BOXING VS JIU JITSU
Combat sports have become extremely popular in the modern day, and with the availability of different forms of striking, and grappling, athletes can choose from a high calibre range of Martial Art forms. Mixed Martial Arts has become a breeding ground for diversity in combat sports, and due to the nature of the sport all athletes must build up skills in many different facets of Martial Arts. In MMA it is extremely rare to see a specialist in one form, as they are commonly experienced in two or more forms of Martial Arts. This will usually be muay thai or boxing for a striking art, and wrestling, or jiu jitsu for a grappling art.
What this article covers:
- The History of Jiu Jitsu
- The History of Boxing
- The Differences Between Boxing and Jiu Jitsu
- Who Would Win Between a Boxer and a Grappler
The traditional striking versus grappling matches like boxing vs wrestling, or kick boxing vs jiu jitsu is one of the most interesting concepts in combat sports. The fight community is well divided between whether a striker, or a grappler has a better chance at winning a competitive match. This is what brought about the culmination of Mixed Martial Arts, and the UFC in the early 1990's. Even though grapplers were allowed to punch, the inaugural UFC event saw jiu jitsu athlete Royce Gracie defeat boxer Art Jimmerson convincingly in the first two minutes of the fight. Be this as it may, striking versus grappling matches happen regularly during Mixed Martial Arts fights, with both forms of combat taking wins, and experiencing losses.
THE HISTORY OF JIU JITSU
Jiu Jitsu is one of the age old Martial Arts that dates back well into feudal Japan, where the Samurai fought to defend their nation against warring clans. Back in those days the Samurai would use all sorts of tactics to win including sneaking up on an adversary, using weapons, and various striking abilities. As the war conflicts extended, so did the realisation that armored assailants on horseback were extremely difficult to dismount, and defeat, which is why the Samurai needed to develop new techniques in order to win the war. The Samurai decided to lose their armor, and wear traditional style Gi kimonos to make themselves lighter on their feet, which developed their arsenal of unarmed combat. This included takedown maneuvers, joint locking throws, pinning techniques, and submission moves.
This style of grappling was passed on down through the generations, and eventually landed in the hands of a Japanese educator, and Martial Artist named Kano Jigoro. As Kano combined the style of grappling with other forms of eastern Martial Arts, he developed his own system of Kodokan Judo, which incorporated many submission, and throwing techniques. Many students became experts in his form of combat including Mitsuyo Maeda, who became an avid traveler, teacher of the Martial Arts, and prize fighter, as he spread this form of combat all over the world, including South America. It was here in Brazil, where Mitsuyo taught his Martial Arts to a young Carlos Gracie, who became highly obsessed with this form of grappling.
Carlos Gracie would teach Kodokan Judo to all of his brothers, as they all became quite experienced in this form of combat. It was Carlos's younger brother Helio Gracie who struggled with executing many of these Judo techniques due to his smaller stature, and this is why he developed a different form of combat with the aid of Carlos Gracie. Together they created a systematic form of submission grappling known as Gracie Jiu Jitsu, which incorporated many of the modern stylings that are seen in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu today. Throughout the evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, many high level competitors have added their own innovations into the sport, which has dramatically increased its potency, and finesse. Now the exposure of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has reached all corners of the globe, as many practitioners are posing questions like is boxing better than martial arts like jiu jitsu, and in Mixed Martial Arts all fighters will incorporate both of these systematic forms of combat.
THE HISTORY OF BOXING
Boxing has become one of the most formidable forms of combat in the world today, and even though it has been watered down with rules, it was once a fierce and brutal combative art form. Boxing dates back centuries, as depictions from early Northern Iraqi culture have showcased ancient civilizations fighting with the goal of beating each other up with their fists. Fighting has been a part of all human history, as war between men has been seen in all cultures worldwide. After centuries of conflict the innovation of combat sports has become extremely modernised. Ancient Greeks were known for their brutality of boxing, as many of their Olympic contests were battles to the death. The innovation of Greek boxing saw more rules being introduced, but the nature of the contests were still extremely brutal, leaving the Greeks to be some of the most feared combat athletes on the planet.
Centuries later, boxing was seen all throughout Great Britain, and the United States of America. The illegitimacy of boxing throughout these countries saw underground prize fights taking place that would often end in athletes being arrested by the police, and a number of illegal gambling rings only giving the sport a further bad name. Many lower class citizens would engage in boxing in order to try and make money, as they tried to legitimise the sport. In 1867 the introduction of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules gave the art of boxing a whole new purpose, as different rule sets like timed rounds, the wearing of boxing gloves, and the introduction of a square shaped boxing ring surrounded by ropes took precedence. This only helped the sport become somewhat legitimised, as they pushed for further exposure, and complete legitimisation of the art of boxing.
