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Archive for the ‘Martial Arts / Jiu-Jitsu Philosophy’ Category

Jiu-Jitsu Strategy: Frustrate and Annoy

The Brendan Schaub vs Ricardo “Cyborg” Abreu debacle at Metamoris 2 on June 9, 2013 was an embarrassment to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. After Ryron Gracie vs Andre Galvao at Metamoris Pro I wrote about my personal default Brazilian jiu-jitsu strategy – “Frustrate and Annoy” – likening it to Ryron’s KeepItPlayful.com. However, I have to clarify that while Schaub’s performance was indeed frustrating and very annoying, it wasn’t the Frustrate & Annoy strategy endorsed by The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex.

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Problems with tribalism in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and society

Tribalism = the behaviour influenced by strong loyalty to a tribe.

Early on New Years Day 2013, two high-profile competitors from the Lloyd Irvin Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team – Matthew Maldonado and Nicholas Shultz – raped a drunk teammate in a Washington D.C. parking lot. The assault was captured on video and hit the BJJ world like a firestorm. About a week later, another story resurfaced: a gang rape case from 1989 involving a Lloyd E. Irvin Jr. Things got ugly. A debate sprung up about whether a “rape culture” exists in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Tribalism reared its (sometimes) nasty head in a localized exhibition of a species-wide phenomenon.

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BJJ strategy frustrate and annoy

Frustrate and Annoy – The official BJJ strategy of The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex. With an obvious nod to Craig Stecyk and Thrasher skateboard magazine.

What did Helio Gracie and Vince Lombardi have in common? Brazilian jiu-jitsu strategy is a hot topic and recent events like the Gracie Worlds and the Metamoris Pro have added fire to the debate by pitting the traditional “submission is the only victory” BJJ against more competition-friendly strategies. All of the talk got me thinking about my own approach to rolling and what the strengths and weaknesses are.
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The Internet is full of crap, but manure piles are great places to grow flowers. Case in point, London Real, an interesting podcast by Brian Rose and Nic Gabriel. The London Real team recently emailed The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex to ask if I’d help spread the word about their recent one-hour interview with the (almost) unstoppable Brazilian jiu-jitsu juggernaut, Roger Gracie. I like their show, and Roger’s the man, so I hereby wield my very limited influence over the BJJ community…

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Beware the jiu-jitsu vortex. Photo couresy of ahisgett.

The name of The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex was originally inspired by the tendency for BJJ to swallow the practitioner’s life, but further investigation has unearthed deeper meanings. As it turns out, the phrase “jiu-jitsu vortex” can be used to describe the sparring style of almost any Brazilian jiu-jitsu addict.

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One of the most famous black belts in BJJ - Royce Gracie. Photo by superwebdeveloper.

Belt promotions are a hot topic in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Hang around the mats and changerooms of any BJJ academy and you’ll hear lots of talk about who does and doesn’t deserve a promotion. Stories abound of instructors who intentionally delay promotions with the intention of giving their students the edge in competitions. But what does a belt really mean? And where did the colours come from?

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Japanese Calligraphy of Bodhidarma, often credited as the progenitor of the Asian martial arts. By Hakuin Ekaku. Image is in the Public Domain.

What do Mac Danzig, Miles Davis, Ken Kesey, Genki Sudo, Joe Frazier, and John Irving have in common? They all have a combined talent for art and combat. The connection between artistic pursuits and the combat arts is lost to many participants on both sides of the issue (it’s hard to imagine Chael Sonnen wielding a calligraphy brush or Woody Allen choking someone unconscious) but a notable collection of warrior artists is keeping the tradition alive.

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