The world was first exposed to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu through UFC 1. Royce Gracie forever changed combat sports by submitting his way into history. Over the course of the next 20 years, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu flourished as a martial art and has become the benchmark for submission fighting. It has grown rapidly as a self-defense, and as a sport.
The Student: The students wishing to learn Jiu-Jitsu are the lifeblood of all academies. Without the students’ desire to learn, BJJ would eventually disappear the same way ancient languages vanish. There has been an increase in the number of Jiu-Jitsu gyms over the past couple of decades, resulting in many more people exposed to the martial art. As demand for Jiu-Jitsu schools increases, so must the number of academies.
Modern day film and media has changed the way women are portrayed. No longer are women just the damsel in distress. Mass media is creating a positive transformation in the role of women. Also the growing popularity of athletes such as Ronda Rousey has helped promote combat sports to a female audience. I expect to see more women participating in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other combat sports in the future.
The Technique: Jiu-Jitsu techniques are like smartphone apps. Every couple of months, a new one comes along that becomes the latest topic of conversation at academies across the world. May it be the Berimbolo or the Worm Guard, Jiu-Jitsu practitioners constantly innovate and evolve. This trend will likely continue, so expect to see more technical sweeps, submissions, and guard variations in the future.
The Venue: Perhaps the biggest change to the future of Jiu-Jitsu will be in the venue and stage. Events such as Metamoris are proving there is a demand for high-level Jiu-Jitsu outside of the standard tournaments. As these ticket/pay-per-view style grapple matches grow in popularity, the greater the likelihood that we will see the sport of develop into something seen on network television. I believe with the increased number of people understanding Jiu-Jitsu, there will be a greater demand to see competition at its highest level. This will allow events like Metamoris to flourish in the mainstream.
Gracie Barra Chino