The Brazilian MMA pioneer who gained famed for being a well-rounded striker and grappler talks about his early days in the dojo and the reasons he created his own system, Ruas vale tudo.

“When I was a kid, I used to watch Bruce Lee’s movies, and I liked the fight scenes. I wanted to fight just like him.” So says Marco Ruas, one of the most successful MMA competitors in the early days of the sport. Marco Ruas started training in the martial arts when he was a young buck of 12 growing up on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. “I studied taekwondo, boxing, capoeira and then judo with a famous judoka who went to the Olympics twice,” he says. “Then I trained in luta livre, which is very famous in Brazil. It’s like jiu-jitsu, but you never wear a gi. You wear only shorts.” Marco Ruas also trained in muay Thai kickboxing when it arrived in Brazil in the mid-1970s. Additional grappling skills came from wrestling workouts. “I took the best things from each art and created the Ruas vale tudo style,” he says. “The best way to become a good fighter is to train in arts that give you what is good for you. That’s because there are no complete fighting arts. Thai boxing is good standing. Jujitsu and luta livre are good on the ground. I created Ruas vale tudo to give students everything they need — on the ground, standing up, wrestling — to become a complete fighter.” Practice, Practice, Practice If you’re thinking about following in Marco Ruas’ footsteps, hold your horses a minute: Studying a variety of arts to learn the best parts of each does not mean jumping from dojo to dojo every three or four months. “You should spend three or four years doing each art,” he says. That can quickly add up to decades of training and testing before you're ready to found a new self-defense system like he did. Contrary to what his nickname “King of the Streets” may have led the public to believe about the martial artist or the martial art, Marco Ruas didn’t get in a lot of street brawls when he was a kid. “‘King of the Streets’ is Marco’s nickname because his last name, Ruas, is very close to rua, the Portuguese word for ‘street,’” says Pedro Rizzo, Ruas’ top student and a successful MMA fighter in his own right. “One day, people just started calling him ‘King of the Streets.’” Giving Back In Brazil, Marco Ruas was known for helping underprivileged people who want to learn the martial arts. “He let poor people train for free at his gym, which was located in the slums,” Pedro Rizzo says. “He recognized the value of getting people interested in sports.” “Bringing people into the gym gets them off the streets,” Marco Ruas says. It’s much better than having them continue their life of delinquency or start a life of crime, he insists. Marco Ruas now lives in Southern California, where he teaches the art he created. He’s enthusiastic about the potential of American students. “Ruas vale tudo is a real sport that’s good for everyone," he says. "In class, you don’t have to use strength to crunch or punch your opponent. All you need is technique. American students like to compete, so that is good, too.” Resources To download a FREE Guide titled "4 Submission Escapes From Jean Jacques Machado," go here.

Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge

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Host country Japan continued to run roughshod over judo at the Olympics Thursday winning both golds on day 6 of competition in Tokyo. Shori Hamada's match in the women's 78 kg division was over almost before it began as her French opponent, Madeleine Malonga, missed on an inside trip attempt just 10 seconds into the contest allowing the ground specialist, Hamada, to take it to the mat. Hamada worked her way free of Malonga's legs and into a hold down position for an easy pin to take the gold medal.

In the men's 100 kg category, Japan's Aaron Wolf waited until overtime against South Korea's Cho Gu-ham before going for his own ouchi gari, inside trip. Unlike Malonga though, Wolf, whose father is American and mother Japanese, landed his perfectly putting Cho flat on his back for an ippon, full point, to take the finals. Japan has now tied their own record for most gold medals (8) in a single Olympic judo competition with three events still to go.


There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles and advertisements, all touting the myriad of benefits children receive from studying martial arts. Let's assume the reader is already sold on the idea of having their child study martial arts, and now it's just a matter of finding the right school. As a former school owner myself, I thought I would share three things to consider when choosing a martial arts school for your child.
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