What is Vale Tudo?

What is Vale Tudo?

Translated literally from Portuguese, Vale Tudo indicates “Anything Goes” in a competitive combat sport setting. At first glance this may seem more alarming than it actually is, with the phrase “anything goes” referring to the absence of restrictions on hand to hand fighting style and technique with no holds barred.

Essentially, there is the smallest ruleset that restricts the fighters’ in technique in Vale Tudo when compared to other combat sport competition formats. For instance, in Boxing kicking or grappling techniques are not permitted, only striking with the frontal part of the fist. “Anything goes” in the sense of style and types of techniques used. For the safety of competitors, eye gouging and other permanently damaging techniques would fall under the gentlemen's agreement to not do such things. Though even in the early Vale Tudo fights competitors would sometimes still push the limits of not tapping, and end up with broken limbs or unconscious in a strangle.

What is the best way to negotiate an encounter where “anything goes”? Which styles and techniques would be able to handle the diversity of attacks that may occur in a fight or self defense scenario. The answer is clear. Muay thai in the neutral standing position paired with wrestling and jiu jitsu if the fight transitions to the ground. With mastery of these martial arts, a person is able to effectively handle nearly all scenarios that may arise in hand to hand combat. Even in modern MMA events it is clear which martial arts style are most proficient in both defense and attack. Even in the most anticipated bouts between skilled MMA champions we see many of the same techniques being utilized that have been passed down for many years in Brazil. New and innovative techniques will come and go, but the foundation of Vale Tudo will always remain the same.



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