Are You “Old School” Jiu-jitsu or the New Bjj 2.0?

More and more debate is occurring in the world of brazilian jiu-jitsu divided between 2 different training philosophies:

royce gracie

Do you train “old school” self defense / basics centered jiu-jitsu?

Clinch to takedown, pass the guard, progress to mount and choke / straight armbar?

The brand of jiu-jitsu as taught by the Grandmaster Helio Gracie and his family in Brazil?

Or are you a fan of the incredible innovations in sports bjj?

“Do you even berimbolo bro?”


Bjj 2.0 has evolved largely to the top competitiors like Keenan Cornelius, the phenominal Mendes brothers and the masters of berimbolo Miyao brothers.

50/50 guard, lapel guard, reverse De la Riva guard, worm guard are all part of the new Bjj 2.0.

It seems that every new major championship a new competitive strategy has been unveiled with a crazy name to go along with it (“Mantis Guard anyone?”).

On the side of the mat watching rolling, I was debating this topic with a brown belt who is an active competitior.

There is no denying that if you wish to compete in an IBJJF tournament rule set, you had better be educated in this set of techniques!

Jiu-jitsu continues to evolve and those who refuse to accept and evolve along with it, will become like the dinosaurs…extinct!

Now on the other side of the debate is the old school / “vale tudo” (Portuguese translation: anything goes) philosophy that reminds us that brazilian jiu-jitsu is first and foremost a fighting art.

The litmus test for a technique is “Can you realistically perform that technique if your opponent can strike you?”

Being the Bjj coach at a MMA Gym with active fighters, I found that they are utterly pragmatic when it comes to their bjj:

“If I do this move will my opponent punch me in the face?”

The debate between the new school brown belt and I (“old school all the way!”) went back and forth.

But in the end we both agreed on the same thing: That our jiu-jitsu was centered on positions that were relatively the same between gi / no-gi / MMA.

Of course, you make adjustments for grips and position, but a Kimura is a Kimura which ever rule set that you are fighting.

There are some positions (ex. Spider Guard) that you know that you can do only in the gi.

The “fundamentals” of base, posture, balance, pressure remain the same regardless of which style of bjj you prefer.

Why do you train bjj?

Are you old school or new school bjj?


  1. The comment “Jiu-jitsu continues to evolve and those who refuse to accept and evolve along with it, will become like the dinosaurs…extinct!” Is suspect at best, and Kron is the perfect example of why it is suspect. His jits is based in self defense, the basics and completely “old school”. The reality is if your don’t know how to defend yourself, but you know how to berimbolo, you don’t know jiu-jitsu.

  2. I think only at the purple belt level and above should practitioners start to train lapel / sport (2.0) techniques. If your a blue belt that can berimbolo pretty well but can’t defend yourself, then you are not a blue belt. But then again this is my perspective as someone who trains martial arts to defend myself. It would be wrong to assume that everyone trains for that reason and maybe they only want to compete and admire the pint system. Either way though, the basics as you mentioned are all the same regardless of style.

  3. We train Jiu-Jitsu which is informed by the concept that outside the realm of combat sports, there are no rules. Every physical altercation becomes a grappling match. This doesn’t mean every fight goes to the ground. It simply acknowledges that once you close the distance inside of striking range, you are in grappling range. Whether you are protecting yourself from an attacker or you are a corrections officer subduing an inmate, your training in grappling must be informed by the notion that striking will also be involved. Likewise, your fight plan must consider that every adversary is armed. Their weapon may be a handgun, knife, baton or some improvised blunt or edged weapon. The skills we train are adaptable to the sport environment because they focus on controlling the opponent and constantly pushing to advance along the positional hierarchy. Don’t know if that is old, new or middle school. I do know that our competitors do OK and our professionals who depend on these skills to get home at night have used them on the job effectively.


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