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Thread: Carlson Gracie BJJ & Helio Gracie BJJ

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Carlson Gracie BJJ & Helio Gracie BJJ

    Great discussion on the UG regarding the differences between Carlson's and Helio's style of BJJ...

    Surprisingly for the UG it's actually a proper discussion - no childish insults/shit-talking etc. I thought it was a very interesting read - just wondered what your opinions are on this subject...

  2. #2


    As a BJJ practicioner I really should know more about this subject but Im still gonna give it ago and say that the Helio Gracie BJJ is more 'self defence' Royce Gracie type stuff.
    Carlson Gracie BJJ is more like what you see on todays mats? With all the funky guards and more aggression?

  3. #3


    not sure carlson emphasised funky guards, but defo emphasised a top game and using your attributes to their full effect.

    but i don't claim to know more than what i've read so won't say anymore
    man, when you're the nail, hang in there....until the day you become the hammer

  4. #4


    yeah the fuky guards bit was a bit silly... but you get the jist of what im saying.

  5. #5


    Im from a carlson school.. and obviously guard is trained loads.. but stay on top! stay on top!
    Insert whiny message

  6. #6


    Helio's Side was all about the little man being able to beat the big man (Helio vs Santana, etc). That superior technique is what is needed.

    Carlson's philosophy is that the more well trained (stronger, better cardio, bigger) man will beat the less physically trained fighter if technique is fairly equal.

    Although it is a broad generalization I think you can see this looking at the BJJ Tree:

    Carlson's side (Carlson Gracie, Nova Uniao, Ricardo De La Riva, Brazilian Top Team, American Top Team) has probably produced the best BJJ MMA fighters (BJ Penn, Big Nog, Denis Kang, Thiago Alves, etc).

    Now whether this is because Carlson's side actively recruits athletes and physical specimens and opens it's doors to fighters or is a result of the training methods is debatable. I think it is probably both. Take ATT for example (which is Ricardo Liborio through Carlson Gracie Sr.) Those guys (Jorge Santiago, Gleison Thibau, JZ Calvancanti) are known to massively cut weight (30 lbs) to gain an advantage or sometimes even failing to make weight (Thiago Alves, Wilson Gouveia) to gain an advantage.

  7. #7


    i love carlsons out look on things..

    basically (and i use this loosely as im no expert) smash ur opponent.. a broad generalisation and maybe somewhat inaccurate but that was the message that i came away with..

    maybe simon could shed some light on the carlson gracie philosphy??

  8. #8


    Carlson's style is all about fighting for a dominant position, a position that in a real street fight or MMA match will keep you out of harms way. Fight from the top and finish the fight with a submission.
    Guard should be used if top position cannot be attained,but not in favour of top position.Of course guard is very important,and an aggressive guard,searching for sweeps and submissions will unsettle and break the posture of your opponent,but playing guard puts you in bottom posiiton
    and when strikes are allowed,guard puts you at a disadvantage,so it shouldn't be taken in favour of top position.
    At all times during the fight,whether a jiu jitsu match,mma fight,or street fight every effort should be made to impose every ounce of body weight
    and pressure available to wear down your opponent.The pressure imposed should be such that when you finally go for the submission your opponent is pleased he can finally tap.

    The lighter guys in the Carlson Team were forced to develop amazing guards because they were rarely able to take top position against guys like Amaury Bitteti and Mario Sperry who are guard passing machines.

    Basically,The Natural got it right in the last post when he said Carlson's philosophy was to smash the opponent.

    Carlson was also a very keen advocate of cross training and encouraged his guys to study boxing and wrestling as well as Judo and train with weights..This was rare in the Gracie family at the time,where it was felt that
    Gracie Jiu Jitsu was enough on its own.

    In London we honour Carlson's legacy by offering Muay Thai,mma and Judo
    as well as weights to our students and encouraging them to train in them at no extra charge.

    Carlson was also,arguably, the first member of the family to share everything he knew with his students.

    2 great stories about Carlson.When he was a young teenager,Helio and Carlos set him up for a Vale Tudo fight on a concrete tennis court to settle a dispute.They expected him to use the jiu jitsu they had taught him.
    He got the takedown,mounted and then proceeded to punch his opponents face in until he tapped,not use an arm bar or choke.

    During the great Jiu Jitsu vs Luta Livre wars that were televised Vale Tudo
    grudge matches,Carlson was chosen by the Gracie family to put together
    a team of the best jiu jitsu fighters to defend the arts honour.These fighters came from different teams,not just Carlsons,the guys were handpicked as the best there were available.
    Much to the shock of the guys chosen from different teams (but not to Carlson's own guys) Carlson instructed the team that he didn't want the Jiu Jitsu team to submit their Luta Livre opponents with anything but strikes.
    He told the Luta Livre guys that his team were so tough and that Jiu Jitsu was so dominant that they wouldn't even have to use it to win,that his Jiu Jitsu team would just smash the Luta Livre guys faces in.

    We talk nowadays about No Gi Judo,and Karo-Well watch Carlson's Judo ability without a Kimono to grip in this fight.


  9. #9

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007


    One interesting quote which I read, which I feel sums things up...:-

    "When Rickson rolled with you, he flowed like water. When Carlson rolled, he burned you like fire"....

    That pretty much says it all really...

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