5 Must-See Jiu Jitsu Documentaries | Jiu Jitsu Legacy

5 Must-See Jiu Jitsu Documentaries

The world is overflowing with entertainment options. There is perhaps nothing more popular than action blockbuster movies. As a martial artist, you find yourself examining each fight scene with a more critical eye. 

“That wouldn’t work.” “That’s not how you do that move!” The little voice in your head is screaming every time a fighting faux pas takes place on screen. Instead of shaking your fist at Hollywood for misrepresenting your beloved sport, consider that there are ways to see your favorite martial arts on screen. 

While John Wick or Captain America might pull off the occasional Jiu Jitsu technique, your favorite BJJ athletes are showcasing their talent in some great documentaries. There’s nothing stylized about them. Rather, just insights and demonstrations of Jiu Jitsu from some of the legends in the sport. Here are a few Jiu Jitsu documentaries to watch. 

Must-See Jiu Jitsu Documentaries | Jiu Jitsu Legacy


Choke is a chronicle of the life and career of Rickson Gracie. As the son of Helio Gracie and one of the modern patriarchs of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Rickson had his family name to live up to and a legacy to help forge. 

The documentary was made in 1999 and feels very “of its time” in its production. However, you might find that to be charming or fun. Where the movie finds its strength is its focus. While other Jiu Jitsu films might cover a wide array of subjects or people, Choke remains centered on Rickson and the events that surround his martial arts lifestyle. 

From his family life, to his training regimen, to his fight career, Choke examines every aspect of Rickson’s life. Choke is a great documentary if you want to understand a piece of the Jiu Jitsu legacy, while also learning to build your own mindset for competition. The entire film is free on YouTube.

Jiu Jitsu Vs. The World

If you could sum up Jiu Jitsu Vs. The World in a tagline, it might read something like: “Jiu Jitsu is pretty cool. Here’s why.” This documentary pulls back from a singular athlete and delves more into the culture of Jiu Jitsu. Dozens of legendary Jiu Jitsu athletes, gym owners, and everyday practitioners lend their insights and love for the sport. 

Jiu Jitsu Vs. The World acts as a good advertisement for the fun and benefits of Jiu Jitsu. It is an accessible film even for someone who has never done Jiu Jitsu. You don’t have to be “in the know” to enjoy or be inspired by the film. 

If you have a friend who you’ve tried to convince to start Jiu Jitsu, try showing them this movie and let them hear and see what many others are saying and doing in the sport. The entire film is free on YouTube.

The Hurt Business

The Hurt Business focuses more on mixed martial arts. You can think of this documentary as Jiu Jitsu Vs. The World for MMA. It’s an in-depth look at the history and personalities around MMA.

However, The Hurt Business, as its name suggests, is far more harrowing than its Jiu Jitsu counterpart. While many fighters and commentators discuss their love and admiration for the sport, they also discuss the costs of pursuing it.

Many aspiring fighters discuss broken dreams, while other successful fighters reflect on the health consequences of achieving their goals. The Hurt Business is equal parts history lesson, MMA commercial, and mindset motivator.

Roll: Jiu Jitsu in SoCal

Roll: Jiu Jitsu in SoCal is another documentary from Eat Films, the same production company that created Jiu Jitsu Vs. The World. As the predecessor, Roll still feels like a celebration of Jiu Jitsu, just on a smaller scale. Roll very much feels like a prototype for its spiritual sequel, but that just gives it a more focused narrative. 

Roll is the story of Jiu Jitsu in southern California and how its popularity there would influence the culture of the sport as a whole. The film focuses on a few veteran black belts in the area, such as Chris Haueter. 

Like any veteran, these black belts share the stories of their Jiu Jitsu journey and what they think of the evolution of BJJ today. The film is relatively short and is currently available for free on YouTube. 

Stuart Cooper Films

This entry might be a bit unfair, but you’ll be glad to have more high-quality Jiu Jitsu content. Black Belt Stuart Cooper might be the closest thing the Jiu Jitsu community has to its own Werner Herzog. 

On Cooper’s YouTube channel you can find a wealth of Jiu Jitsu content including seminars, ADCC coverage, and a few short films. Cooper’s videography highlights Jiu Jitsu in such an effective way because he is an active participant. His passion for the sport is displayed through the high production value and tone of his videos. 


What you see in the big-budget action movies is pretty cool, but isn’t very realistic. With Jiu Jitsu you don’t have to choose between stylized action and reality. There are several documentaries out there that showcase the history, practice, and evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Check a few of them out if you’re looking for a history lesson on the sport, or maybe just a little inspiration

MMA Submissions Videos | Jiu Jitsu Legacy

MMA Submissions Videos – What Are the Most Common and the Rarest Submissions?

