Luta Livre: The Unique Brazilian Martial Art (Hidden Treasure)

Have you ever heard of Luta Livre? It's a Brazilian martial art that is often overlooked in favor of more popular styles like Jiu-Jitsu. However, Luta Livre has a lot to offer, and it could be the perfect martial art for you! In this article, we will discuss what Luta Livre is and how it compares to other Brazilian martial arts. We will also explore the techniques used in this unique style.

What Is Luta livre?

Luta livre means "free fighting" in Portuguese, is a Brazilian martial art that was developed in the early 20th century. It is a unique form of grappling that combines techniques from wrestling and judo. Luta livre fighters are known for their aggressive style and use of powerful takedowns and submissions.

The style has evolved over time, combining techniques from capoeira (a combative dance) with European wrestling styles. Luta livre is a very effective no gi submission grappling style, and it can be used in self-defense or competition.

Compared to Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), luta livre is relatively unknown among the two grappling arts. However, it is gaining in popularity due to its effectiveness in competition. Luta livre fighters have won numerous championships in both national and international tournaments.

If you are looking for a unique grappling art that is sure to test your skills and abilities, then luta livre is for you.

When was Luta Livre created?

Luta Livre was created in Brazil in the 1920s by immigrant fighters who were looking for a way to showcase their skills. These Brazilian immigrants brought with them the art of Catch Wrestling, which would eventually evolve into Luta Livre.

Luta Livre (Brazil)

Who invented Luta Livre?

The original creator can be difficult to pinpoint but there are many beliefs that Luta Livre Brasileira (another name for Luta Livre) was invented by Euclydes Hatem AKA 'Tatu' or 'Armadillo' for his broad and short muscular body type.

A Luta Livre Story (Gi vs. No-Gi) ~ Armadillo vs. Yano

There are stories of legendary encounters between him and Takeo Yano who was a friend of Mitsuyo Maeda. They battled twice with Euclydes Hatem winning the first match with a vicious choke hold. This is a significant part of submission grappling history because of the rule change that benefited Takeo Yano in the second match.

The rematch had different conditions ruling that they both had to wear a combat kimono gi (judogi). It is debatable that this helped Takeo Yano perform a powerful hip throw that injured the Armadillo's shoulder. Like a wounded animal with broken armor Euclydes Tatu Hatem becomes prey to the world-class grappler, Takeo Yano.

The 'free fighting' armadillo would go on to win the trilogy against Takeo Yano with a submission, proving that Brazilian freestyle fighting has room for a no gi submission grappling style (Luta livre) to compete as the most effective martial art.

This story is one that can be learned from, even as a modern martial artist. If you are a no-gi submission wrestler, it might be helpful to learn takedown defense. As a judo athlete, it may be beneficial to practice submission defense.

This battle shows the importance of learning multiple forms of martial arts and also to train and be prepared for any environment and outfit, whether you have an injured limb or have to wear a new type of martial arts clothing.

Luta Livre and BJJ meet in a match...

The Armadillo's fighting career would continue into many inspiring stories including one where he defeated a BJJ fighter in his match against George Gracie. Although George Gracie isn't the most popular out of the Gracie fighters, he was no slouch as he was known to also include catch wrestling moves in his style. The clash of the grappling styles resulted in a victory from Euclydes Tatu Hatem.

MMA historians can often leave out this story as the average modern day BJJ practitioner will never hear about this story and only the most knowledgeable Luta Livre guys understand why Luta Livre is important.

Why was Luta Livre created?

It can be difficult to know the exact reason for Euclydes Hatem's intentions for creating Luta livre, but it is believed that it was in response to jiu-jitsu as it began to grow in Brazil. It could have been that early Luta livre practitioners recognized that they needed to create/evolve a style that was more effective in real-life situations.

It is debatable whether Luta Livre succeeded in this goal as BJJ ultimately became the most popular martial art in Brazil alongside capoeira. BJJ has since captured the attention of the world when Gracie jiu-jitsu fighters such as Rickson Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Royler Gracie, Carlson Gracie etc. began showcasing their family's honor by displaying their style of submission fighting.

Luta Livre fighters begin to trade with other submission grapplers (Vale Tudo)

Luta Livre practitioners recognize that BJJ is the dominant style of grappling and have since adopted many techniques from BJJ. It is possible that BJJ supporters have also borrowed and blended Luta Livre techniques into their skill sets as well in a mutual trade.

Other Clans & Styles

In the history of Brazilian free-style fighting (Brazilian MMA) other 'clans' and jiu jitsu camps within Brazil that developed and created their own lineage such as the Lira Clan: Darlynson Lira (BJJ Black Belt) Explains Leadership & Lineage

Lira Jiu Jitsu lineage

Our Lineage Goes: Kodokan Japan, Takeo Yano, Master Sa, Master Darcio Lira, and Me (Darlynson Lira)

Each team or faction has their unique methods, traditions and/or training styles that can still be seen in modern instructors teaching the specific style. There are some relations between vale tudo and luta livre as well. Although many of these styles have blended in together to form the larger term of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Additional Luta Livre History Information

In the 90's many luta livre practitioners began competing at the highest levels alongside BJJ practitioners in submission grappling tournaments. This was during an era when Rickson Gracie, Royler Gracie, Renzo Gracie and other famous jiu-jitsu fighters were dominating their opponents.

