Americana: Where American Wrestling met Brazilian jiu jitsu

Americana: Where American Wrestling met Brazilian jiu jitsu

[Music] My name is Bob Anderson and I’m a national champion wrestler in all three styles Greco, freestyle and Sambo and I was an Olympic coach Pan American Games coach and World Cup coach. [Music] [Applause] I had my surfboard with me because I heard there was good surf and everything and I’m trying to get through customs and I can’t get out because I don’t have anybody to pick me up I don’t have a place to go and and I’m waiting for this governing body leader from wrestling to show up and pick me out two hours pass and nobody comes. I got picked up by Carlson and Rolls Gracie, they said that they were the governing body representatives for wrestling, which they weren’t. Actually I think they had a rift between each other and so I went with them and I said what took you guys so long well we had some other things and training to do and so that’s why I said okay. Then I went on and stay there at his house and then he’d get me up and we’d go to a practice but I’m coming in and I’ve done samba I was Pan American Games champion in that. But, he had guys with long pants and jackets on and it looked like judo and I so I thought that was kind of strange but I said well maybe they do both and they’re trying to learn wrestling after about three days I’m going these guys are always wearing jackets how come they don’t get into wrestling attire and he says well we we do both. We do jiu-jitsu and we want to get trained well enough so that we can make the Pan American games team and do well and I said okay that makes sense I mean I was sent down there by the governing body of the FILA to help develop wrestling in that country. He would he’s kind of like a Renaissance guy I think he would take things from different sports and apply them into his jiu-jitsu which I thought was very good. There’s a lot of jiu-jitsu guys just only jiu-jitsu stuff and they don’t break out of that he did. Well some people don’t realize that the Americana was really named after me and that American wrestlers and up into the 50s in college had submission wrestling and when I was training in 1968 going to LA why these old guys would come up to me and asked me if I’d roll around with them and just out of respect cuz you know they’re older guys and so anyway one of them did a keylock on me and then another one did something else and was hurting me and I said is that’s not legal is it? He says it used to be Sonny so when I went to Brazil I remember the key lock and and how to make it painful and we adjusted a little bit and I taught the Gracie’s that one time because a Rolls asked me to show that if the guy did this what would you do… He was always brainstorming and we came up with the key lock and bringing it in and became the Americana named after the American wrestler that came down and showed them techniques. We joked around and had fun. His wife Angela, I’d always tease him like athletes tease each other I said well I don’t know if you could be a wrestler you know you’re kind of small to be a wrestler and I’d say stuff like that in front of her and she would get so upset that I didn’t respect him because he was at the time and I didn’t know it the toughest guy in Brazil. He had actually they showed me a picture a video of a Super 8 Camera shot of him and his ten students going against this guy about and his ten students in karate and then jujitsu and how all of his students submitted every one of the karate guys and then he went against this guy about really buffed about six one 240 pounds and submitted him in about 30 seconds so just to prove that jiu-jitsu was better than karate and so that was pretty impressive to me. We went to a soccer game he wanted to go really bad and I remember him we were late as he got off work late because he was a cop part time and so we’re driving down the sidewalk in Brazil and and lucky there was hardly anybody on the street but we’re driving down the sidewalk didn’t past all these cars that are going to this big soccer match and then finally we pulls onto the freeway and then he parks the car right in the offramp to get there and we walk down he goes behind the gate flashes his badge talks to these guys and the place is completely full but they let us in and we ended up watching the game sitting on the stairways of the soccer arena. I’ll never forget that that was quite a trip with him. We became friends really within about a few days I really liked the guy his personality his attitude of openness to learn technique and he was just a nice a super guy. Just a few days before I was ready to leave Rolls decided that he wanted to have a match. We had a match we started off and we had jackets on and we fought for 30 minutes yeah but the problem was I wanted to start on my feet and he said no way he said you get down here you get on top of me in the guard man I go what is “the guard”? That’s the first I had ever seen it. So get on top of him and I think I’m gonna… You know, a wrestler thinks he’s dominating the top position well I soon learned that wasn’t the case. We fought and we fought and we fought for position for arms for chokes for arm bars for figure fours and we both fought each other until I was just sweating and really hot and so I said wait a minute wait a minute let’s just stop this right now I said and take off these jackets and fight like real men without a jacket referring to wrestling so then I did so he’s said, Okay. No problem. I stood up there and he goes no no get back into the guard get on top so I got back into the guard and we went at least another 25 minutes finally caught me in a heel hook and you know had it pretty tight so I just tapped out and it was a good move and but I was a little disappointed I got caught in it so I act to him before I was leaving I said why don’t you come up to California visit me at my house bring your wife and your son Igor. There’s a Pan American Games let me see if I can get you in the pan america games in samba its along with the World Championship in Greco in freestyle. He called me back up said he’s coming. He came up, I picked him up and he stayed at our house for a while. We went down to San Diego we tuned up at a national YMCA Championship which he submitted everybody, I won. Then we went into the Pan America Games. I had to really talk some people and they’ll let him in because he didn’t have the official paperwork but he got in and he won it. He looked great and that was I think the first really showed Brazilian Jujitsu in America. That medals right here we had a problem with the governing body they were fighting and for control and we couldn’t get the medals for a while and then he passed away sadly doing in a hand gliding accident and so it was I couldn’t get it to him then I lost contact with his family and… Here it is. This is the medal. It’s got his name on it and he’s the champion and I’d really like to get it to his family or Igor or something have a little a little small presentation of and honor the man. He was not only a great innovator but it was a great loss to jiu-jitsu when Rolls Gracie passed away on that on that hand glider… it was terrible. I lost all heart. I just went back into wrestling. [Music]