“Stand them up!” As you’re enjoying a night of fights just hoping for some Jiu Jitsu to be displayed, that exclamation seems to interrupt the action. While everyone wants to see an exciting fight, the “stand them up” mentality equates ground fighting to boredom. 

The “Lay and Pray” method of fighting (where a fighter holds their opponent in a secure position to recuperate) can make for a boring show. But, no one can deny Anderson Silva’s redemptive triangle against Chael Sonnen. Fans remember when Ronda Rousey made armbars trendy. 

And, of course, Royce Gracie’s dominance of the early UFC with Jiu Jitsu helped bring BJJ to mainstream audiences. Although Jiu Jitsu in the academy is much different than in the cage, MMA has pushed BJJ to evolve into a more versatile sport. 

There have been countless displays of Jiu Jitsu victories in MMA history. However, some submissions are more common, while others become instantly iconic due to their rarity. Below are a few of the most common and the rarest submissions in MMA.  Note that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather notable or iconic entries. 

Most common submissions 

Rear Naked Choke

By far, the most common submission in MMA is the rear naked choke. While the submission is mechanically simple in Jiu Jitsu, it can be more nuanced to finish a tough opponent in a MMA context. 

Back mount is already a powerful position. When a fighter achieves back mount, the rear naked choke is often an inevitable conclusion, especially when an opponent now has to defend punches as well. 

While sweat can often make securing a submission more difficult, it is helpful in this case. As your opponent tucks their chin, the sweat makes it easier to slide an arm around their neck. 

Although a fighter can grit their teeth through broken bones, the rear naked choke can create an inescapable snare that defies grit and blood flow. As Helio Gracie put it, “for the choke, there are no tough guys.”


While the guillotine does not provide the same degree of control that the rear nake choke does, it utilizes the same “anti-tough guy” principles as any choke. 

What is unique about the guillotine, especially in MMA, is that many times an opponent might put themselves there, as opposed to falling prey to an elaborate setup. 

In other words, a wrestler shooting for a takedown might leave their neck exposed to be snatched into a guillotine. Like the rear naked choke, the guillotine’s execution is fairly simple, but it has a greater degree of versatility, as it can be set up and applied from multiple positions. 


You might find it comforting to know that one of the first submissions you learn in Jiu Jitsu is just as effective in world-class MMA. Casual fans of MMA might not understand all the intricacies of a Jiu Jitsu match, but everyone understands which way an arm should and definitely shouldn’t bend.

The armbar also provides a versatile range of setups and attacks from nearly every position in MMA. However, where a sweaty, erratic opponent might help you sink in a rear naked choke, an armbar can be more difficult to land on a slick opponent. 

Despite the smaller margin for error, the armbar also isolates one of your opponent’s punching arms. Considering the devastating nature of the submission, a fighter can potentially end a fight instantly if they can successfully apply the armbar.

Rarest Submissions

Von Flue Choke 

Named after veteran MMA fighter Jason Von Flue, his namesake submission has only been seen a handful of times in recent MMA history. The technique has gained cult status after being made famous by fighter Ovince Saint Preux who used it three times to gain victory. 

Used infrequently, the Von Flue Choke is a technique that uses its mystique and rarity to its advantage. A fighter may feel so confident in their oft-practiced guillotine that they refuse to let go of the headlock, even if they are in an improper position to finish, such as bottom side control.

This is where the Von Flue Choke shines. The top side fighter locks in the insistent head lock with their own grip, then begins to apply shoulder pressure to their opponent’s neck. What results is a nearly indefensible choke.

The Von Flue Choke’s relative ease of application and rare use gives any fighter using it the element of surprise. 


Armbars and triangle chokes dominate Jiu Jitsu in MMA. However, the third member of the Guard Godfather trio, the omoplata, is underutilized in MMA. The omoplata can certainly appear complicated, but if set up correctly, it can be just as efficient as an arm bar. 

The omoplata can be thought of as a Kimura, but with your legs. However, it has only been utilized in the UFC twice. It is true, as with many submissions, that the omoplata is easier in a gi. But, without a gi, fighters can still use the attack as a powerful shoulder lock, or even a sweeping technique. 

Like the armbar, a benefit of the omoplata is isolating one of your opponent’s arms, preventing some counterattacks. While applying the submission, the fighter is also off to the side of their opponent, away from their free arm, further safeguarding them from counterattack.

Omoplata on the list of the most common and rarest MMA submissions | Jiu Jitsu Legacy

Once in the submission, the opponent has no choice but to go into full-on “escape mode.” For most people, the typical omoplata escape will be rolling forward and relieving the pressure on the shoulder.

Even when this attempt is successful, it sometimes means fighters are forced to place themselves in compromising positions such as bottom side control. 

While you might see the omoplata represented in movies like Pacific Rim or Warrior, it is much more satisfying to see this rare submission in the cage. 


