EBI 11 saw the unveiling of Bravo’s Combat Jiu-jitsu format, where open handed slaps were allowed on the ground. If the crowd and commentators’ reactions meant anything, the new rules were a success in producing an exciting form of submission grappling.
And this writer and jiu-jitsu fan agrees.
Here are some observations on the three matches that we saw.
1. Positional dominance is far more important.
Critics of the submission only format say that competitors can employ positions and strategies that depart from the spirit of jiu-jitsu as a real fighting art. Although guard pulling was in fact employed by one competitor in the first match, the top position is much more important when we have to contend with slaps.
Sitting up butterfly guard suddenly becomes much less attractive as a strategy when your opponent may deliver a Rick James pimp slap to your exposed head.
2. Sport centered positions like half guard and deep half were attempted but had limited success due to the effect of slaps in the unprotected face.
Perhaps not surprising, the Rubber guard proved effective in limiting strikes in the first match. The effective and safe distance of the guard changes significantly when there are no sleeves to grab and a threat of head strikes.
3. The slaps set up submissions.
Two out of three matches ended by submission in regulation time. The slaps created different scrambles and positions that lead to more direct submission attempts.
Perhaps fittingly, the final match ended in a twister submission made famous by Bravo himself.
EBI Combat jiu-jitsu shows promise and I hope to see more in future events.
As Eddie Bravo said:
I didn’t create anything new. EBI Jiu Jitsu is exactly like the Jiu Jitsu you fell in love with in the dojo. EBI is nothing like the Jiu Jitsu you only see in point tournaments. The 10 minute regulation match is EXACTLY like the Jiu Jitsu you do in the dojo, submission only. The OT rounds are also like the Jiu Jitsu you fell in love with in the dojo; What Bjj school doesn’t do back attack drills and arm bar drills?I didn’t invent anything, all I did is take the Jiu Jitsu we all fell in love with in the the dojo and put it on a stage for the world to see.