Well it’s that time of year when the skateparks begin competing for attention with Brazilian jiu-jitsu class. Living in the rainy sponge that is Vancouver, Canada, it’s easy to forget about skateboarding for months at a time and focus on jiu-jitsu. But when the spring arrives and videos like Pedro’s Bowl Blowout start showing up… what’s a guy to do?
There are tons of skaters who train Brazilian jiu-jitsu – the two activities seem to attract a similar type of person. A few examples from the BJJ blog community: Dave from The Jiu-Jitsu Laboratory? Skateboarder. Andrew from Dig Deep BJJ? Skateboarder. Matt from Mapping my BJJ Journey? Skateboarder. And so on. Jiu-jitsu heavyweights like Kron Gracie, Xande Ribeiro, and Marcelo Garcia are or have been skaters.
In the early 1990s, Tom Knox was an influential pro skater known for his camouflage pants, consistent style, innovative tricks, and vocal disdain for the slow-moving pressure-flip nonsense that was becoming de rigeur in skateboarding at the time. I won’t ever forget the first time I saw his Transworld pro spotlight photo of his transition-assisted ollie over four milk crates. These days, Tom has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Cleber Luciano, who is a 4th degree black belt under Royler Gracie. He’s also placed highly in multiple international BJJ tournaments over the last few years and is still ripping skateparks in his free time.
Tom Knox at Selma skatepark:
Tom Knox vs. Spencer Olson at the 2009 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu American Nationals:
Rob “Sluggo” Boyce
Rob Sluggo Boyce is a skate legend. He was part of the original Real Skateboards team with Tommy Guerrero, Salman Agah, and Jim Thiebaud; a founding member of the Red Dragons; a pro snowboarder; a fixture of the golden age of Whisky, Blunt, and Big Brother; and is probably the biggest source of positive vibes here in the Vancouver skate scene. He’s also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu enthusiast and his kids have been tearing up the BJJ circuit.
Sluggo’s classic part in the first RDS video was a nice retrospective of his skating up to that point.
But that was then. Over the last few years Sluggo’s been attacking with renewed zest, putting in countless hours at Hastings home base and sharpening his skills for contests like the Pro-Tec Pool Party and the Australian Open.
Sluggo winning best trick at the Australian Open skateboard contest:
Sluggo’s final run at the 2011 Pro-Tec Pool Party:
Skaters Who Would Probably Be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Killers: Kenny Reed and Ricky Oyola
Ricky Oyola: Eastern Exposure 3
I imagine Ricky having a control game and making huge use of the crossface.
Kenny Reed: New Deal – 7 Year Glitch
Kenny would definitely be doing some slick open guard.
So hit the skatepark or go to BJJ class? Skateboarding or Brazilian jiu-jitsu? Sometimes I think that’s the most stressful decision I have to make all day.