The 5 most important quotes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Quotes can be powerful for motivational but they can also be valuable for getting your point across. Growing up playing athletics, my coaches often quoted Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, Michael Jordan, when they were trying to instill a training philosophy or method.
I remember the impact they made on me so I regularly use them when I’m coaching. I steal quotes from legendary BJJ instructors (always making sure to reference them) when I’m really trying to hammer my point across.
Here are the 5 most important quotes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that I’ve picked up.
“A black belt only covers two inches of your ass. You have to cover the rest.” - Royce Gracie
I think students sometimes place too high an emphasis on their belt color. Your belt (even if it’s black), isn’t going to save your ass on the mats, in the cage, or on the streets. The belt should never be the OBJECTIVE of training but rather the RESULT. Concentrate on improving your technique, boost your gas tank, have fun, and the belts will come. More importantly, you’ll be able to back it up when they do.
“Always assume that your opponent is going to be bigger, stronger, than you; so that you learn to rely on technique rather than strength” - Helio Gracie
So you can bench four hundred pounds and dead lift a small truck. It won’t matter much if your technique looks like Brock Lesnar working the rubber guard. I don’t care how strong you are, one day you are going to run into someone stronger and you will not be able to muscle your way out of trouble. Helio, who weighed 135 pounds, developed his technique so that it can be
used to defeat bigger, stronger opponents. I’m not saying strength isn't important. It is. It is not; however, a substitute for technique, no matter how much your strength allows you to get away with. Remember the old saying, “don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t do it wrong.”
“80% of BJJ is worthless in MMA” - Roger Gracie
Rickson Gracie says it’s 75%. BJJ has seen many changes over the past fifteen years. Positions like the X-guard, deep half guard, tornado guard, worm guard, etc, have been introduced into BJJ for the purpose of winning grappling and jiu jitsu matches. Make no mistake, these positions were not developed for the purpose of winning an MMA fight. Jon Jones isn't drilling techniques from the reverse De La Riva and Jose Aldo probably isn't working on his leg drag. Everything from the start to the finish is different when strikes are introduced. A clinching style of jiu jitsu should be used when your opponent is trying to take your head off with an elbow or punch; not the loose open guards you see in sport grappling.
Keep in mind I’m talking about MMA competitions against trained fighters — not self defense scenarios. If someone is proficient in BJJ then they will probably be able to take care business in a street altercation without having to use the berimbolo. Learn all the sport BJJ you want. You probably won’t need it in a street fight but it will certainly help you medal in grappling competition. If you want to be a successful MMA fighter, concentrate on that 20% that Roger and Rickson says is important and use the rest of your effort wrestling and striking.
“A black belt is a white belt who never quit.” - anonymous
Okay, I confess this one isn't a Jiu-Jitsu quote but it is repeated a lot in the art and I don't think it applies to any other martial art more than Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 99% of people who start BJJ will not earn a Black Belt. The art is inherently difficult, challenging, and arduous. It takes years of persistent dedication and hard work to master. It’s not easy but I promise you it is worth it. Don’t quit.
“Because one day somebody gonna try to take something from you and you gonna hafta choke that muthaf#cker. It’s that simple.” - Ralph Gracie
We train BJJ for many reasons. To get in shape, to relieve stress, because we want to compete, for MMA competitions, brotherhood, to have fun. In the end though, jiu jitsu can make you a legit badass and save your ass when shit hits the fan.