Royce Gracie: Jiu-Jitsu Competitions Don’t Help With Self Defense

MMA and BJJ legend Royce Gracie has been doing the media rounds to promote his trilogy match with fellow MMA legend Ken Shamrock which takes place at  Bellator 149 in Houston, TX on Friday, December 19th. Gracie met with’s Luke Thomas to discuss his fight with Shamrock and the value of BJJ. Here are a few snippets from the interview.

Luke Thomas: The way people compete today using BJJ. Could it be better?

Royce Gracie: BJJ is the art of self defense, not for fighting. I fight to prove I can’t lose to bigger opponents. My father didn’t build fighters. He built teachers.

LT: When you see the Miyaos doing berimbolos, back takes, and 50/50, you come from the old school. How do you feel?

RG: Martial arts in general are to defend yourself in a street fight defense. If it doesn’t work in a street fight. I won’t teach it to my students.

LT:Are grapplers today better or worse?

RG: I am against competition and tournaments and point system.

LT:How do you get better?

RG: You get better by training karate, tae kwon do. You are not made to compete and score points. It has become a tag game. All martial arts are to defend yourself in a street fight situation. By adding points system, rules, weight division. That means if somebody pinches your girlfriend from behind you will say hold on. How much do you weigh? What is your belt division. You say honey, sorry he is not at my belt level or division. It doesn’t work that way.

For the full interview, click on the video below.



  1. Give me a break Royce, that kind of mentality is too old. BJJ, like life, evolves. Yes, it is a self defense art but it is also a sport. Deal with it!!!

  2. Felipe , I believe that Royce is right in a sense , because martiAl arts is for self defense for reality. Of course , in cage fighting it ha it’s place but mainly it’s for reality . Don’t get me wrong I live the competition though.

  3. Mark, I agree that is for self defense (too), but most of the people don’t think about popping someone’s arm on the street, we train because we love the art and we want to evolve. I understand your point, but I think this old school mentality sometimes hold the art back.


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