100 thoughts on “Americana: Where American Wrestling met Brazilian jiu jitsu

  1. I was the man that Rolls beat in the finals of the 1979 Pan American Sombo Championships.  As a wrestler, I did not fully appreciate submission holds and was leading him on points until the final 30 seconds. Out of nowhere. he caught me with a submission hold.  We became friends afterwards and he showed me his tricks for getting out of submission holds.  No one ever again caught me in one, in ten years of Judo and Sombo.  He was a tremendous person and I mourn his passing.  Bob Anderson, incidentally was my coach for the 1979 World Sombo Championships, which team he organized and coached, the first full team ever sent to a world Sombo championships by the USA.  We all placed in the top ten in our weight classes, with two bronze medals.  Bob Anderson was probably best at Greco-Roman wrestling (US Champion) and probably the strongest man I Know (check out the photos of him as a young man).  He made a true contribution many disciplines, including  Sombo (notice the blue Sombo Hall of Fame certificate above his right shoulder). You are a great man, Bob.

  2. Interesting story! Sounds like they barely rolled or not at all before their final farewell roll. I would've thought during their time together they would have gone over more than just the Americana

  3. I always found it strange that the Gracie's learned the americana from Mr. Anderson (not says that I doubt this story or anything btw). You would think that this would have been one of the first subs that Maeda would teach to Carlos. I mean Maeda surely knew the technique as it was taught in the Kodokan even in his day.

  4. "you have to start in my guard" is like saying "let me get you in this hold real quick". How lame was Rolls. He shoulda faced him standing. Good video Anyway

  5. Asking the other to begin in the guard is a little like a boxer asking the other to shut his eyes, drop his hands, raise his chin and count up to one hundred at the beginning of a fight! 😉

  6. Foi ele que mudou totalmente o Jiu-jitsu , Hélio Gracie começou com o sistema de alavancas mas ele ,com o aprendizado que teve nós EUA com o Westriling e Sambo ,introduziu e adotou o jiu-jitsu assim nasceu o Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

  7. Sorry, but this account may be a bit biased as I've heard some others…

    Both Wrestlers and BJJ guys are notorious for giving accounts of events which elevate their own abilities in hindsight.

    Its hard to believe that the two of them never EVER rolled until their final day together. I had heard that they traveled around Brazil together giving demonstrations in order to foster interest in Wrestling before Bob left. Also that Rolls tapped him several times.

    The claim that he was forced to start 'only' in Roll's guard instead of in some neutral position is also a bit suspect since this is never done and goes against every other account of Roll's personality and competitive nature.

  8. Wow…awesome history. Americana was named after Bob Anderson…cool.

    I will be sharing this in every Jiu Jitsu gym I walk into! Realize Mr. Anderson was taught this by an old wrestler…which is catch wrestling.

  9. They conveniently forgot to write the ages of the two in those stats to make Rolls look good. To be fair Coach Anderson was already 36 years old at that time, way past his prime. Rolls was at a perfect 28 years. That's a big difference in times before casual steroid use.

  10. Coach Anderson is talking about Catch wrestlers when he's telling the story about the "old wrestlers". Top Wrist Lock ("Keylock") used to be a staple of Catch wrestling during its heydays when they dominated everybody.

