Since 1993 I’ve been obsessed with Jiujitsu.
I was lucky to be able to travel around the world to train and learn from some of the best fighters and instructors.
They didn’t only teach me techniques…
Jiu-jitsu is special. I mean not many things in life are what they used to be nowadays.
The world is a chaotic place. Everything is fast.
Sports, arts, relationships are consumed 100 times faster than I remember when I was a kid.
Oh! I am an 80s kid BTW.
Today brotherhood is just a word for the weak masses we created through bad parenting.
All claim it but most don’t live it and they never will.
Everyone is either after a product or a service.
Everyone is a guru, a master or a wise-ass who only copy+pastes their self-claimed wisdom on some platform.
I sometimes feel like the world has been turned into a huge circus and we are just clowns entertaining each other through bloated CVs and social media.
Jiu-Jitsu is one of the few things in life that is resisting to this mass degeneration.
I know there are lots of “Politics free JJ” advocates out there. I think they may be misguided by those who were misguided by their instructors. After all having a black belt doesn’t make you a master of Jiu-jitsu. Some only show you good positions and don’t care about passing on the tradition of the art which in fact keeps it all together.
I believe Jiu-jitsu is more than a sport. We, jiujitsu fighters have the oldest known lineage in the world. I am very passionate about JJ and I know that many people I meet during my travels share the same level of passion for it.
So at this point, I clearly know it’s not just me. We are all involved in something special.
Something which in fact resembles life in every level and form.
We as instructors are more than coaches to many people who choose to follow us on our never-ending journey of the way of the real teachings.
What is real?
Real is the one for the eyes wide open.
Real JJ is for the enlightened.
It’s definitely not for everyone. All can practice but not all will get it.
Let’s get to it…
Let’s Describe “Team”
A team is comprised of a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose. Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.
A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize his/her strengths and minimize his/her weaknesses. Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond their limits.
The Family or The Brotherhood
The family is the term many academies use when they address the team. That’s because we spend a tremendous amount of time together on the mat. Amongst so many things we could do, we choose to train together for countless hours. We see our teammates grow from prey to predator as fighters. We travel and fight by them. We represent our team against other teams and we represent Jiujitsu against the unlucky who never got into it in the first place.
This makes the art special. The sense of belonging, understanding of what family means and way of the art is too strong due to the structure of jiujitsu. I see that as a gift the art gave me. This can be another article on its own so I will not get into too much detail on that.
However, anything that comes with strong emotions also comes with complicated problems.
Let me ask you a question and I want you to answer it for me.
Would you train or work with someone who badmouths, openly disrespects and silently attacks your brother, sister, father or mother?
When there is a problem, people of the world like to talk & talk and talk about the problem but not the source of the problem. Academies and coaches who never faced problems may critique your approach on certain issues. They usually don’t understand. The
front of our shirts reads “Family First”. The team consists of the people who help us grow. Our environment is a hub of passionate JJ practitioners who support each other emotionally and financially every day.
So my description of a family is clear. As CORVOS COMBAT We are all ONE.
BJJ Politics is the term people use to address leaders responses to some issues involving problems between academies/individuals. However, I believe the term is misused.
There are only the good the bad and the ugly in this art we call Jiu-jitsu.
Politics is life. Every day you have to make decisions based on your position and react on certain ways to many situations.
Today or 2000 years ago the one who lives without political mind is considered to be doomed.
You can’t have a stance towards life or become a team without politics.
Unlike brands, teams require sides. They require a stance.
Every positive and negative action requires a response.
When you respond it should be calculated.
It should be political.
Here are some examples of so-called BJJ Politics:
The instructor holding the students’ promotion or promoting too fast.
We, at Corvos Combat, grade our students due to their mat time, technical abilities, character.
We as Jiu-Jitsu black belts/coaches are obligated to choose ideals before money or anything else for that matter.
We may hold a student back due to his or her character.
I ask myself every time when I grade someone.
Is he or she technically ready?
On the mat regularly?
Does this person have what it takes to represent our team and Jiu-Jitsu community globally?
Is he or she developing mentally as much as physically?
