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Tau
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Article: Obersations on BJJ, from a Pragmatist's Perspective

Here's a link to my recently published article in Conflict Manager magazine in which I discuss my observation on Brazilian Jiujutsu. I hope it's of interest. Note that the emphasis is on pragmatism

https://conflictmanagermagazine.com/observations-on-brazilian-jiujutsu-from-a-pragmatists-perspective-peter-jones/

Paul_D
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That was a great article, great read, honest and informative, thank you for sharing.

Anf
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An interesting read. To be honest it makes me feel less bad about judging it without first trying it. It's not the first time I've come across similar analyses. At some point I'll be looking to add in some ground skills to my repertoire. I considered BJJ but apart from the 'attitude' I get from BJJ players, I'm largely put off by the endless spiel that all fights end up on the ground, and BJJ is the only style proven to be effective (in the ring, against a single unarmed opponent, with rules) etc. To that end, I've decided that when I have some spare time and energy to add in another style for a while, I'm going to go and see the local judo guys.

Tau
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Anf wrote:
At some point I'll be looking to add in some ground skills to my repertoire. I considered BJJ but apart from the 'attitude' I get from BJJ players, I'm largely put off by the endless spiel that all fights end up on the ground, and BJJ is the only style proven to be effective (in the ring, against a single unarmed opponent, with rules) etc. To that end, I've decided that when I have some spare time and energy to add in another style for a while, I'm going to go and see the local judo guys.

Interesting.

My feeling is it's less about the "label" be BJJ or Judo and more about the class emphasis. If your desire was pragmatism you may find yourself frustrated at a Sport Karate class! I wouldn't advocate either BJJ or Judo over the other, but I would seek classes that address your specific need. I intend taking up BJJ again when I've finished my Masters degree but I'll be looking for a class that fits my desires rather than the nearest or the one that's recommended.

deltabluesman
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Tau,

Thanks for sharing this article.  It sounds like you made the right choice by leaving that particular club.  The injury rate alone is a major red flag for me.  If that many guys are injured that often, I'd wager that the culture's off.

I'm traveling this week, so I wasn't able to read your article as carefully as I would have liked, but I'll throw out a few quick comments.  Apologies if I end up repeating something you already said.  

Almost all of my experience is in no-gi grappling.  I don't hold rank in BJJ and don't want to hold myself out as an expert.  But I frequently train with BJJ guys who are nothing like what you've described.  In fact, my current school has a lot of BJJ guys in their 40's and 50's who are still going strong, relatively injury-free.  So I would encourage people who are thinking about grappling to at least check around and see if there might be a school in the area that has a friendly culture.  As you say, it's less about the label and more about the class emphasis.

I travel a lot for work and I sometimes drop in on BJJ gyms in different cities.  It's purely anecdotal evidence, but I've always been welcomed and I've never been injured by a BJJ practitioner when visiting a new school.  I usually find them to be calm, skilled grapplers who focus more on technique than on powering through things with strength or athleticism.  Of course, there are always exceptions.          

Having said that, it's good to make people aware of these potential problems, so they can notice it early (while they're vetting gyms).  Grappling of any kind is hard on the elbows, lower back, and shoulders, but an endless stream of significant injuries is a major red flag for anyone.  Even if someone is dead-set on becoming a high-level sport BJJ competitor, it makes no sense for them to tolerate that many injuries in training, because it will just shortcut their competition career down the line.

One other thing I'll throw out there: a lot of BJJ guys believe that you MUST train at least three days a week (preferably five days a week) in order to gain any benefit whatsoever from the art.  They'll suggest that you're just wasting your time if you try to train less frequently than that.  In my humble experience, this is simply not true.  Someone who grapples once a week consistently for four years will be a much, much, much better grappler at the end of that time span than he or she was at the start, and a very dangerous opponent indeed for an untrained opponent.  Once I rejected the notion that I had to be in the gym all the time to make my training worthwhile, it really made it much easier for me to strike a balance between cross-training/work life/weightlifting/grappling.  Life became much better for me.    

You mentioned in your last post that you're thinking of coming back to grappling once you finish your postgraduate degree.  I also took several years off from grappling while I went back to school (and also for some other reasons).  When I came back to it, I found a renewed interest in it, and believe it or not, I found that I hadn't deteriorated that much.  I had forgotten all of the "fluff" techniques that I never really needed, but the bread-and-butter basics came back to me quickly.  The hardest part was just regaining my grappling-specific conditioning.

Again, just a few quick comments to add to the discussion.  I'm a recreational grappler these days, not an instructor or serious athlete. 

--J  

Mark Powell
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Peter, That is both brilliant and hilarious!

I laughed so hard I've probably caused myself internal injuries.

Thanks mate!

Tau
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deltabluesman wrote:
Thanks for sharing this article.  It sounds like you made the right choice by leaving that particular club.  The injury rate alone  ... SNIP

Thanks for your considered response. I take your points on board entirely and don't disagree. The club wasn't unfriendly but I was frustrated at the method of teaching. I put it down to a different culture of BJJ over the "traditional" arts that I've otherwise studied. Now I look back, and especially in light of your words, I wonder if that's the case.

What's been interesting with this article is that the majority of responders have agreed with the majority of what I've said. Where you often get Keyboard Warriors wading in actually I've been pleasently surprised that in every case of disagreement it's been respectful and considered. That way we all gain from it.