Monday, June 05, 2006

Royce Gracie

So Royce Gracie returned to the Octagon and fought Matt Hughes a little over a week ago.

The fight was stopped late in the first round after Hughes took Gracie's back and started raining down punches. The referee stepped in and called a halt to the action in order to save the basically defenseless Royce from taking any permanent damage.

In the aftermath of the fight, many critics now have validation that the newer breed of martial artist is superior to the old guard represented by the fighters of Royce's generation. The almost unanimous consensus going into the fight was that Hughes would dominate, that Royce was behind the curve, that the fight game has changed in the eleven years since Gracie won the first 3 of 4 UFC's.

I still don't know if I agree with that. It's true that father time catches up to all fighters eventually, boxing is riddled with examples that prove that. For whatever reason though, I sort of feel like Royce chose a poor strategy going into this fight. It seemed like he wanted to start slow and wear Hughes down before going for a submission in the later rounds and was caught off guard and overwhelmed early. In a rematch...not that there will ever be one...I might consider putting money on Royce.

I don't have any specific reason why I would still bet on him except that I spent a few hours on Saturday at a jiu jitsu seminar with Royce and about 49 other Gracie Jiu Jitsu students. I'm just awed by the sheer amount of technical knowedge he has locked up in his head, and how clearly and easily he can explain the finer points of different takedowns and submission holds to achieve maximum results. The guy knows his shit, plain and simple. I would speculate that a fighting style founded in Jiu Jitsu, which relies on technique and leverage more than anything else, is something that won't cease to be effective the older the fighter gets.

Youth, speed, strength...these are all things that fade in time. Knowledge though...that never goes out of style and technique can always be refined and built upon, no matter how old we get.

I just realized that I have no real point here. I'm just trying to post something up here to keep the masses placated.

Talk to you soon,


MrNinja said...

I must say that I agree with Keith's assessment. Bruce Lee used to say that all martial arts are one, there is just energy and movement.
Utilize the gifts of youth- speed, strength,etc. and then learn the way of energy and flow. I would say that all great masters do this and become only greater as they age.
That being said, I thought Matt Hughes showed excellent skill and control on the ground.
Hopefully Royce will continue to compete, how he handles this defeat may decide the continued evolution of the sport, and possibly the future of the entire galaxy.

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