dimanche 6 février 2011

The Politics of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I started this blog a year ago today to follow my journey as a white belt learning the art I`ve come to love. (I`ve been training 1.5 years now) In the last 365 days, the page has been viewed over 7000 times. Not exactly something that will be listed in top google trends, but hopefully those who`ve been reading have enjoyed it so far.

Today, I figured I`d get on my soapbox and give my opinion on the politics of BJJ. It should be noted that this is my own point of view and mine alone.

Sudbury is a small city and Jiu Jitsu is a sport which is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the popularity of mixed martial arts and the UFC in particular. As more people train, more clubs are bound to open their doors for business.

I`ve heard some clubs state they don`t play into politics and their members can train wherever they want and the business model behind the club doesnt matter etc because it`s for a love of the sport. What I find funny is that it`s members of these clubs who are the first to talk trash about other clubs and the level of instruction that may or may not be given at another club.

The reality of the situation is that if a person hasn`t trained at a specific club, they don`t know what the instruction is like and really don`t have a leg to stand on when critisizing the competition. There are then the grapplers who`ve trained at different clubs and then moved on to others. My question is why did they leave in the first place? Some may have had legitimate reasons, but for the mostpart, it usually always comes down to differences in personality (which is putting it lightly) or the member wasn`t able to pay their membership fees etc.

Then there is loyalty to your team. There are people who believe that you should be able to train at any club, at any time. These are people who see BJJ as an individual sport. They don`t recognize the team atmosphere which is imbeded into the culture of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. These people seem to think that if a club takes that approach, it`s a negative thing. My suggestion to those who share this view would be to look at the people at the root of our sport/art. If you were to go to Brazil, do members of Gracie Barra train with members of Nova Uniao? Do any of them cross-train with members of Alliance? I`m by no means an expert here, but I`m thinking the answer is no.

Why should it be any different in Canada? There is a team atmosphere in BJJ and that should be respected. But sometimes I hear grumblings from people who want to train "anywhere they want" that this is "politics". My view is that these guys just don`t get it.

At any rate, I`ll just leave it at that for now. Be proud of your club, train hard but smart. Help your training partners improve their game. This in turn will certainly help yours. Lastly, don`t worry about what other clubs are doing. Let them say what they want to say. Concern yourself with being ready to smash them on the mat when it comes time to compete. The medals on our walls speak for themselves.

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