However, it seems that following this period there has been a decline in Luta livre competitors succeeding against BJJ practitioners as Rio De Janeiro and other hubs in Brazil were beginning to become dominated by Gracie Academy influence.

How long does it take to get a black belt in Luta Livre?

Since Luta Livre is not a sport that is governed by any federation or association, there is no clear answer as to how long it takes to receive a black belt in the art. However, some practitioners who have achieved this rank state that it took them between 12 and 15 years of training.

Luta Livre Black Belt

Is Luta Livre an effective fighting style?

According to the guys at BJJ Fanatics, yes. However, it is important to note that this style of grappling does not have a large number of practitioners as compared to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Many Luta Livre academies teach their students in conjunction with other styles such as BJJ and MMA training classes.

Luta Livre Techniques

There is a lack of online videos available on Luta Livre techniques, but here are some of the most popular and effective moves that have been used in real fights.

Luta Livre Triangle Choke from Single Leg Defense

The luta livre triangle choke from single leg defense is one of my favorite submissions because it works against BJJ practitioners who tend to defend against the triangle choke by posturing up. By attacking with this submission from a different angle, you can catch your opponent off guard and finish the fight.

Luta Livre Arm Drag Pass

The luta livre arm drag pass is another great technique that can be used to take the back of your opponent or to pass the guard. This move is very versatile and can be used in many different situations.

Luta Livre Omoplata

The luta livre omoplata is a very effective submission that can be used to finish your opponent from almost any position. If you are able to get this hold locked on, your opponent will not last long.

Luta Livre Strategies: The Special Benefits of Luta Livre

Luta livre fighters are known for their powerful takedowns and dynamic submissions. They use a wide variety of throws, trips and sweeps to take down opponents who are much larger than them. Luta livre also emphasizes the importance of maintaining balance when defending against takedowns and sweeps from opponents who are much heavier than you.

If you have ever watched a luta livre competition (which is unlikely), then you know that it is all about getting your opponent to the ground as quickly as possible. Once on their back, luta livre fighters will unleash a barrage of submissions that are designed to finish the fight.

So, if you are looking to practice grappling with powerful takedowns and submissions, then luta livre is definitely worth checking out. With its growing popularity, there is no better time than now to start learning this unique form of Brazilian grappling.

Luta Livre vs Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Luta Livre has many similarities to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but there are also some key differences. Let's take a closer look at what makes Luta Livre unique:

- While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on ground fighting and submission holds, Luta Livre is a stand-up style that emphasizes striking techniques such as kicks and punches.

Submission Shark No-Gi BJJ Gear

- Luta Livre fighters typically wear more traditional martial arts attire, such as t-shirts and shorts, while Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters often wear BJJ gis or rash guards and spats for no-gi style.

- Luta Livre is a relatively new art, so there are not as many techniques or variations as there are in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, this also makes the art less complex and easier to learn.

So what's the verdict? Is Luta Livre a better grappling art than BJJ? In my opinion, they are both great arts and it really depends on your individual preferences and goals. If you want to focus on ground fighting and submissions, then go with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you want to learn a more traditional grappling art with emphasis on striking techniques, then Luta Livre is the better choice. Either way, you can't go wrong!

If you're interested in learning more about Luta Livre, be sure to check out upcoming articles on the topic. Submission Shark will dive deeper into the history of Luta Livre and how to start training in this unique martial art to benefit your existing no gi grappling style. Sign up to the newsletter to receive secret insights!

Is Luta Livre a type of submission wrestling?

Luta Livre is a type of submission wrestling, which means that it focuses on grappling and ground fighting with an emphasis on submissions. The goal of luta livre fighters is to defeat their opponents by using holds and locks to force them into submission. In other words, they want you to "tap out" or yield before they hurt you.

Famous Luta Livre Representatives

Some of the most famous luta livre grapplers include:

  • José Aldo (Former UFC Featherweight Champion)
  • Murilo Bustamante (Former UFC Middleweight Champion)
  • Hugo Duarte (Legendary MMA veteran with a fight with Rickson Gracie)
  • Terry Etim (English MMA Fighter)
  • Rousimar Palhares (MMA Grappler - competed in multiple organizations)
  • Pedro Rizzo (Competed in the UFC, PRIDE, M-1 Global, and Affliction)
  • Marco Ruas (MMA Pioneer)
  • Renato Sobral (Former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion)
  • Eugenio Tadeu (A Luta Livre Vale Tudo grappling martial arts fighter)
  • Glover Teixeira (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion)
  • Darren Till (Professional MMA Fighter and Middleweight Contender)
  • Milton Vieira (Inventor of the anaconda choke)

All of these fighters have achieved great success in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions, as well as other martial arts tournaments.

Where Is Luta Livre Most Popular?

Today, Luta Livre is one of the most popular martial arts in Brazil, and it continues to grow in popularity all over the world. 

Will there be more Luta Livre Practitioners In The Future?

Although it's popularity is relatively unknown on the global stage, Luta Livre is still alive and well as it continues to evolve with new techniques being developed all the time. It may just be a secret hidden treasure to add to your training. Only time will tell if MMA fighters will dig deep into this martial art and reveal it's secret skills to the competition and mainstream BJJ world.

Should MMA fighters and Jiu Jitsu Practitioners include Luta Livre into their styles?

There are many great Luta Livre instructors who are passing on their knowledge to the next generation of fighters. It is an art that is worth checking out and adding to your training if you want an addition to Gracie jiu jitsu or want to add more skills to your MMA abilities.

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