Competition BJJ

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by alister, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. alister

    alister Huh?

    Just some random ramblings from me really...

    I've been training Rickson Gracie BJJ for two years now and love it. To add to my training and get a different angle, I've also started training with another association, which is also great and I'm loving learning some new techniques/variations.

    The newer of the two (for me) has a strong competition ethos so the training is slightly different and rolling is in five minute bursts and position, unsurprisingly, is important. But this is what I struggle with. In Rickson's style there's a simple mantra - improve position, maintain, submit. The training is very self defence oriented first and foremost and there's a philosophy of giving what you get - ie. If there's no threat, why expend energy fighting? So, when I roll there, a session can go on for ages because the fight is about the submission. I like this.

    In competition however, it's about points (I guess ultimately submission). Now I haven't competed yet, but training at this new club has given me a lot of confidence in the skills i've developed in Rickson's style over the last couple of years and I feel confident against the vast majority of other white belts and, playing the longer game, could submit most...but in a competition, I'd probably lose because the other person could get cross-side for example, which for me, has limited threat.

    Just strikes me as odd. All BJJ is very effective, but is there a risk that some could lose sight of BJJs purpose? Dunno - just thinking really, any thoughts?
  2. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I'm a noob at bjj so won't attampt much input, but interesting observations and I'd be interested to hear what others say. I wouldn't mind competing a bit myself in bjj one day.. Ok what i will say though, you can't ever really accurately guage threat in self defence situation so quick work whether 'submission', striking, or getting out of there is foremost i would think.

    Playing the position and wait type game doesn't really make much sense in the 'real world'.. Is that what you're getting at?

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2007
  3. alister

    alister Huh?

    I guess what I'm saying is I'd rather stay tight, stay sensitive, wait for the opportunity and submit - someone getting cross-side, mount, or knee on stomach etc etc says nothing more than they know those positions and can transition them. However, in competition I might have to wait for the right time and if that doesn't happen in the alloted 5 mins, then the other person could win on points, even though I know what they did provided no real threat.

    Don't get me wrong, dem's da rules as they say, but does this give a false impression of BJJ effectiveness to someone who beats someone on points, but who could equally be beaten very easily by someone using BJJ in a self defence context and not bound by points and time limits?

    I'm not dismissing competition - it's a great way to pressure test and get some adrenaline exposure, but it just seems that some clubs promote this over self defence effectiveness, which is fine if you are into combat sports, but there's so much missing if you're just drilling to demonstrate certain positions.

    Am I making any sense? I'm feeling a bit confused myself :confused:
  4. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Yea that makes sense, It's a balancing act I feel. I just experienced san shou competition for the first time. I have similar feelings that working toward those ends will give me a certain skill set and way of fighting specifically to do well in that environment with the way the points work etc. But it would be different to say an MMA environment and different still to a self defence situation where there are other things to factor. But I agree whole heartedly to the overiding benefits you mention for competing.

  5. slideyfoot

    slideyfoot Co-Founder of Artemis BJJ

    Personally, I don't care about self-defence, never have: I groan inwardly whenever we do a 'self defence' move (like against being grabbed on the shoulder or something) instead of working something like guard passing, sweeps, side control etc. I train BJJ because I think its a great sport, and I really enjoy the way that the vast number of techniques, positions, escapes etc means that you learn something every lesson.

    What would worry me more is if BJJ went down the same path as Judo and started to ban techniques in favour of fitting competition rules. The prevalence of stalling for points I've heard about is a problem, so I like the sound of other rulesets that encourage a more proactive approach (e.g., first one to a certain number of points or submission rather than a strict time limit, though on the other hand ridiculously long fights aren't appealing either). However, I haven't competed yet, so take that for what it's worth.

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