Kristian Woodmansee: ‘ADCC is light years ahead of IBJJF’

Kristian Woodmansee is a well-respected voice in the jiu-jitsu community. A black belt under Andre Galvao, Woodmansee was a 2018 IBJJF Pans no-gi champion and a no-gi Worlds bronze medalist, and now operates Logic Jiu-Jitsu in Philadelphia, PA.

Although he is now retired from competition, Woodmansee was an extremely active, high-level competitor from about 2012 when he won no-gi Pans as a brown belt, until his final match at Fight To Win in 2020. Through that experience, he has witnessed major changes in sport jiu-jitsu — specifically, the explosion of no-gi and submission-only jiu-jitsu as a spectator sport.

Woodmansee recently appeared on the Open Guardcast and touched on a wide variety of topics, from obtaining sponsors (Woodmansee was sponsored by Panda Express long before Andrew Wiltse), the differences between East and West Coast jiu-jitsu, and Gordon Ryan.

Notably, Woodmansee spoke about the growing divide between gi and no-gi jiu-jitsu, and what he believes the ADCC is doing right when compared to the IBJJF.

Woodmansee believes that, in general, gi jiu-jitsu is not spectator friendly. But under the right circumstances and with the right competitors, gi jiu-jitsu can be entertaining:

If you want to have gi jiu-jitsu be entertaining, it comes down to stylistic and who’s fighting… I think gi jiu-jitsu is very traditional but I think the people that are promoting it enjoy that tradition so it’s not growing and evolving — in terms of the pay structure, the rules, length of matches, where the matches are held, etc. To where ADCC is very modernized…

Given the choice between the ADCC and the IBJJF, Woodmansee strongly favors the ADCC:

ADCC is light years ahead of IBJJF. In every comparison, that is the way that I believe it is. Other than the ability, not that I care, them testing, because Worlds is going to test people for PEDs and ADCC is going to not and almost borderline encourage it. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, then that’s awkward. For me, everyone is on it so you just do what you need to do. I don’t really know what to do with the gi. It’s just too tough, it’s too traditional, and I don’t know if that’s ever going to change.

Still, Woodmansee finds himself in a predicament. He may not want to support the IBJJF, but he must in order for his students to be able to compete:

I think [the ADCC is] doing way more for the sport than IBJJF. IBJJF just sends me an email asking me to pay for something… There’s really nothing beyond that they do for the community. And 90 percent of what they do is just kind of a joke. I think it’s tough because you kind of don’t want to support it, but at the same time, you’re like ‘cool, how do I go about this?’ Because if my students want to compete and I don’t support it, then my students can’t compete because I don’t do my IBJJF stuff. It’s a weird world we live in, and I hope it changes.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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