31 Jan 2015

10 Dumb Things Other People Say About BJJ

Hey, BJJ guys and girls, I bet most of you have heard many of the following irritating things that other (martial artists) have said about our beloved sport. This is my list, feel free to show it to your non-BJJ friends.

BJJ is gay
Ignoring the blatant homophobia implied in the question, BJJ is all about contact in very close proximity, y'know, like when some jerk tries to pin you to the floor and beat the crap out of you kind of close. But if you think that dealing with close contact conflict is not important, then fine, we do wrist locks and pressure points too ;)

BJJ would never work in the street
The roots of the BJJ scoring system are based on a heirarchy of positional dominance during a one to one fight. Every student trains with this understanding and while trends in certain techniques come and go, position before submission still presides over everything. In addition, a lot of gyms train a specific self defence syllabus of techniques. No system is the perfect self defence, nothing can be in the crazy unpredictable dark 'streets' of reality. I like to think my BJJ brothers and sisters are equipped with a good basis for survival in a scrap. Don't agree? Come and visit any BJJ gym and see how far your pinching, gouging, swinging punching, pressure pointing, groin kicking attacks get you against even a four stripe white belt BJJer.

Patched up gis looks like NASCAR uniforms
Yes we love our uniforms and yes, many designs are just all out crazy. I'm not helping the cause here because I design fightwear. But just like people, uniforms come in all colours and sizes. If you want plain, then you can buy plain. If you want to express yourself creatively, then be my guest. That's one of the beauties of BJJ culture, it's a lot less cultish and discipline obsessed than other more traditional martial arts. But hey, feel free to bow and and call your instructor sensei, no one cares.

They don’t even pronounce ‘R’ properly
A lot of Brazilian Portuguese words that begin with the letter 'R' are pronounced like an 'H'. So, Royce Gracie for example is supposed to be pronounced 'Hoyce' Gracie. It's not a strict rule, I have heard Roger Gracie refer to himself as Roger with an 'R'. Admittedly, it is perhaps slightly annoying to hear non-Portuguese speaking people try to pronounce everything with a heavy faux-Portuguese accent when talking BJJ. It's like the karate guy who can't speak Japanese referring to karate moves in a heavy accent. 

Hur hur hur…BJ
Oh you're being funny because BJJ - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - shares the same initial letters as Blow Job? What are you like 9?

It’s not new, it’s just judo
Yup, BJJ came from judo, we don't deny this. It has evolved a lot since then to become BJJ but there are still a lot of shared techniques that are performed similarly. Top level BJJ athletes also train judo, and /or wrestling, which is another combat martial art that has contributed to BJJ. Fighting is fighting, the human body is limited in moving only a certain number of ways. Saying BJJ is just judo is like saying American Football is just rugby. Sure they share the same heritage, both evolved to become their own thing.

Gym fees are crazy, they just want your money
You're probably too used to your £3 a session church hall training fee with a nice £20 sporting federation subsidised association membership fee to train your deadly system of kock-so-do-fu. Like any other sporting activity, good quality instruction, with excellent full time facilities that are available 7 days a week, multiple times a day all costs money to run. But BJJ fees are no more expensive than exercise gym fees and I know it's value for money, when you consider the considerable jiu jitsu experience of my coach and the excellent facilities we train in. Have fun pulling out the shared mats in your rented church hall!

What’s with all the stupid technique names?
A lot of BJJ techniques stem from known wrestling or judo moves. Somewhere along the line, folk just started calling those names something else to make them easier to remember possibly. Some techniques have no equivalent in other systems, so the user just invented a name. Some techniques have multiple names just to add to the confusion. By and large though, most BJJ technique names are fairly fixed - everyone around the world will understand what an armbar is, or a kimura lock or a triangle choke. It's just a name, what is important is the technique itself and how you use it.

Takes too long to get to black belt
For most students, 9, 10, 11 years or even longer has often been seen as the standard length of training timespan before reaching the level of black belt. That's with an unbroken run of training many times a week. That time span varies form person to person - some are just more talented and train much harder than others, so it seems right they get promoted earlier. BJJ is thankfully less belt obsessed than a lot of other martial arts. Just four colours denote the ranks before black belt, although any gyms include stripes (up to four) in between belts and some schools add in an additional belt rank (grey or green) between white and blue belt. Whatever, it's just a belt and most students only want to focus on technique and competitions rather than belt chasing.

So, you train UFC?
No, UFC is a professional mixed martial arts fight event shown on TV. It was started by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters in  1993 and while there have been many changes to the rules and the way athletes prepare for their fights, it's worth knowing that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other grappling systems are vital for every fighter to develop. So yeah, there is a connection between BJJ and UFC.

BONUS: Ew look at those puffed up cauli ears!
Heh, you mean BADGE OF HONOUR!
But yeah, in all seriousness, injuries and the scars of grappling (eg cauliflower ears) will happen to you. Grappling is a tough sport, but the tap system ensures injuries are actually very rare.

This list is written with tongue firmly in cheek. Us BJJ folk do hear and read what other martial artists say about the sport and really, it's not a big deal. We think the system is great fun, good for fitness, a valid self defence system (as valid as any other imo) and full of great people. 
We'd love you to join us and try it out for yourself, once you are hooked, you will understand the passion of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 


About the Author


Author & Artist

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



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