This article comes by way of the KDT Academy in Malaysia. Having recently hosted CMD creator Rodney King for a instructors seminar, they've re-evaluated their take on the competitive aspect that dominates most BJJ gyms/programs today. -Luke

At the recent Monkey Mayhem 2010 Malaysia training camp, Rodney shared his meeting with his Jiu JItsu teacher in California, Professor Rigan Machado (8 degree black belt) and how Rigan recently said that he is looking to remove the competitive, machismo element from his Jiu Jitsu training and implement a new philosophy that allows the individual to grow through the practice of jiu jitsu. Professor Machado goes on to say that in his youth, he didn't know any better as he was raised in an environment that was all competitive, all machismo, where daily fighting was the norm. In his maturity, he has arrived at the conclusion that there is a better, healthier way for people to learn, grow and benefit from the training of what jiu jitsu has to offer...



Anonymous said...

It seems like only 10% of the average academy regularly competes anyway. What's the big deal - I guess it is a problem if an academy's atmosphere is heavily competition oriented and non-competitors are marginalized despite outnumbering competitors, but otherwise I think it is good for the sport.

- Michael Webber

Anonymous said...

BJJ will go the way of Traditional Martial Arts if you remove the competitive element from it. That way, all one has to do to be a black belt is talk and talk and talk and talk.

Having said that, I think that students should be able to choose to compete if they want to, and should not be vilified as egotistical, over competitive monsters if they choose to do so.

Why should we choose to 'rethink' jiujitsu just because someone doesn't like competing? To each his own.

Perhaps the person who wrote this piece would like to share his ugly experiences with BJJ competitions to enlighten us.

Vince Choo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vince Choo said...

"Perhaps the person who wrote this piece would like to share his ugly experiences with BJJ competitions to enlighten us."

Hi Anonymous, I wrote this piece and it is representative of what we do. Please don't mistake that what we practice is not competitive. I don't have any negative experience with competition and recognize that competitions bring out the best AND worst in people. What I practice is not competitive as in we don't take part in organized competitions, it doesn't mean we don't roll competitively against each other but it also doesn't mean we have a desire to "win" in every roll either.

I don't believe that getting ranked under Rigan Machado can be fully "non-competitive" as competition has refined the art to such an extent that is the trademark of BJJ.

However, in my article I believe what they (Rigan Machado and the other Gracie masters) mean is that I think their original Gracie/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was not intended or is representative of today's sport jiu jitsu, not for point sparring anyway. If you compare modern Olympic Judo, they award points for throws and attempted throws but it doesn't rule out the effectiveness of the technique. In modern karate they award points ONLY for strikes. In both disciplines a competitor is PENALIZED for causing injury, intentional or otherwise. I believe this is only part of what these masters mean by the art being diluted. This is not rethinking jiu jitsu rather as stepping away from the competition-only option as many modern BJJ schools advertise and monetize on competition champions, etc. If you have any BJJ DVDs or books, I'm pretty confident that your selection was predicated on the fact the author had extensive competition accolades. You would be less inclined to purchase a book or DVD from some unknown instructor with no competition wins.

In this internet age, we all have Google to see the origins of the art and competition seemed to be mostly between different disciplines back in the day. Eg. jiujitsu vs. ____martial art___.

The "game" then was methodical, and I daresay clinical in how the jiu jitsu "formula" was applied.
The original intention of the art is well documented. There is also nothing wrong in making it a sport but as you said, to each his own. Some folks enjoy the sporting aspect

As these legends mature so has their philosophy of the art. I'm just sharing these thoughts with folks and you can take it or leave it, or you can always ask people like Rigan Machado directly as why he has changed. He'll be in Australia this week I believe and can be contacted via email too.

Thank you for reading the article and sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...


Regarding competitive rolling in your gym, true, but rolling against the same guys in your gym really does not make it all that competitive, apart from the occasional visitor. Taking part in a competition and facing an unknown opponent severely tests your skills and survival instincts, something you won’t quite get in a gym full of familiar faces. That itself is a small aspect of competition. Preparing for the competition itself, takes a lot of extra mat time, workouts and dieting. To me, that is what makes an athlete improve the most, not the actual competition.

Regarding the Machado/Gracie viewpoint of BJJ, they are referring to ONE aspect of competition in BJJ, namely sport BJJ. While I do not agree with it, their nature especially the Gracies, has always been one that is very feudal, always looking to test their skills outside their gym, whether it is in early MMA(Royce, Rickson, Royler), dojo storms(Rorion, Rolls) or even right down to challenge matches in the ring (Helio, Carlson). Those forms of challenges are competitions in their own right, and require the same amount of discipline and sacrifice to prepare for. Having said that, does your disdain for competition include modern MMA as well?

You are absolutely right that there are legends with changing philosophies as they evolve in the art. However, there are also other legends who disagree with these viewpoints(Renzo Gracie, Romero Jacare, Leo Vieira, Carlos Gracie Jr), and maintain that the competitive element of BJJ is essential. This can clearly be seen by their active participation in Sport BJJ as well as MMA.

Thanks for taking your time to answer my questions. Regards.

Vince Choo said...

"Taking part in a competition and facing an unknown opponent severely tests your skills and survival instincts"

Hi Anonymous,

Firstly, thank you for continuing your interest to discuss this topic.

