14 Apr 2009

Lucre Livre

Money. It makes the world go round and helps pay the rent. We all need it, and there's never enough. In BJJ, money is a subject that gets discussed a lot. As a massively growing sport and hobby, it is inevitable that this increase is accompanied by more opportunities to make a living.

Like a lot of amateur sports and hobbies, a whole industry is supported by 99.9 percent of people buying expensive products and paying for equipment that help fuel their dreams of becoming a Mundials champ. Of course they (me included) never will in a million years, but somehow, paying for stuff makes you feel like you are adding to your abilities.

Take BJJ uniforms for example. Old footage of the Gracies shows that they simply wore crappy old judo gis as their uniform. Fast forward today and there are a zillion gi manufacturers, all claiming to offer something special that will help your game. Meerkatsu favourite gi manufacturer - Faixa Rua - is famous for taking this selling mantle to it's humorous extreme by claiming their gis actually help you obtain a 'clock choke' in a real street fight. But in reality, you could progress just as well wearing a crappy old judo gi (NB: no offence to judo, just saying that you can buy really really cheap judo uniforms).

Despite the new wealth that BJJ brings some people, it is still pretty hard to make a living as an instructor and even harder as a top-level competitor. Sure, sponsorship helps, as do academy and seminar fees. But doing tournaments is an expensive business, with flights, accomodation, transport, food, entry fee etc, all for the glory of...a medal, not even a cash prize.

So eyebrows were raised ever so slightly higher than normal among the BJJ top brass when it was announced that there would be a BJJ gi-only tournament that would offer the winners $7,000 in cash, plus, winners of their respective regional trials would have all their expenses to the tournament paid for. Yep, the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup, is one helluva way to get the world to notice how massive BJJ is right now. And, best of all, we even have a British contender in the shape of Ollie Geddes.

So Meerkatsu would like to wish Ollie the best of luck in this event, which starts on May 1st.

Onto my own BJJ training. Things are going especially well at the moment. I don't know if it is because of my new found zest for playing a more assertive game, or I am just lucky and sparring with partners who are kind enough to let me do my stuff. But I seem to be getting into good positions and even getting some subs where a month ago, I would have struggled. I think after years of being very passive I've got a bit fed up and started to push it a bit more. We'll see where this new line takes me.

Last night Nick taught his favoured defence when your back is caught. There it was again, that simple hand position that he says Ricardo de la Riva showed him. A much tougher defence to break down than the more instinctive palms flat on your neck hand position. Then, as is typical of Nick's sessions, he showed us how to break down even this favoured defence. All a matter of attacking one elbow with both your arms and exploiting the gaps. A nice illustration of a fundamental tenet of jiu-jitsu - utilise two or more parts of your body to lever one part of your opponent.

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.



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