16 Sep 2009

Awful Analogies #1: Science

Awful Analogies #1, BJJ is a bit like...science

Mention science to non-scientific types and they go all glaze-eyed and quickly find a way to make their exit. Science is not all lofty academia, but is just a way of looking at things devoid of emotion, hype or spin. By this token BJJ, perhaps more than many other martial arts, is very scientific. There is the simple formula: BJJ technique = observe+theorise+experiment+apply.


Science makes no judgement call on what is good or bad, right or wrong. It simply states, if an idea can be proven to work or can show overwhelming evidence that it can work, then it is most probably the right way.

BJJ is constantly evolving. From the countless trials and tribulations of hundreds of thousands of dedicated practitioners comes the techniques we know today. A new position is developed and within weeks, a defence to it is devised, and so on. Competitions enhance the idea of constant struggle, the survival of the best and the fittest.

But, like evolution, BJJ development is not linear. Man did not descend from chimpanzees, as so wrongly lampooned by Victorian cartoonists intent on mocking Darwin, but the idea of common descent is shared by all the various schools of BJJ.

However, like the natural world, the planet is full of niche groups, all happily co-existing in their little enclaves. One school might be full of half guard specialists. They can wreck havoc on the mats using just this. Or another school is the business at spider guard submissions. Every now again, they meet to snap heels at each other then go away, ruminating new ideas.

Scientific principles of the laws of motion and the physics of leverage fill every aspect of BJJ. Unscientific, or unprovable concepts such as invisible energy fields and mind tricks do not apply.

Yes my friends, BJJ is so scientific, it's practically an art form. Now there's a twist.

About the Author

Meerkatsu

Author & Artist

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

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