Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thesis Wednesday: Evolve or Die

Been listening a loooooot to the Inside BJJ podcast.
I recently got an Iphone thanks to my birthday/account upgrade and a world of information has opened up to me.
I've been able to take photos, videos at the gym, and also listen to the above mentioned Inside BJJ Podcast while driving to/from work and to/from my morning workouts.

Been listening to a variety of grappling personalities from Samir Chantre to Fabio Gurgel to Lloyd Irvin to Crosley Gracie et cetera. A variety of topics have come up from refereeing to decisions, to pulling guard to well, everything.

It's interesting to hear someone like Fabio Gurgel talk about stalling back in the 90's and how there was no knee reaping rule back then.

I thought about Jiu-Jitsu and the complaints about the pulling guard to 50/50 remind me a lot of what strikes me as old Judo players talking about this mythical age when every throw was from standing, and there wasn't an over-reliance on grip fighting.
There will always be trends in the sport, as players look to maximize their ability to win within the given set of rules.

The sport, by proxy must change over time.
Judo's failure in the US derives partly from it's non-profit mentality and its inability to recognize ways to cannibalize the after school/kids market.
BJJ's failure as a spectator sport stems in part from rules which incentivize guard pulling.
In Judo they had the smallest point, a Koka, which meant players would ride out the smallest point to victory.
In sport Jiu-Jitsu, we now have the advantage. Players will ride out the Pans or Mundials with an advantage, or flail about for a foot lock looking to the referee imploring for an advantage by which they can call themselves world champion.

Closing your mind to the 50/50 completely, and deriding it as sport-specific is just the ostrich sticking its head in the sand. I don't intend to say that we should all learn 50/50 and play just that for years to come. But closing your eyes to it entirely is simply ignoring the world changing around you.
I feared having an Iphone b/c of having to be engaged in the world at large b/c I feared my ability to disconnect from the matrix once I had a laptop computer basically in my hand.
I didn't hate the Iphone b/c of what it was.
I hated the Iphone b/c I thought I might be too weak to control how I used it.

Fear and Ignorance are always the enemies of change.
If you listen to guys talk about Rolles Gracie, one of the things they always say is he looked to other grappling styles to import elements into the framework of Jiu-Jitsu. They also remark this is what made him one of if not the best.

Rorion Gracie reminds me of a Jiu-Jitsu personality who has tried to freeze time.
The Japanese Jiu-Jitsu clubs that do not roll live are much the same.
They want to block out anything that does not coincide with their specific interpretation of rules and form.

Jiu-Jitsu only exists b/c someone decided to focus on the ground fighting aspect of Judo.
Judo before that only existed b/c Kano went around to various schools and studied different styles of grappling/Jiu-Jitsu and incorporated different schools' styles of throwing and the like.

You can block out the change, you can characterize it however you want, but you are only ignoring the change all around you.
And eventually, like the kung-fu and karate fighters who still pretend they don't need to know how to grapple, they are simply relics of a bygone age relegated to obscurity and irrelevance.

If you fear wrestlers, or Judo players, or you're a Judo player who derides mat work b/c you fear being tapped out, and this becomes the impetus to withdraw from grappling at other clubs or going outside your comfort have already died on the mat. You have placed a limit on how far you will grow on the mat.

And that is sad.
Straight up sad.

Change is the only constant.
Evolve or die.

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