Jiu Jitsu made a splash in the MMA world back in UFC 1 with Royce Gracie’s early victories. Today, Jiu Jitsu continues to be both a devastating component of MMA as well as a great equalizer outside of the cage. 

Many submissions have become household names thanks to their common usage by celebrities like Ronda Rousey, Demian Maia, and Nate Diaz. However, other submissions have remained obscure in MMA.

BJJ Motivation - Be the Hero of Your Own Story | Jiu Jitsu Legacy

BJJ Motivation – Be the Hero of Your Own Story!

“A black belt is just a white belt that never gave up.” You’ve probably heard some variation of this quote a few times since starting Jiu Jitsu. Maybe your coach reminds you of this lesson after every class, or maybe you saw it on a t-shirt. 

Whether you roll your eyes at the cliche or take the meaning to heart, the fundamental truth to success in Jiu Jitsu is showing up on the mats. That’s always easier said than done. 

Between work, family, school, and a potential social life, there isn’t always energy or motivation to spare for BJJ. One of the biggest challenges in Jiu Jitsu is being present on the mats; mind and body. 

Fortunately, the sacrifices you make are usually rewarded with progress. Consider this your rest stop to replenish your BJJ motivation. Here are a few guidelines and motivational tools you can utilize.

BJJ Motivation - Be the Hero of Your Own Story! 3 BJJ Motivation - Be the Hero of Your Own Story! jiu jitsu documentaries

What are your reasons for training Jiu Jitsu?

There are no right or wrong answers. Maybe you started to train for fitness. Perhaps, you just wanted a hobby or a way to meet new and exciting people. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to recognize why you want to pursue Jiu Jitsu in order to know how much of yourself to give. 

Attending class three days a week isn’t a bad schedule for someone who just wants a little exercise in their spare time. However, if you’re chasing a world title, you may want to consider raising the frequency. 

Constantly reminding yourself of why you train will keep you from beating yourself up if you aren’t progressing like you feel you should. If you are often frustrated at your progress, or lack thereof, that may be an indicator that you want to shift your focus. 

Setting right goals and Jiu jitsu motivation | Jiu Jitsu Legacy

Set the right goals

Knowing the “why” of your Jiu Jitsu is only the beginning. As you develop, your desires for the sport may change. These are the moments where you discover the “what” of your Jiu Jitsu. In other words, what the goal for your BJJ journey is. 

In my years of training, the most common thing I’ve heard newcomers say is something along the lines of, “Sorry, I suck.” 

Oftentimes these students are measuring themselves by the wrong metric. As a result, they talk themselves out of continuing their training. If you compare your game to a seasoned veteran, it might appear like your game is lacking. 

Measure your successes by knowing what you want out of Jiu Jitsu instead. While you may not be a world-class competitor, you might be an amazing communicator who is able to relate to everyone on the mat. These could be qualities of a great teacher, which might be a goal you’d be interested in exploring if the competition scene doesn’t pan out for you. 

You will have a clearer view of your own progress if you know what goal you’re chasing in Jiu Jitsu. If your goal is to be the best competitor in the world, chase after it. But if you just want to make friends while beating each other up hopefully you can meet that goal! You will hit plenty of walls, but the key is to maintain your course regardless of the obstacles. 

Jiu Jitsu gi and belt | Jiu Jitsu Legacy

Here are a few motivational BJJ quotes

Tape these to the inside of your locker, or stitch them in your gi, but remember to keep them in your heart and mind as you progress through your Jiu Jitsu journey. 

“A black belt only covers two inches of your ass – you have to cover the rest.” Royce Gracie

“Discipline and consistency. I owe these two factors all I have attained in my life. Things have never happened overnight. Results have appeared as a consequence of decades long toil. It is necessary to persist.” Carlos Gracie Jr. 

“I wasn’t a good student, and even now I never say that I am better than anybody, but I know I love Jiu Jitsu more than anybody. I love the energy and that it gets deeper the more you study.”Marcelo Garcia

Here are a few motivational BJJ videos

If the quotes don’t do it for you, try some film study. Hopefully, these videos will keep you excited and inspired to train for years to come! 


When you first started Jiu Jitsu you were probably told about the benefits of training and how practical of a martial art it is. Once you hit the mats and began your training, maybe the challenge was overwhelming. 

It’s normal to feel out of your element as a white belt. The “blue belt blues” hit all of us. Every belt level carries its own challenges and obstacles. What is important is that you maintain your motivation to train in whatever way works for you. 

A Lot of High Percentage No Gi Chokes and Variations in Just 8 Minutes by Jason Scully

A Lot of High Percentage No Gi Chokes and Variations in Just 8 Minutes by Jason Scully

Even the seemingly worst technique, when mastered, can be deadly. Watch the following 8-minute video to learn the No-Gi chokes and variations.