Below is an excerpt from the Fightland Blog which examines how BJJ has changed over the years and speculates on which directions is may evolve. The full article may be read here.
The Coming Division: Will Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Give Birth to New Martial Arts?
Either Brazilian jiu jitsu will reproduce new styles of martial art or it will continue to exist as a single combat sport, with disparate competition rule sets, the way Wrestling does. With the current state of jiu jitsu variety, simply saying one has a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu isn’t as descriptive as it was in the early 90’s. For the purposes of this article, I will oversimplify something that, for now, defies neat compartmentalization; I will describe what I see are the three basic modes of Brazilian jiu jitsu today.
In doing so, I acknowledge that this is based on my own limited and biased experiences with the art, in Florida and Southern California. I also acknowledge that the naming of these “modes” is problematic, as there is considerable overlap between all of them. Jiu jitsu styles are as varied and numerous as the people who practice it. Every jiu jitsu practitioner has a unique style, based on personality, aesthetics and physical aptitude. Nevertheless, the basic generalizations required to describe the current state of jiu jitsu work for the purposes of this article.
I agree with the expected rebuttal that it’s all jiu jitsu, “one flag” and a common lifestyle; but it won’t always stay that way. Nothing on Earth lasts forever; nothing living is free from the requirement of evolution; that which mutates and reproduces into varieties will thrive. Nothing stunts the development of life, intellectual or biological, the way inbreeding will; when a philosophical family tree takes the form of a double helix, falsehoods and imperfections linger in the gene pool of ideas.
As things stand today, I see three main modes or ideologies of Brazilian jiu jitsu, each having the potential to become a distinct martial art: first-wave jiu jitsu, second-wave jiu jitsu and third-wave jiu jitsu.