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Robert Drysdale’s New Book Portrays Carlson Gracie as Father of Modern BJJ, MMA



Following the success of his first book, “Opening Closed Guard,” multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Robert Drysdale has released its sequel, “The Rise and Evolution of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: From Vale-Tudo to Carlson Gracie to its Democratization.”

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The new book is divided into four parts —or four waves of practitioners (1930-1967; 1967-1993; 1993-2007 and 2007-present) — as these practitioners were exposed to different brands of jiu-jitsu as the art evolved over time, in both cultural and technical terms.

For this, the author takes a dive into the importance of vale-tudo (anglicized into “MMA”) in shaping the Gracie fighting system away from judo and into a more reality-based approach to combat. It also investigates jiu-jitsu’s continuous evolution inside its first federation as well as how the family feud between Helio and Carlson Gracie played a vital role in this evolutionary process. Furthermore, the book discusses the importance of the brotherly rivalry between Carlson and Rolls Gracie as setting the foundation for jiu-jitsu to evolve from its previous form into the brand of jiu-jitsu practiced by millions of people today around the world.

According to the author, it was Carlson’s role in insisting on a competition-oriented approach to jiu-jitsu open to all that breathed life into the brand of jiu-jitsu that took the world by storm after the rise of Royce Gracie and the UFC in 1993. For these and other reasons discussed in the present work, the author places Carlson at the center of this history as the father of modern BJJ and MMA.

Lastly, this book discusses the struggles and importance of Carlos Gracie Jr. and the IBJJF in giving jiu-jitsu structure, shape and professional credibility at a time where jiu-jitsu was under threat of becoming simply another fad. It also discusses the greatest challenges the art faces today as its popularity exposes it to new problems that threaten to fragment precisely some of the qualities that set jiu-jitsu apart from other martial arts to begin with.

The book is available for purchase here and also on Amazon.

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