    It's a real pity Olympic movement banned submissions from wrestling in 1930s. They should add submissions back to wrestling, and transform amateur wrestling back to professional wrestling to make it great again!

  11. You can see the pain in his eyes when he talks about Rolls passing away m he really admired him and rightfully so. Rolls was learning modern day BJJ even back when GJJ was all about self defense

  12. Bu the Gracie family is prominent and everywhere, how is it possible that he couldn't return that medal for 30 years?? one call to any of the Gracie centers would have gotten him contact with the family.

  13. Back when BJJ was open minded and friendly…

    But, I did notice that in typical Gracie fashion they're always dictating rules that only favor them from the beginning.

  14. I remember you very well and I still know how great you were to all wrestlers.. and I truly thank you for your gift you gave that day.. I would love to tell the story to you

  15. Jiu Jitsu is better than karate. I took karate as a kid and did not enjoy it like I enjoyed taking 10 trial classes of Jiu Jitsu. I wish I could afford a membership at a jiu jitsu gym. I'm trying to sort out my financials because I LOVE jiu jitsu. I wish it wasn't so expensive to train.

  16. Bonjour.
    Does some wrestling technique turned into bjj techniques?
    IS it important to work the wrestling technique's ground?

  17. Rolls was Carlos Gracie son, one of the first cross trained fighters.
    Carlos knew that Bjj was born from Kodokan Judo, respected it and taught his children to be wise to conserve whats the best on each martial art to improove their jiu-jitsu game.
    While Helio was only interested in promoting the art as he had created from scratch.

  18. Bob Anderson has produced some of the best wrestlers in this country. One of his students, Saia worked with me for years to make me into a great wrestler…now I'm passing on that skill set to my friend Ryan who is a purple belt in jiu jitsu. Small 🌎

  19. Sabio Santos was a student of Rolls until his passing and is currently my instructor. It's good to see Rolls getting some recognition. It seems like he was never really talked about publicly. Not sure why. I thank the Grace Family for bringing this life-changing sport to me and my BJJ brethren here in America.

  20. So the gracies had a top wrestler in their backyard, and wanted to start sparring on the ground? So much for wanting to gain extra knowledge in learning takedowns. Maia, ortega, kron gracie, jacare souza have all come up short because not getting the fight to the ground.

  21. He wasn't practicing jiu jitsu but trying to show his bitch that he was more macho Bob .
    Probably she was looking at the blue eyes with lust and this resulted in his challenge ,not sport.
    You need to know the psyche of these people.
    The key to their mind just like McGregor did to Dildo ,no ,Also.

  22. Oh really Bob taught Rolls the key lock/ Americana and learnt it from catch wrestling? Bob seems like a great guy but the Gyaku ude garami (Reverse arm entanglement) is a very old judo aka jujitsu technique. Most likely taught to the wrestlers.


    Seems like the Brazilians only learnt basic judo/Jiu-Jitsu from Maeda because it was only later that they learnt the Americana and Kimura (Ude garami) l

  23. This was an amazing story….I am bless to currently be training underneath Igor Gracie for the [ast 5 years, what tremendous benefits I've gleaned.

  24. Folks haven't a clue. .love the old schoolers ..i remember this from back in the day most don't know just how long this and well basically BJJ MMA has truly been around ..not out in the open at least but . the real fight clubs .and underground..THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR PART IN THE REAL WORLD OF WRESTLING.AMAZING STORY..LOST FOLKS ON THE AIRPLANE CRASH OF THE U.S. BOXERS.. MY BEST FRIEND WAS SET TO FIGHT .BUT INSTEAD TURNED IT DOWN AND WENT STRAIGHT TO PRO OR HE WOULD OF BEEN ONE OF THEM..LET THOSE YOU LOVE KNOW SO .ITS NEVER A WRONG TIME ..BUT COULD BE THE LAST..

  25. Rolls Gracie also trained (Luta Livre) in the famous Brunoscilla Academy in Rio, along with Carlson Gracie, Luta livre is very similar to wrestling and Greco-romana, just a brazilian name for it.

  26. What a great rich history of American wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and friendship! I find the Brazilian people to be very nice people in general.

  27. So how come the military doesnt strictly train in bjj if it works so well? Asking a fair question. No haters please. All I see is full focus on 1 v 1. But how does that translate when its not a specific setting and its multiple guys on multiple guys with no rules like real life? R they all gonna, "brawl" per say willingly rolling around on the ground?

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