Friday, 5 August 2016

BJJ Drama!

Hi all

I'd like to share with you a recent experience that occurred in my Taekwondo dojang. I was carrying out my role as assistant instructor for the junior class, as I have been since 2012. I always take to this role with great enthusiasm as it brings great joy to me seeing the young students lives improve. Being an assistant instructor, I do not have complete control over how the students are taught and how the school operates. This does not bother me as much as it used too. I do not own this business but I am grateful to have the influence I do, which at the moment seems to be increasing because my instructor will have had 3 significant operations during 2016. Yet, he is trying to manage the school in the best way he can under his current circumstances. If he can make it to class, his instruction is delivered almost exclusively via verbal means. I feel sympathetic towards him and I'm also inspired by his soldiering on mentality.

In 2015, a BJJ club opened up directly next door from my Taekwondo school. Now, I am well aware that styles are "not the gospel truth", as Bruce Lee would say. Styles are simply guidelines, nothing more. As an aspirant of Martial Art's most purest form, the formless form that is found within, I understand that no system is the complete truth and that by relying solely on system, practitioners will never unlock their full potential. However, as a provider of martial education through the guideline of Taekwondo, I feel I have to know this system technically, politically, historically and esoterically. Furthermore, an inevitable trait that we will display as human beings that practice Martial Art is our preferences regarding the systematic guidelines practiced by communities. BJJ is one of my most disliked expressions of the communal guidelines.

My reasons for not liking BJJ are fairly strait forward. I think the self defence is pretty good, providing there is no concrete ground with stones on it to roll around on when self defence is required. The system does well in the joint locking department; however, subduing an assailant whilst sacrificing mobility is seriously unacceptable in street combat. When defending ones self in the streets, on must always be prepared in the moment to react accordingly to unforeseen threats, such as multiple assailants that the defender may not initially be aware of. Basically, one should never voluntarily be off their feet during street combat.

The dangers BJJ methods pose to a combatant in real street combat are of a high potentiality. Not only this, but strategically rolling around with other people; the fact that you are within a close proximity to someone for prolonged periods of time is very undignified as you are deprived of personal space. Disliking such physical intrusion is not displaying homophobia, it is simply a basic human right to have personal space, to have fresh air to breathe, to be covered in your own workout sweat, not somebody else's. Being constantly exposed to other people's bodily fluid such as work out sweat is a very unhygienic means of physical practice as you are constantly being exposed to bacteria and/or viruses your training partner may not even know they are carrying. This is statistically indicated in BJJ's high prevalence of ring worm and cauliflower ear.

Although you will find people who are under the illusion that they are superior to everyone else wherever you go, communal expressions including Kyokushin Karate, Mauy Thai, MMA and of cause BJJ seen to have general tendencies in which they display superiority complexes. I will not explain why I believe this is at this time, though I will state that it is a very unattractive and off putting trait that tends to indicate spiritual regression too me. This has been my impression of BJJ for many years now. This impression has now been further affirmed by my recent meeting with next doors BJJ school. I did not go to them, rather they came to me, all of them.

This brings me to the events that sparked my desire to write this post. It was like any other Thursday nights junior class. My instructor was taking higher ranking students through sparring exercises whilst I was monitoring yellow belts as they were wrestling on their knees. Although I'm not a big fan of the wrestling exercises (which is co-curricular in our school) we teach the juniors, they seem to enjoy it. I suspect this is what caught the attention of the BJJ people. One moment I'm instructing the kids in their wrestling activity, then I turn my head and to my disbelief, the entire BJJ school had moved into our dojang without any announcement. About half of our training space was now taken up by loud, thick, colourful uniforms. They wore a plethora of badges and advertising on their white, blue and black Gi's with white belts, they had it all. They have obviously come a long way from plane white uniforms to symbolise purity of spirit and intent. Their instructor is from Brazil and has won many high level Brazilian Ju Jitsu tournaments. He approached my instructor and said "I can see you are doing ground work. You should not be doing Brazilian Ju Jitsu because we do it across the hall. Why don't you teach my students Brazilian Ju Jitsu and I teach your students Taekwondo? Or how about we show you how effective Brazilian Ju Jitsu is; your students [most were under 10] vs my students." After all that, he said "How about we teach you some Brazilian Ju Jitsu and you teach us some Taekwondo and we can become friends!". My instructor explained that the yellow belts were just going through a kiddy drill and that we have our own things to work on. My instructor politely asked them to leave, which took a while. They said that we both practice martial arts and that they want to become friends. I found this hard to believe because his students standing close to him were smirking and the ones standing further away were either rolling their eyes or just looked disinterested. The instructor didn't sound genuine to me, almost sarcastic. I looked around at the parents of the juniors and they were not happy. Some of them were even red in the face. It took a lot of talking from my instructor to get the BJJ people to leave, which eventually they did.

After class, one of our students, a blue belt, came to me and asked: "Ben, seriously, what was that all about?". This student is clever, but sometimes to clever for his own good. To answer him accurately would mean I would need to touch on the socio-cultural and political aspects of martial art communal expressions, which I couldn't do in a timely manner that he would understand at that time. I told him to just leave it and move on. I also spoke with one of the kids parents who I work with. He told me he thought it was absolutely disgraceful that the BJJ people intruded to make a showy appearance during the children's class. Afterwards, at least 3 parents filed in complaints about the BJJ school to the head office in the sports centre.

