It recently came to light that Nicky Rodriguez has managed to encourage his younger brother Jacob to start training in BJJ and after only six weeks of training, the younger Rodriguez went 2-2 in a Grappling Industries advanced division. Grappling is a family affair for the Rodriguez brothers, and they’re not alone. BJJ is full of brothers and sisters who have managed to reach the highest levels of the sport together, often encouraging each other to higher levels than they might have reached alone. Here are the best siblings we’ve seen in BJJ:
The Gracie Family
This one is pretty obvious really, the Gracie family are literally synonymous with Jiu-Jitsu at this point. The art itself started with Mitsuyo Maeda teaching the first generation of the Gracie family; Carlos, Oswaldo, George, Gastao Jr., and of course Helio. Since then, the family has branched out massively with several of them having many more children than the average person, resulting in several groups of Jiu-Jitsu siblings. Perhaps the most famous are Helio’s nine children that include Royce, Royler, Rickson, Relson, and Rorion.
The Machado Brothers
The five Machado brothers are actually related to the Gracies, as their Aunt was married to Carlos Gracie, making them cousins of Carlos Gracie Jr. and his siblings. All five brothers have achieved big things in the sport and between them have conquered every major BJJ competition, with Rigan and Jean-Jacques being the most successful. Jean-Jacques, along with his brothers John and Roger, have reached the level of 7th degree black belt, while Rigan was recently joined by Carlos Machado as an 8th degree black belt in the sport. All five continue to teach and the spread the art to all the areas of the world they can.
The Ribeiro Brothers
Saulo and Xande Ribeiro took the BJJ world by storm and have both have left their marks on the community in different ways. Saulo recorded a feat that still hasn’t been equaled when he won IBJJF World Championships in five different weightclasses across his career, shortly before he wrote what is still the best book on BJJ techniques over a decade later: Jiu-Jitsu University. Xande has won more World Championships than Saulo and competed over a longer timeframe, with his most notable achievement being that he has only had his guard passed twice in his lengthy career.
The Mendes Brothers
Rafael and Guilherme Mendes have won ten IBJJF World Championships between them, with Rafael being the slightly more successful brother. Across his career, Rafael had an epic fourteen match rivalry with another of the biggest names in BJJ, Rubens Charles “Cobrinha”, a rivalry that he would end up winning decisively. They both retired from competition relatively young and together, the brothers founded the Art of Jiu-Jitsu academy in 2012, being responsible for one of the most incredible children’s programs in the sport. Just recently, they’ve had their first generation of black belts begin to graduate and already dominate the sport.
The Miyao Twins
Paulo and Joao Miyao are both still competing at the very highest levels of the sport, with Paulo having won an ADCC bronze medal just last year and Joao earning a silver medal at the IBJJF World Championships in the same year. They were recognised on their rise through the ranks as they won every major IBJJF tournament from blue to brown belt and didn’t disappoint when they entered the highest level. They remained incredibly prolific competitors and have both medaled at every single major IBJJF tournament, picking up over 200 wins each at the black belt level along the way.
Tammi and Mikey Musumeci
The Musumeci siblings both came up under a variety of different instructors and have developed into incredibly successful competitors despite still being pretty young, Tammi at 26 and Mikey at 24. They’ve both won four IBJJF World Championships already and have established themselves as the best American competitors in the lighter weight-classes comfortably. They’ve regularly trained under some of the greatest minds in the sport like Caio Terra, Gilbert Burns and the Mendes brothers, improving their BJJ skills every step of the way, and still have plenty of time to add to their medal collection.
The Future of BJJ Brothers and Sisters
There are plenty of Jiu-Jitsu siblings that are only just starting to break through in America. While Nicky Rodriguez and Gordon Ryan have both established themselves at the top of the no gi grappling scene, Jacob Rodriguez has only just started competing and Nicky Ryan has yet to medal at the highest levels. ATOS also have their own twins as Kade and Tye Ruotolo have started to make waves in submission-only matches long before they were even promoted to Brown Belt last month.
Back in Brazil, the three Munis brothers have also been promoted to black belt recently and Erich has already started defeating big names, with Anderson and Alex sure to follow suit soon. The future of Jiu-Jitsu is safe in the hands of some young stars and it appears that one thing will always remain the same, BJJ is a family sport.
Martial arts is fighting. Grappling is just a part of it. Similar to the old argument that a boxer can beat and MMA fighter boxing in the ring. True, but meaningless.