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Vale Tudo Mixed Martial Arts: Different Types of Martial Arts

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Vale Tudo: “The Anything Goes Martial Arts”.

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Vale tudo is a grappling art that was born from the “all comers welcome” fighting that was common in Brazilian circuses in the 1920s. It was later popularized in a 1960s Brazilian television show, Herois do Ringue (Ring Heroes)—but it was taken off air after one competitor suffered an exposed arm fracture. Although vale tudo means “anything goes,” modern competitions have rules, such as no eye gouges or groin strikes.

Many different styles

Vale tudo uses techniques from many styles including jujutsu, muay Thai, wrestling, Western boxing, and sambo. Training is heavily physical and geared toward fighting in the ring. The overall ethos of vale tudo, like many Brazilian wrestling forms, is that techniques must be tested in full-contact fighting conditions in order to be considered useful and legitimate. Individual techniques are practiced repeatedly until they become instinctive.

An example of the “all comers welcome” style of the 1920s was printed in the Japanese-American Courier newspaper on 4 October, 1928. It reads: “One report from San Paulo declares that Jiu-jitsu is truly an art and that in an interesting exhibition in the side tents to the big circus a Bahian Negro of multiplous dimensions met his Waterloo at the hand of the diminutive Japanese wrestler. The Negro was an expert at Capoeira, an old South American style of fighting, but after putting the Japanese on his back and trying to kick his head, the little Oriental the use of a Jiu-jitsu hold threw thi Bahian and after a short struggle hi was found sitting on the silent fran of the massive opponent.”


A hybrid martial art, kombato is geared toward defending against armed and unarmed attackers. It is used by bodyguards, law enforcers, and military personnel, and is gaining popularity as a self-defense system. It uses grappling, joint locks, punches, and kicks. Emphasis is placed upon intuitive understanding of the triggers that spark aggression and violence—a key principle is to avoid those situations in the first instance and to resort to a physical response only as a secondary tactic.

Luta Livre

Luta livre is an energetic and highly effective form of grappling and sport wrestling that has been practiced in Brazil since 1927. Fighters do not wear any protection, and rely on correct and superior technique to defeat a foe. They use throws, locks, and holds to devastating effect, but never punch or kick. Strength and conditioning are vital. Luta livre is constantly evolving, absorbing techniques from other wrestling and grappling arts.

Luta livre has ten key principles. The most fundamental is, “If I don’t know, I won’t allow.” This means that, no matter what an opponent tries to do, he must always be opposed and never allowed to gain the upper hand.

Keep moving and changing

There are many ways of making this principle work. For example, fighters should use the element of surprise and vary their techniques constantly. Fighters are encouraged to keep moving, changing their position and their angles of attack and defense.

If a fighter controls the space, he can control his opponent’s actions—for example, using his body to block their movement and intentions can undermine their ability to execute techniques effectively. A fighter should always be doing something in a match—constantly strategizing, fighting, pushing, and moving.

El Juego Del Garrote

This martial art is practiced, albeit rarely, in Venezuela and the island of Gran Canaria. The garrotte is a staff or stick that is heavier at the striking end. This slows down the combatant’s ability to strike a target quickly, but does maximize the impact. Masters of the art secretly teach students the skills to fight with the staff, machete, and knife, and to unbalance and throw their opponents by locking their limbs in order to gain a victory.

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