5 Ways Tye And Kade Ruotolo Are Revolutionizing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Now 19 years old and both proud owners of BJJ black belts under Andre Galvao, the grappling superstars are fully living up to the hype – and then some.
Not only are the Ruotolos winning practically everything in sight – both are undefeated inside the Circle and Kade holds the ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title – but they are also revolutionizing jiu-jitsu with their firebrand approach.
Next, both brothers will be in action at ONE on Prime Video 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin, as Kade defends his belt against multiple-time BJJ World Champion Matheus Gabriel and Tye squares off with former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov in a lightweight submission grappling showdown.
Before those highly anticipated contests on Friday, December 2, let’s take a closer at how the Ruotolos are transforming BJJ from the inside out.
#1 Their Submission-Hunting Mindset
More than anything else, the phenoms from California are known for their ferocious pursuit of submissions.
Whereas other grapplers might look to pass guard and cruise to a decision victory, the Ruotolos are never satisfied with a win on points. Instead, they are happy to risk losing position if it means finding a fight-ending finish.
This ultra-aggressive approach is both fan-friendly and highly effective.
Kade tapped each of his four opponents en route to becoming the youngest-ever ADCC World Champion earlier this year, and he followed that up with a sensational submission victory over Uali Kurzhev at ONE on Prime Video 3 to capture ONE’s lightweight submission grappling crown.
#2 The Buggy Choke
Beyond their overall approach to grappling, the Ruotolos are revolutionizing BJJ by developing specific techniques that are now popular among the world’s most elite competitors.
And perhaps no technique has had a greater impact on modern jiu-jitsu than the buggy choke.
It’s a unique submission because it’s typically applied from bottom side control – a non-dominant position. For their part, the Ruotolos are changing the game by finding success with the buggy choke against world-class grapplers.
The move is giving guard passers pause, as they know that an otherwise safe position is now unsafe. Meanwhile, bottom players have a new weapon at their disposal, thanks to the creative minds of the Ruotolo brothers.
#3 The Leg Pin Passing System
Kade and Tye’s trademark leg pin guard passing has had an equally large impact on BJJ.
Using their incredible balance honed through years of surfing, the Ruotolos employ this technique by standing on their opponent’s leg to immobilize it, thereby opening up a lane to complete the guard pass.
Both brothers utilize the leg pin to great success, earning them a reputation as two of the most dangerous guard passers on the planet.
Other top grapplers have taken note, implementing the same system at the highest levels of the sport.
#4 They Still Compete In The Gi
After winning everything under the sun while wearing the colored belts, the Ruotolos are showing that they can continue to train and compete in the gi (also known as a kimono) and still find success against truly elite no-gi competitors.
Indeed, just a few weeks after Tye made his sensational ONE Championship debut at ONE 157, submitting BJJ and MMA superstar Garry Tonon, the 19-year-old placed second at the IBJJF World Championships – the most prestigious gi tournament of the year.
As they continue to practice in the gi, the Ruotolos are pushing back against the idea that to succeed in no-gi competition, grapplers must shed the uniform.
#5 They Are Growing The Sport With Their Own Gym
Perhaps most importantly, the twin phenoms are investing back into the jiu-jitsu community.
With both brothers taking home US$50,000 performance bonuses in their most recent outings, they are now in a position to break ground on their very own BJJ gym in the tropical paradise of Costa Rica.
By opening such a facility, the Ruotolos are paving the way for other competitors who are finally reaping the financial rewards of their work, setting a precedent that investing back into BJJ is the best way to grow the sport on a global scale.