Luta Livre (Portuguese: [ˈlutɐ ˈlivɾi], lit. freestyle fighting), known in Brazil as Luta Livre Brasileira and also Luta Livre Submission, is a Brazilian martial art created by Euclydes Hatem in Rio de Janeiro. Primarily a mixture of catch wrestling and judo, there is also striking with the hands, feet, knees and elbows. Notable practitioners include Marco Ruas, Ebenezer Fontes Braga, Johil de Oliveira, Alexandre Franca Nogueira, Renato Sobral, Darren Till and José Aldo.
|Country of origin||Brazil|
|Famous practitioners||Marco Ruas|
Johil de Oliveira
Alexandre Franca Nogueira
|Parenthood||Catch Wrestling, Judo|
|Descendant arts||Vale Tudo|
There are two styles: esportiva ("sporting") and vale tudo ("anything goes"); both styles are no-gi. In esportiva competitions, grappling techniques are the only techniques allowed to subdue the opponent. Consequently, it is important to calmly strategize and execute moves with the aim to force the opponent to submit via armlock, leglock, choke or necklock, or to win by points (i.e. takedowns, domination position). Punches, kicks and other "hard" techniques are not allowed as this is considered more a sport than actual combat. Vale tudo, on the other hand, includes techniques in the clinch as well as on the ground; punches and kicks are allowed, but the ground fight and submissions are still the largest elements. This is also the form used in MMA-style fights.
Luta Livre's founder is credited to be Euclydes "Tatu" Hatem, who was originally a catch wrestler. Euclydes Hatem went by the name of Tatu.  He began teaching catch wrestling techniques to others in Rio de Janeiro in 1927 while experimenting with some of his own innovative techniques. Tatu brought on many challenges with the Brazilian Jiujitsu and culminated with his victory over George Gracie in the Catch rules fight. The style emphasized fighting without a gi/uniform. He received popularity when he submitted George Gracie in 1940 and when one of his students, Euclides Pereira defeated Carlson Gracie in 1968. The system focused on ground fighting and submissions due to their importance in Vale Tudo matches. The ground fighting included the use of leg locks, which at the time was ignored by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. For years, Luta Livre was extremely popular in Brazil, second only to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Some of the famous fighters that came out of Luta Livre included William Porfirio. In the 1970s Luta Livre was strongly influenced by father and son duo Fausto and Carlos Brunocilla. The Brunocilla were Tatu's pupils and were in turn responsible for graduating many Luta Livre Masters. Also around the 1970s, the art of Luta Livre was influenced by Roberto Leitão, a practitioner of judo and wrestling. Leitao also articulated the "Theory of Grappling", sometimes referred to as "Theory of Luta Livre". Roberto Leitao was a University professor of Engineering who had devoted many years to Wrestling and Judo.
The grading system, according to the Wrestling Federation Submission of the State of Rio de Janeiro, is divided into three: beginners, intermediate and advanced.
Luta Livre and Brazilian jiu-jitsuEdit
Luta Livre, in its early days, was largely considered to be an art "for poor kids who could not afford a gi."  due to appearances since they didn't fight with a gi. Luta Livre and BJJ were considered to be enemies. When Euclides Perreria beat Carlson Gracie in 1968, the rivalry was continued for a few more decades. It was actually very popular amongst kids from the favelas.  Luta Livre focused on teaching the poor who were primarily of African descent. This was opposed to Brazilian Jiujitsu which was thought to focus on teaching of the upper class, who were primarily light skinned. The battles between the two arts was essentially a class warfare. By the 1980s, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu had become very popular in Brazil and Luta Livre representatives wanted to help popularize their art by accepting challenges from Brazilian jiu-jitsu champions in Vale Tudo and Submission matches. Luta Livre continued on with many famous fights in and out of the ring. This included a fight with Rickson Gracie on the beaches of Brazil. This would hurt Luta Livre's reputation with Hugo Duarte losing to Rickson Gracie then getting knocked out by Tank Abbott at UFC 17 and Eugenio Tadeu losing to Wallid Ismael due to his inability to re-enter the ring in time. Tadeu did battle Royler Gracie to a draw in an indoor fight. Another fight between Renzo Gracie and Eugenio Tadeu kept the rivalry going.  His battle with Renzo Gracie in 1997 ended in a No Contest due to fans rioting. In 1991 Desafio hosted a Jiu-Jitsu vs Luta Livre card that had three representatives of Brazilian jiu-jitsu up against three representatives of Luta Livre, with BJJ winning all three fights.
One fighter Marco Ruas, who would later become a UFC champ, had a huge rivalry with Rickson Gracie. A fight though never occurred between the two fighters. When MMA became popularized and after BJJ having such success against Luta Livre practitioners in the more popular MMA fights, more Luta Livre practitioners left their original camps and went instead to the Jiu-Jitsu camps hoping for success in a fighting career. Hugo, Johil De Oliveira, and Eugenio Tadeau are amongst the most notable representatives of that era for the Luta Livre style that was famous for opposing against Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in the Vale Tudo events held in Brazil. Despite their overall losses against Jiu-Jitsu, Luta Livre seems to be making a resurgence in mixed martial arts.
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