MMA 101: Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Basics

When Royce Gracie ushered in the MMA era at UFC 1 in 1993, he brought his unique brand of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with him. Over the course of the next two years, Royce won 11 consecutive fights via submission on his way to championships at UFC 1, UFC 2, and UFC 3. With the help of Rodrigo Gracie for this month’s MMA 101, Royce reenacts two of his favorite submissions, the ARMBAR and REAR NAKED CHOKE, that he used inside the Octagon to beat seven opponents, including Ken Shamrock, Keith Hackney, and Kimo Leopoldo.

REAR NAKED CHOKE

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1) From a mounted position, Royce sits up and begins to strike Rodrigo.
2) As Rodrigo attempts to block the strikes, Royce grabs Rodrigo’s right wrist and pushes on his triceps. This forces Rodrigo’s elbow across his body.

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3) As he continues to control Rodrigo’s right wrist with his right hand, Royce lowers his chest to pin Rodrigo’s arm across his chest.
4) Royce reaches behind Rodrigo’s head and uses his left arm to trap Rodrigo’s right arm.

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5) By pulling with his left arm and pushing with his right arm, Royce begins to turn Rodrigo over.
6) Royce drives Rodrigo onto his stomach by pushing on his right triceps, pulling his right wrist, and using chest pressure.
7) Rodrigo is forced onto his stomach.

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8) Royce pulls up on Rodrigo’s forehead to create space and begins to snake his right arm in for the choke.
9) Royce moves his right arm across Rodrigo’s neck, while grabbing his left biceps.

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10)Royce removes his left hand from Rodrigo’s forehead and brings it behind his head. By pulling his elbows in and squeezing, Royce forces the tap.

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ARMBAR

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1) Royce has Rodrigo mounted, keeping his hands on the mat to maintain a good base.
2) Rodrigo pushes on Royce’s chest to initiate the escape.
3) As Rodrigo begins to roll to his left, Royce posts his left hand and left leg perpendicular to Rodrigo’s head.

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4) Using his right arm, Royce traps Rodrigo’s right arm and begins to slide to his right side while using his head and shoulder to post. Rodrigo has now rolled over to his hands and knees.
5) Royce brings his left leg over Rodrigo’s head, scissors his legs, and starts to extend Rodrigo’s arm.

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6) As Rodrigo stands up, Royce grips Rodrigo’s wrist with both hands, and pushes his own heels down, pops his hips upward, and forces the tap.

// PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAUL THATCHER

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