Re: So I took a Judo class today...
Gracie JJ was just a cunning way to rebadge Judo newaza. If an Olympic Judoka focused on his newaza he would be equally match to the so called Gracie JJ (Judo) as seen by Yoshida in his matches with Gracie.
Rebadging martial arts and calling them your own is a good way to make money and start a school.
Gracie was great at what he did - for a guy as small as him to take on bigger fighters and win was amazing. Its not street self defense though to sandbag and wrap someone up on the pavement unless you want a kick in head.
Geoff Thompson is probably the best self defece specialist I have seen and he doesnt even involve martial arts at all in his talks.