Jon Grilz is the Head BJJ Instructor at Minnesota Top Team. Check out his latest blog about BJJ affiliation vs. cults.
Dont get me wrong, cults can be a lot of fun. You get to wear robes all day, pretty open bedroom policies and some righteous chanting. The problem is that sooner or later they want you to cut off your b***s and drink some kool-aid so you can hitch a ride on a comet.
I aint drinkin your kool-aid.
Which is a hard thing so say, because I f***ing love grape kool-aid.
Sad to say that cults arent just for Waco or Pennsylvania Dutch country. They seem to be for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, too.
Maybe it is because we are a small sport. By which I would say BJJ is on the fringe of fringe sports. Minnesota has (generously speaking) maybe 600 active BJJ participants. MAYBE.
There are more people than that in some softball leagues.
Perhaps it is the fringe element and the business side of things that forces people to try and milk every cent and every ounce of common sense out of their students.
Recently there has been a lot of unnerving revelations in a major BJJ affiliation. I dont think I need to name them, if you have any link to the BJJ community, you know. And while we all may gasp and ask ourselves how could this happen, I wonder if it happens around here.
People get obsessed with being the best, being a world champion, chasing a medal. Everyone wants to think that the person that teaches them BJJ is the best there is, that they are hitching their ride to the winning horse. They are will to dilute themselves and put up with a lot of bulls*** for it. They are willing to put aside what they say is right out of fear of being an outcast. For fear of being labelled not good enough.
Thats all f***ing bulls**!!!
And we dont serve that here.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to determine what quality of a person you are dealing with at a gym:
1) Do they talk trash about other gyms they have never been a part of or even visited?
2) Do they claim to know the best and only way to do something?
3) Do they talk a big game and refuse to compete?
4) Do they refuse to be a part of another gyms events (seminars, comps, etc) without giving any reason?
5) Do they tell you to do anything that makes to second guess if it is the correct, or even legal thing to do?
6) Has your health, safety or membership ever been threatened?
7) Are you afraid to bring up any of the questions above?
I hope you cant answer yes to any of these. I really do.
I couldnt care less if you are a part of a huge international team like Gracie Barra or Alliance or if you are a part of a gym that is just doing what it can to keep up.
My concern is that people are putting aside their own instincts because they are bullied or forced into a mold that someone else created. We are a fringe sport, we are all f***ed up in some way, shape or form otherwise we wouldnt do it. So to say that you must conform within our sport is the epitome of stupidity.
You may not like the way something is done. You may claim there is only one way to lock in a triangle choke, that gi is better than no gi (or vice versa), that one affiliation is better than another, that is your right, you can think whatever the f*** you want.
But for the love of a