There is a debate at The Underground spurred on by a post which asks whether a top student of the Gracie Torrance Academy, and by implication, whether any top student who bases their training on a Gracie Jiujitsu curriculum, would be able to defeat an MMA Champion in an all out fight?  “What would happen if an mma champion attacked one of Rorions top students?” he asks. The author’s conclusion is that the jiujitsu student would get beat down.

The author’s question and conclusion (which is shared by many others who contributed to the thread) are based on the assumption that Gracie Jiujitsu has no value for a street fight and that an MMA Champion would expose this.  “To me it sounds like the only thing better than GJJ for the street might possibly be Dim Mak.”  However, I think two issues are being conflated: a) amateur vs pro vs b) skill set vs. skill set.

An MMA champion, and for the sake of specificity, an MMA champion in a top promotion, is a world class athlete. He/she is someone whose profession it is to train and make a living from the physical training of MMA. They train like I go to work.  A top Gracie Torrance student may or may not be a world class athlete, and chances are they are not unless they can self-fund or find the sponsorships to allow them to train like a word class athlete. MMA just pays better than jiujitsu at the highest levels, and training like a world class athlete is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.  The odds are in favor of the MMA champion in an all out fight not because Gracie Torrance offers training of no value, but because it’s unrealistic to think an amateur will be able to defeat a professional in a context that calls for similar skill sets.  (Remember, this isn’t an MMA match or a BJJ match, but an all out fight.)

To take the point even further, let’s say the person attacked by the hypothetical MMA champion attended a school with an MMA curriculum and trained 3 – 5 times a week. It would still not prepare him/her for a fight with a world class athlete whose sole professional pursuit is MMA. Again, it doesn’t mean that the MMA curriculum has no value.  Rather, it just means that a regular Joe is not going to beat a world class athlete in any discipline.

Ultimately, I suspect that what Gracie Torrance teaches (I’ve never trained there, so this is speculation) has value from a self preservation perspective for that segment of the population who will never be a professional athlete. One of the contributors to the thread posits that GJJ prepares their student for the mathematically more probable situation: an attack by “Road Rage Joe” as opposed to an attack by GSP.  And, I also suspect that if you took Rener or Ryron and prepared them for the specific format of a 3-round 5-minute MMA match, they’d do pretty well for themselves with their current skill set.  I believe this is why Jake Shields has spent some time with them in the past and why Ryron was invited to give a seminar at a Team Quest affiliate.

But, let’s consider issue B, apply it to the question and modify it.  Would a proficient, amateur student at a school with an MMA curriculum be able to defeat a proficient, amateur student at a school with a Gracie Jiujitsu curriculum in a street fight?  Here, we operate under the assumption that both schools are teaching things of value and ask, which offers more value?

Here’s where I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.