Friday, March 25, 2005

How good is Royce Gracie?

Most, if not all, martial artists have heard of the Gracie family name and most know the tradition. Royce (pronounced Hoyce) won 3 of the 1st-4 UFC's in a pretty impressive fashion, usually fighting larger and heavier opponents. Royce has seemed to develope a bad name in martial arts circles over the past few years and I don't know why. Ken Shamrock said in an MMA magazine in the fall that Royce was a pussy and that he would not fight again (Gracie has beaten Ken Shamrock). On January 1st of this year Royce, at 6 ft 1 in and 179 pounds, fought Chad Rowan (aka Akebono) who weighs in at 484 pounds and is a Sumo Grand Champion. Royce beat Akebono in 133 seconds! Say what you will, to give up 300 pounds and be that effective is impressive to say the least.

Royce's own father has said in numerous articles that Rickson (Royce's brother) is more aggressive, physically stronger and a better all around fighter. I'm sure only they know. I still cannot figure out why people talk bad about Royce from time to time. His father is notably upset with him over the way Royce has 'Americanized' Gracie Jujitsu and I certainly wont be the one to get in the middle of a family dispute on who's right or wrong.

I do not think that Royce Gracie is the best fighter in the world, my personal belief is that the most talented cream of the crop fighters probably never step in the ring becasue martial arts just mean something different to them. I have had the pleasure of seeing Royce fight live on 2 occasions, UFC 1 and 2 in Denver, Colorado. Keep in mind that the UFC has 2 rules back then, no eye gouging and no 'repeated' kicks to the groin. (once or twice, sure that's fine just don't repeat it!) Back then there were also no weight classes, no rounds, no time limit and the ref did not ever stand you up. In my limited knowledge of Gracie Jujitsu I believe he has an incredible grasp of the discipline and art. It is truly amazing to watch him constrict his body around someone with such precision and make them submit. Although he beat Akebono incredibly fast that isn't his normal style. In what I think was Royce's most impressive performance he faced Kimo who at the time was 6 ft 5 (still is) and weighed in at 285 (if I remember correct, he now fights around 245). Kimo is by no means fat, even at 270-285 he is in incredible shape. Having seen Gracie fight on a couple of occasions I still thought he would have absolutely no chance giving up that much weight. It took Royce around 5 minutes to get Kimo to the ground (the ground is where Gracie will fight all his fights, at 179 you don't want to go toe to toe with people 285 and packed with muscle) and about 40 minutes to constrict and move and twist his entire body around Kimo's head to choke him out.

I have not studied Gracie/Brazilian Jujitsu, I have a book but that means squat! I have however studied Wing Chun, Hakuryo Jujitsu and Muay Thai so I do have some concept of what he is doing. I think he is an incredible fighter, he's not cocky, he doesn't talk smack, call people names, he just wins fights, over and over again he wins fights. I think he opitimizes what martial artists should strive to be. He's good at his craft, he's incredibly disciplined and a class act to witness.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gracies would get destroyed today. They brought this over from Brazil when nobody knew what the hell it even was. When these guys started learning what the Gracies were actually doing , they took it to a different level. That is fact.Ortiz and these guys today would make Royce look non existent. Whether people want to admit it or not, believe me I know what I'm talking about. When you teach a top notch wrestler(not wwe) how to finish, it would get very difficult for the Brazilians to overcome. The Gracies were good in their day but these guys today would destroy them.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Bruceleeroy said...

Point taken, I still believe that Gracie is pretty good. Today's UFC's have changed, a lot. I would take Gracie over many fighters of today, including Ortiz, under the right circumstances. (Basically early UFC rules) Especially...

1) Un-timed fight to the end.
2) Legal kicks to the kindey from the back.

I will not take opinion for fact, expecially when it's an annonymous post. (I don't say that to be antagonistic, just that this "fact" could be coming from a 12 year old scholl girl, or, someone who really nkows there stuff. When it's annonymous I don't know.)

Unfortunately this will never happen so it's a difficult arguement. I will conceed that the fights of today are very different and it is highly concievable that with 5 minute rounds Tito, or others, would take Royce down and ride/strike to get the victory. But I don't believe they would dominate him. My initial point is he's a good fighter and I will stand by that.

Thanks for the comment.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Bruceleeroy said...

One more quick note. Gracie would still be giving up a lot of weight to Ortiz or the others. He has done this in almost every fight he's had. Ortiz was unwilling to go up to heavyweight to fight Shamrock, he made Shamrock come down to 205 or he wouldn't sign the contract. That was a move I've always questioned. Most of the wrestler/fighters would not give up that much weight, if they did I beieve their success would diminish. Couture, one of my favorites, won the heavyweight belt but didn't enjoy the great success until cutting to light-heavy.

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gracies dominated the UFC when it wasn't watered down like it is now, stupid spike tv hype! Royce lost because he indeed Americanized Gracie ju-jitsu a bit too much with this over hyped mixed martial arts crapp! He will learn from it and rule again in a classy sportsman way. Keep in mind he's not the only or the best Gracie, theres a long train of them, lol!!! Regardless if he decides to defeat Hughes, Gracie ju-jitsu will be the most influential martial art since Jeet kun do.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gracie did a number on the old school mma guys..thats because they all just basically threw punches,kicks. Now that the MMA guys are vs in everything. Just knowing juijitz is not going to make you some unbeatable hero of the day. Tito would kill Royce Gracie today look what matt hughes did to him...He looked like he never fought in his intire life. Matt ran the clinic on him. I think a highschool kid could have put on a way better show then Royce did...Maybe its because he didnt have his little white dress(robe) on to hide in..LOL

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote-(The Gracies dominated the UFC when it wasn't watered down like it is now) How the hell is it watered down? there are way more tougher fighters in the ufc now. Back in the day is was alot of bar room brawlers,wrestlers and some karate guys. Now all the guys are trained in all skills and train alot harder. Just look at what matt hughes did to Royce ...he beat his ass in ..end of story it wasn't even a fight. If i was his family i would have put my head down in shame..they talk some much shit and then they get whooped up! Royce will do great against any guy who has never got in a fight in his life...but MMa he will never be a great fighter again..if i was him i would retire and stay out of the ring before some one kills him

12:33 AM  

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