Throughout the nineteenth century boxing and prizefighting were still heavily illegal, and were outlawed all throughout the United States, and in the United Kingdom. Many boxers were beginning to feel discriminated against, as they searched for precedence of their combative art. It wasn't until 1892 that the first champion of the Marquess of Queensberry rules, Jim Corbett after defeating John L Sullivan, helped the sport of boxing gain worldwide attention. Promoters like Tex Rickard pushed for further legitimisation, and helped boxing jump into the twentieth century. Due to the hard work of many promoters, and many struggling boxers, the sport has now become a multi billion dollar organisation that has some of the best, and most powerful athletes on the planet. The modern form of boxing has many elements involved like speed vs power boxing, and fluency vs strategic defensive boxing, as all kinds of boxing athletes are showcasing their skills.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BOXING AND JIU JITSU
Boxing and Jiu Jitsu couldn't be more different from each other, as the vast differences between the two forms of combat are exponential. Boxing is a formidable striking art, where Jiu Jitsu is an intricate form of submission combat. Boxing uses strategically placed footwork to gain exposure to their opponents space, as they use evasive, and circular motions to land significant punches. The posture, balance, and coordination of a boxer is incredible, as they will often use weight, and power throughout the rotation of their hips to damage their opponents. Boxers will usually use jabs in order to keep an opponent away for long enough, before they close the distance, and land more prominent, and powerful strikes. Boxing is an extremely effective, and brutal form of combat, that involves a high degree of conditioning, and mental toughness.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the polar opposite of boxing, as there are no strikes involved within the combat sport. Instead Jiu Jitsu requires an athlete to gain positional dominance by first utilising takedown techniques that are similar to Judo, and Wrestling, before maneuvering, and controlling their opponents. Once an athlete has controlled their opponent they are free to set up a high calibre range of different submission maneuvers. Jiu Jitsu requires an athlete to be well conditioned, and to be extremely flexible, so they can administer many different joint locks, and choke holds, as well as move in and out of defensive, and offensive positions. The art of Jiu Jitsu is all about positional control, and how they can transition from one position to the next.
The stances in both of these forms of combat are extremely different, as a boxer will traditionally be primed ready to punch. The stance is all about setting up punches as they are commonly stepping in close so they can use circular motion, and rotation of their hips to gain significant power against an opponent. Jiu Jitsu has a completely different stance, as they will commonly be monitoring their opponents, and how they can be successfully taken down to the mat. This will severely change how a grappler will stand, and in terms of standing in front of a boxer they have a definitive advantage in this field. Jiu Jitsu fighters are notorious for pulling guard, which means they are confident in their ability to fall straight onto their backs, and fight from this position. Unless a boxer has good ground and pound game, which is an MMA trait, then a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter has another significant advantage.
HOW TO IMPROVE BOXING SKILL
Improving skills in boxing takes dedication, and perseverance, and all boxing athletes need to work on a range of different fundamental skills. Developing skills in footwork is critical for a boxing athlete, as their game style relies heavily on evasive maneuvers. This is so they can counter strike, as well as pivot, and rotate their hips to gain enough power to land prominent strikes on their opponent. Utilising skipping, and shadow boxing techniques is a great way to improve skills in footwork. Agility skills like stepping in and out of a rope ladder will also give a boxer considerable footwork ability. Utilising these types of drills will also give the athlete an exponential amount of strength and conditioning, and cardiorespiratory endurance, which is extremely important for a boxing athlete. All boxing athletes need to put consistency into their training, so they have the ability to increase their skills rapidly.
Another important aspect of boxing is their punching ability, and all athletes need to use focus mitts, or boxing bags to increase many attributes within their striking repertoire. The focus mitts are used to gain form, and accuracy within their striking combinations, as well as evasive movements, and a good trainer will commonly throw back counter strikes for their boxers to navigate. Boxing bags are also extremely important, as an athlete will increase the power of their punches, as well as more evasive movements. Boxers will commonly circle around the bag, using good head movements, and throwing a range of different boxing combinations, and this is how they can inherently increase their all round skills in boxing.
IMPROVING SKILLS IN JIU JITSU
Improving skills in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu also takes a significant dedication, and consistency on the mats. Grappling is a sport of longevity, and all athletes will gain considerable conditioning experience, and skills in many aspects of the art. Developing positional control is crucial, and is a form of subduing an opponent, and in BJJ there are multiple positions that they can control their opponent from. Transitioning from one position to the next is critical, and can be developed by pure rolling inside of an academy. Sweeping is the act of moving an opponent from on top to underneath, and this can only be improved with repetitive training of these techniques. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely complex Martial Art that involves a lot of full contact sparring to increase their ability of grappling.
One of the biggest aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the submission game, and to develop these skills the athlete will need to use repetition to learn many of these techniques. One of the major concepts of improving Jiu Jitsu skills is knowing which moves work for each individual, and which moves don't. Because there are thousands of movements in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu there are certain aspects that are only suited to a certain body type, and identifying which move suits which athlete is crucial. This is how an athlete can work out which type of style suits them best, and how they can move forward with improving their skill sets. Strength and conditioning is vital to a BJJ athlete, as the art requires them to have phenomenal endurance, and resilience, while being under a significant amount of pressure. All BJJ training sessions have movement based strength involved, and training in these aspects repetitively will more than improve an athlete's skills in grappling.
WHO WOULD WIN BETWEEN A BOXER AND A GRAPPLER
There are many different versions of a boxer versus a grappler, and who would come out victorious. In terms of Mixed Martial Arts there are a lot of factors that go into who could win this fight. A boxer will commonly switch between boxing southpaw vs orthodox stances, as they are looking to confuse their opponents. A grappler on the other hand, will be looking for a quick takedown, and therefore utilising quick movements to close the distance on their opponents. In Mixed Martial Arts a striker only has a limited amount of time to finish the fight, as a lot of these matches will commonly end up on the mat. This only leaves a small window of opportunity for a boxer to win the fight, but for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter their bread and butter is when the fight hits the mat.
The verdict of this contest can go the way of the boxer, if the boxer has outstanding skills in striking, and takedown defense, but most times out of ten it will be the grappler that has too much experience in full combat, that will finish their opponent with a submission. The fact remains that a boxer has limited grappling skills, whereas a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter has more predominant boxing skills, due to the nature of Mixed Martial Arts. If this fight was a pure boxing versus jiu jitsu match, then the fight would most likely still go the way of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter. This is because the boxer would be unable to take their opponent down to the ground, as their proficiencies are in standup striking. The Jiu Jitsu fighter can access a range of standing submissions, as well as takedown maneuvers, which will commonly out maneuver, and out think a boxing athlete.
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