the Twister on national and international television it blows the doors off of BJJ schools everywhere! This technique was so smooth and so sick that it got breakdowns from Eddie Bravo and the Gracie brothers.
And the winner is…
1. André Galvão Wins… Again! – Black Belt Galvão won his weight class and the absolute at the ADCC 2011. That’s pretty impressive. If you didn’t know who André Galvão was from his many other championship wins, you better take note and figure it out now. Anyone who can defeat Pablo Popovitch and Rousimar Palhares on the big stage is worth watching down the road. The ADCC rematch between Eddie and Royler didn’t play out, but Galvao gave us plenty to watch and be thankful for.