BJJ: Sport or Martial Art?

Posted by Jennie Clark

Aug 22, 2013 9:15:00 AM

From Jon Grilz, BJJ Instructor at Minnesota Top Team

BJJ Rant*deep breathe* I will not rant...I will not rant...I will not rant...

Over the last few days, after my first hand experience with IBJJF competition, I have been more than a little outspoken (maybe to the point of being unjustified) about my feelings towards point-based competitions and referring to them as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I will not rant. (Excuse me if I have to remind myself of this more than a few times.)

I'm not a black belt. I'm not a world champion, but maybe that also allows me perspective. Maybe not being surrounded by the ideal that the title is more important than anything means being able to view things subjectively. 

Jiu Jitsu DebateI'm really not interested in the debate. I've gone through it. People are entrenched in their ideas. Either you believe in the title of "world champion" via points/advantage or you don't.

Can anyone really debate the change that has taken place with things like the double guard pull, the double half guard pull, the berimbolo-like stall?

gracie sauerThese are all facets of a sport, and that is fine if you view BJJ as a sport. It sure as @#$& isn't self-defense. When the legends like Rickson Gracie and Pedro Sauer can speak out on how there needs to be a change to the sport to get away from the point system, how can anyone really put up an argument?

My real issue is someone being dubbed "World Champion" without submitting their final opponent. I don't care how long it takes. Do you think Grandmaster Helio was concerned about points or a clock. If a person really deserves to be dubbed the greatest BJJ practitioner in the world (via their weight or absolute), shouldn't there be some kind of finality? How many times have we seen arguments from camps? Decisions or advantages that seemed subjective?

I truly believe that there needs to be a shift toward submission-only format in competitions. 

And I truly believe that it won't happen without current world champions taking a stand on the issue. Right now, camps like Brasa, Gracie Barra, Alliance are far too large and far too successful in the current system to see change if it isn't in their benefit. And I don't blame them, why give up the titles if you are good at winning them?

IBJJFMaybe there is a middle ground: don't call it the IBJJF. Call it the ISJJF. This is sport jiu-jitsu after all, it's just a game where points or theoretical points can win a title. If you turn your knee the wrong way you can lose a title. If you have an endorsement patch in the wrong place you can be disqualified. 

That makes it a sport, and that is fine, but it does not make it indicativ

Topics: bjj st paul, bjj eagan, mtt bjj, MN top team jiu jitsu, bjj minnesota, jiu jitsu mn, BJJ MN, jiu jitsu st paul

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