KunckleUp had another strong showing at this years NAGA Georgia Championships. The gym had several of our members win thier division and some even won in mulitple divisions. Read on for a list of the winners from the gym. Read more ›
In the second part of my series on the birth of MMA in Brazil, originally published in FIGHT! Magazine, I learn about how the social dynamics of the country impacted the growth of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and ultimately MMA.
The View From Ipanema
“This is close to where Rickson Gracie had the famous fight with Hugo Duarte,” Master Ricardo Murgel tells me as we jog along Ipanema beach after a morning workout. Murgel is that rarest of creatures, a Brazilian with a correct sense of punctuality. He meets me every morning at 8:00 sharp and we go running along the famous Ipanema beach. The fight Murgel is referring to took place when a young Rickson Gracie, golden child of the revered Gracie clan, was confronted at the beach by Hugo Duarte, a fighter from a competing discipline called Luta Livre. Gracie became incensed when Duarte said something disparaging about his family, so he slapped Duarte. After a fight lasting about eight minutes, Gracie mounted Duarte and beat him into submission. The fight was caught on tape by a tourist. It subsequently became very famous when the Gracies featured the footage in videos they used to market Jiu-Jitsu as a realistic fighting system.
Gracie’s beatdown of Duarte was one of the most famous battles in a war that took place in Brazil during the 80s and 90s between the practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Luta Livre (free fighting). In gyms, on the street, on beaches, and ultimately in front of the whole nation in huge live events, the two sides engaged in a bitter rivalry that had social implications as well as fistic ones. The traditional gi became a symbol of contention between the two camps. Jiu-Jitsu devotees who swore by the gi said it helped develop technique. Luta Livre fighters said that since people don’t walk around wearing gis, it was silly to train techniques that required them and the two sides often came to blows over the effectiveness of the traditional gi as a training tool. There was also a less obvious element to Luta Livre’s argument against the gi: a gi costs money to buy, and from the beginning Luta Livre was from the slums, for the poor people of Brazil.
Read more ›