I often catch myself wondering where Jiu Jitsu will be in 20 or 30 years. How much will this sport we love grow or be watered down by society. Will we still have the fundamentals? Or will the original “dirty dozen” even recognize the art?
Judging by the way things have changed just since Jiu Jitsu has made its way to the US, I’m positive that they aren’t done. At one time tournaments were only in California and Brazil now they are all over the world.
If you asked someone if they heard of Jiu Jitsu then, the answer was almost always “is that like karate”! Annoying right?? Now we can just about ask anyone and we get, “that’s what Royce Gracie did right?”. That’s progress in my eyes!
What about the art itself though? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was originally devoloped for street self defense but then it was split into Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Sport Jiu Jitsu. Is the splitting finished? Will we see them come back together again? Only time will tell!
With every split in any art things get a little more watered down. People tend to either skip certain techniques because someone may get hurt or someone doesn’t want to learn it. Then, because of those 2 people, the next generation won’t learn it either because their instructors never did.
For example: programs that allow belting without rolling or online graduation! To beat that dead horse a little.
What can we do to preserve the true spirit of Jiu Jitsu?
First, just because you might not use a particular technique in your game, don’t ignore it. Try your best to get it down so that when someone asks you about it you can share that knowledge.
I once asked a blue belt when I first started how to use knee on belly in a match. His answer was, “knee on belly isn’t a real Jiu Jitsu move”! This guy runs a Jiu Jitsu program! How will his students know about it if he’s not teaching it?
Second, BASICS! I know we all hear this preached constantly but learn the basics. They are the foundation to everything! If you can’t break the guard then how will you attempt that new fancy pass you learned from the last seminar or on that DVD you ordered??
Drill them until you think you have it down and then drill them 100 times more! Beat them into your muscle memory.
Last thing is to be open to something new. Every black belt you talk to will tell you that they are still learning every day. Don’t assume you know it all or even enough to get by. Things will always be developed to prevent what you think you have down solid. So closing yourself off might cost you something that could change your game for the better!
No martial art is the same way it was when it was created. BJJ isn’t going to be any different. With every student that opens their own school and belts someone else something will be lost. We have to do our part to maintain as much as possible so we don’t lose Jiu Jitsu to the mainstream people that are scared of being hurt. Or to those that choose only to learn what they think is cool! Oss!!