I don’t approve anyone not being promoted for any other reason.
After all, we the instructors are just guides to this journey. We show the way and guide our students in the right direction.
We don’t own Jiujitsu we just pass it on to new generations.
Students aren’t allowed to train in other academies.
I never understood why that is a problem.
Every academy has its own style of JJ.
Every master has their own timeline and vision for their future black belts.
Imagine you go to an academy to learn to play the piano which has a certain style and they want to regularly visit others.
By the way, I used the word academy. We are not gyms. You don’t just pay and play.
We aren’t supposed to serve you.
There is an incredible amount of information on our mats. The information we gain time and resources.
With that being said cross-training in academies shouldn’t be allowed for extended periods and shouldn’t be allowed at all for assistant instructors and up. This goes for all serious companies, teams etc. You simply can’t train with Lakers once a week while you are a member of Chicago Bulls squad. Teams can support each other have special events or training sessions. That’s another thing. You represent your team.
“If you didn’t decide who you gonna represent, why should I bother to give my soul to you?” Rickson GracieTweet
Creonte is a term used to address fellow team members selling out the team to move to another without any logical reason. Its a term used by Carlson Gracie. This is a just a name of a nasty character in a soap opera in Brazil.
Creonte isn’t someone who chose to train somewhere else. It’s that kid you helped and sponsored for years who just leave for no logical reason. ** It’s your apprentice.** They usually fabricate problems to soothe their own psych and adapt to their new surroundings. Its a part of the Jiu-Jitsu process.
Don’t get confused and think that this incidence is between coach and the creonte. The team is the foundation for individual growth in BJJ. When someone gets mixed up in this situation they are doing it to their teammates. Coaches get upset/heartbroken but hardly affected by this. There are always new people walking through our doors. I am usually more upset on behalf of my students in these cases.
Call me old school but my stance on this situation is just like Rickson, Renzo’s and Draculino’s.
We keep talking about students becoming creontes.
What about the masters who sell out on their students?
Many times in my Jiu Jitsu career I ‘ve seen masters choosing money and numbers over ideals of Jiu-Jitsu or their students. They rarely share their resources with their assistant instructors.
Trust me when I say that an unfaithful master is as bad as a creonte or even worst.
Head instructors not allowing students or affiliates hosting other black belts for seminars or let them teach seminars.
As long as the affiliate is holding up to their obligation with their own instructors there is nothing wrong with hosting another black belt. Unless that blackbelt openly disrespects the team or its members.
Us vs. Them Mentality
Its a known fact that infusing the team with this differentiation is a way to create a kind of bond among ranks.
But instead, you can just work really hard for years to help build a bond between your teammates.
Bond is created by the natural elements of the art.
Ask any legitimate coach teaching this art is hard. It requires sacrifice.
See when you don’t put the time in but try to eat the fruit of being a master, things may get sour.
Some need to do guerrilla marketing to grow their teams. They need to make offers to sponsored students and assistant instructors of other academies. Stalk social media accounts and target new members. They will even fabricate problems to create an identity for their collected team. This effort may work in numbers but creates a soulless BJJ environment in which students require a service in return for their payments. When there is no sacrifice the numbers aren’t sustainable. These are the type of behaviors I like to call the “Bad Seed Problem” instead of BJJ politics. Reacting to these attacks shouldn’t be described as being political in BJJ.
We talk about being a samurai all day. We paint the pictures of the samurai on our walls, we share their quotes and hang their swords to show of the heritage, respect, and honor.
What do you think the samurai did to ninjas?
One would seppuku (kill himself) for honor where the other would only kill for money and do it by backstabbing and poisoning.
There is a difference between being a bad person and sneaking your way into respect and being calculated and preventive.
We may be on different teams but we are all in the same boat when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu. We are here to evolve, learn, grow together.
After all legitimate & honorable rivalry is the driving force for improvement.
However, there are athletes and coaches who are clearly bad seeds among us who play us the ideal athlete and students of the art against each other every day.
Let’s drop the word BJJ Politics and call it the Bad Seed problem.
What Do You Think?
Please feel free to comment any ideas or opinions. Let’s discuss.
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