Sfist has steered clear of Santa Cruz ever since we heard the fictional city of Santa Clarita was based on Santa Cruz. But this weekend, you're far more likely to say that something you never could stomach about Santa Cruz is all the damn martial artists, as The U.S. Open IX Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament comes to town.
Jiu-Jitsu is not the most thriling spectator sport ever (in fact, we've been known to describe it as "boring"), as it's basically wrestling that gets nasty. Originally a Japanese art revolving around joint locks, it was modified by Carlos Gracie in the mid-1920s. The art gained greater prominence in the 1990s with the advent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a competition in which experts in different martial arts were pitted against one another with very few rules. Royce Gracie (a descendant of Carlos) was dominant in the early years of the UFC, bringing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu message to the masses.