Some who read this may think that I'm being a bit hard/ridged, ultra traditional and closed minded against these BJJ people. The facts however remain that they interrupted the learning time of our students and barged into our dojang without even knocking. If they were respectful then they would have respected the fact that a children's class was operating and made their proposal to my instructor before or after class as to not interrupt the flow of learning, or even over the phone. It would have taken only one person to make the proposal, not the entire school. I'm not against the cross pollination of martial knowledge between schools. Currently, I am formally studying 3 different systems at 3 very different schools. It's the way in which these BJJ people carried out their questionable proposition that was very dishonourable and disrespectful. I would say the same if it were any other communal expression.

I haven't written about BJJ before because the system just doesn't interest me for reasons explained above. In a way though, I'm glad it happened, regardless of wether the experience was positive or negative. Before this, I hadn't met BJJ practitioners in person so all I had to go off was what I had seen on the internet when forming an opinion on the communal expression. Through this real life experience, my opinion of what BJJ practitioners can typically be like has been confirmed; they were extremely outgoing with a real underlying superiority complex. Although I'm sure there are humble BJJ practitioners in this world. It certainly added a bit of excitement to life.

What are your thoughts of this recent experience of mine?


  1. BJJ people need to mind their own business and work on their art or training or whatever. Majority of BJJ practitioners need to work on their personal development and throw the belief of being superior amongst everyone else and viewing everyone else as inferiors out their system.

    From what I heard about BJJ, the founder only wanted it to make it effective in self defence, as effective as the other arts, because back then BJJ was looked down and it wasn't popular as karate. I don't think the true intention of the founder was to make it the "best" - meaning making it above all arts and making all arts useless compare to it, because that is ignorant and is not what a true master and founder of his art is. One of the masters or I think the founder himself challenged martial artists of different discipline in a sparring match to show that BJJ is not ineffective. I'm sure people (traditional martial arts practitioners) have a problem w/ BJJ and MMA fighter, and that is correct because of their over-confidence display. But there are a minor group of individual that do label themselves as BJJ and MMA fighters that are humble and way beyond these mainstream fighters. There is no such thing as the the most effective method of fighting or combat. Everything has it's limitation. The method or technique is not what matters, what matters is the individual. I'm sure that the founder or master that was dominating the sparring challenge was not because of his method, but because of himself and his hard work and determination.

    I don't want to criticise by saying that all MMA fighters and BJJ practitioners are arrogant knuckle heads because that is just ignorant. It's like saying all Muslisms are terrorists, all asians are bad drivers, all blacks are thugs all whites are racist and the lists goes on. Screw Holywood and screw the majority of BJJ practitioners that think they are badass because of their "art".

    The BJJ guys in your town need to go back and learn the basics, when I say basics I mean basis of their philosophy. They need to work on becoming the greater version of themselves and n0t greater than everyone else, because they great enemy is found within yourself. (that was not suppose to rhyme intentionally)

    1. Thanks for your amazing comment man! I agree with everything you said, espesially the part about these BJJ people needing to get back to the absorlute basics;such as humility and integraty. Masters such as Wong Kiew Kit, and practioners like myself consider moral purity to be a prerequisite for any combative trainng. I love your last sentence here. It pretty much summerises what practicing Martial Art, regardless of system, is all about in essance.

  2. Pretty interesting stuff, form what I read it seems like this BJJ practitioners think they own the ground fighting. When in reality ground fighting has been there for a long time, and definitely for people interested in learning real self defense one has to take in consideration methods of ground fighting designed for the streets, weapons and multiple assailants. I think that there are several practitioners of BJJ who are humble, it's mostly the gracies who I feel have this air of superiority, they infact say that BJJ is the best martial art, and that everyone, whether you are a cop, a soldier, a marine, and civilian should learn BJJ for self defense, which in my opinion is absolutely ridiculous, there have been many other systems designed by true experts in real combat and warfare that have been tested and proven effective. The only reason why I would learn anything BJJ related (infact I attended a BJJ school for awhile) is to have a deeper understanding of their techniques and how they think, that's what bruce lee sort of did, he studied several martial arts to know their strengths and weaknesses so that he knows how to counter them in case a confrontation occurred. Imo with the increasing popularity of MMA (basically MMA is muay thai, BJJ wrestling and some boxing), people assume that that's how you really fight in the streets, but even MMA proffesional fighters have been shown to be noneffective in real combat as I remember a case where a professional ufc fighter touched a girl inappropriately at a store and he was with another ufc friend, next thing you know four guys come rushing in, and start a fight, ufc fighters go outside and get knocked out with sticks. Of course a professional fighter who trains eight hours a day has far more of a chance at surviving a real street fight, than an average person. But anyways I digress.It's interesting you had this experience and where able to meet other people who train in combat from a different perspective than yours, and you were able to see the differences between different schools of martial art, also I think it's cool they do some sort of wrestling drills and seems to want to keep the real art of TKD alive, where I live it's mostly about competition and point sparring and honestly, it's lame. That's not martial arts.

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