Photo: @Eddie Bravo Invitational

EBI 17: Combat Jiu-Jitsu

Written by Mike Bailey

IG: @midwestmikeb

EBI 17 is the first 16-man Combat Jiu-Jitsu (CJJ) event organized by Eddie Bravo. Many spectators in the grappling community are intrigued by this ruleset, so having a full tournament like this can really showcase how effective Jiu-Jitsu can be in real-life circumstances.

     Jiu-Jitsu with strikes definitely changes the game. Any of us that have been in the gym and rolled into friendly (or not so friendly) taps can testify that you make different decisions when encountering strikes. I would like to mention some strategies I noticed during these matches.

     First, well, the striking. There were quite a few MMA vets in the field, so I was curious to see if they would focus on what is perceived to be an advantage for them. Josh Neer used his heavy hands to bruise his opponent to a first-round win. However, in his second match against Matt Secor, his strikes were negated by Secor’s guard control.  Another UFC alum, Jesse Taylor, relied more on his wrestling than strikes. Gabriel Checco managed to get a tap from strikes mainly due to his opponent refusing to close distance in half-guard, which then led to him turtling. Bad idea.

     Second, leglocks. It stands to reason that if you position your head furthest away from your opponent’s hands, you won’t get hit with them. Competitors that were successful in doing this were Dan Martinez, Kyle Chambers, and eventual champ Jon Blank.  Considering Chambers and Blank are both 10th Planet students, leglocks were expected. They both managed to avoid most of the strikes thrown their way but also utilized those techniques the least.

     Last, control.  Jiu-Jitsu has a lot to do with control. Control the head. Control the hips. Control your opponent.  The competitors that managed to control their opponent had the upper hand. Limiting distance and keeping the man in top position secured really squashed any effective striking. Secor and Martinez’s semifinal bout was all about control. Not the most exciting, but this is the game. Blank won the tournament and didn’t strike more than a handful of times (no pun intended).  He focused more on submitting his opponent instead of weakening them with strikes. He was also superior in controlling his opponents, which stands as my biggest takeaway from this event.

     CJJ as it stands now spotlights the defensive capabilities of Jiu-Jitsu. I am excited about the future of the sport under this rulest. Will there be true money and PPV potential for these cards? Maybe, maybe not. I gained a lot from this watch, and I can’t wait to get in the gym and work on my control. I will be there to watch the next CJJ tournament, guaranteed.