Secondly, the attitude change from the jiu jitsu teachers' names whom I mentioned are not my doing so I'm really just reporting the situation and offering an alternative method of training instead of balls-to-the-wall hardcore, competition training.

Finally, the purpose of my article is not meant to sway anyone's decision on how you train. If you enjoy competition more power to you. I'm merely highlighting the facts that when you compare a competitive academy vs a non-competitive academy you generally get less stare downs, less attitude and less injuries. We all have regular lives and day jobs. We have families and people to be responsible for.

Unless you are in a line of work that requires you to have dominant physical skills like law enforcement, prison control, military or similar, the opportunities for regular folks to uses said martial arts skills will be minimal during your lifetime. If you are regularly getting yourself in altercations I would question where you hang out, where you live or the neighbourhood where you need to be always physically prepared. If this were the case, you can hang out somewhere else, work somewhere else or other remedial action. Like car accidents, street fights not only the people involved in the accidents that are affected.

Bearing that in mind, many BJJ black belts have told me that at most you would need blue belt skills to control most regular "street" situations. Anything beyond that is because you are teaching or sparring against other jiu jitsu players and if you have a good attitude in your daily life why would you need to be constantly pumped up ready for any incident to unleash the martial arts fury? :) Not only are the physiological physical state and mental cocktail toxic to the body but you can develop paranoia.

This is the hypothethical "you" I'm talking about and not "you" personally as I don't know you.

Hope this helps in understanding the angle of the article.

So personally while I do enjoy watching MMA events on the occassion (such as Couture-Toney) generally I steer away from the highly charged, testosterone and steroid driven events.

If you're in your 20's to 30's you would be more likely to want to "test" your skills in competition. Beyond that, after the competition years are done and behind you and you are left with a bunch of medals and damaged, bad joints, how well prepared would you be in facing street attackers? I digress.

To clarify I didn't title this article as "Rethinking Jiu Jitsu".

Thanks again for commenting on this article.

Anonymous said...

the machados are just doing some marketing stuff to attract new clients ha ha

Vince Choo said...

Yes, you're right. So does every other jiu jitsu and martial art and business out there :)

Anonymous said...

whether they like people will think of bjj as a sports

it is all survival of the fittest ...
just like with any other sport.

Anonymous said...

whether they like or not people will think of bjj as a sports

it is all survival of the fittest ...
just like with any other sport.

LUKE said...

That's my fault with the title, 'rethinking jiu-jitsu'.

Vince, what would be a more appropriate title?

Thanks guys for the feedback and healthy/constructive dialogue.


Vince Choo said...

Luke, I didn't title this as it is a report on the collective thoughts on how another angle of BJJ is being presented. Judging from the reactions here most people (1) don't like change (2) don't see the point (3) can't accept any other way except their own, all of which are fine with me but in the spirit of BJJ with "ego checked at the door, open mind to new techniques and ideas" I wonder whether the readers are wrestling with this alternative approach. I know I certainly did as my initial exposure to BJJ was through instructors like Adam Kayoom.

I don't know what would be a suitable title :(

Andrew LEE said...

I tend to agree with Vince. BJJ is simply too competitive now. Go to any BJJ schools, you see guys performing techniques such as rear naked choke, knee ride, triangle, etc. But seriously, you may be very proficient with these techniques, you may have countless competition experiences with a bunch of medals to show BUT are you ready for the street?

What i think is lacking in BJJ schools, they do not do other stuff such as how do you hand a situation where someone grabs you from behind with a bear hug? What do you do if someone approaches you with a baseball bat? Or a knife?

Many BJJ schools are practicing high scoring moves in an attempt to score points in competitions.

Also, when facing a fight on the street, DO YOU straightaway jump to your guard? Attempt to choke your opponent and working your way to putting on a rear naked choke? Or armbar your opponent? DO NOT forget that a street fight is usually a group thing. You don't get one on one fight. In a street fight, there are no rules, no timinig, no referees. How do you handle an opponent smelling of alcohol, high on drugs with a broken bear bottle in his hands?

Those with a bunch of medals from competitions, pls tell me how you going to handle a situation like this?

Competition is good BUT over emphasis is no good. There is a saying too much of anything is no good. We need to strike a balance.

I always believe in preparing for the street even though i know that i might not even get to use my martial art skills in my lifetime. Other than practising just BJJ, i think one should also take up stand up arts such as boxing, muay thai etc.

Anonymous said...

No martial art is going to prepare you for a group attack.

My question to people critizing Sport Jiujitsu, is what you are teaching preparing your student for the street? How do you prepare for the street by training in your own gym?

Vince Choo said...

"My question to people critizing Sport Jiujitsu"

Hi Anonymous,

No, I'm not criticizing sports jiu jitsu. In fact I enjoy it as it brings in a lot of benefits. However, what I'm saying is that there is no perfect martial art that addresses effective group attacks in a realistic situation.

Whether facing an armed individual or a gang of thugs, a fight is a fight and while we may have a physical advantage over the average guy or girl on the street, the false confidence of pulling guard in a street fight can get you seriously hurt and having your back on the ground is the last place you want to be. Given an option I'd rather stay on the feet in such a situation.

Most BJJ gyms are now heavily skewed towards competitions. Is that the reality of effective jiu jitsu today?

How would you define a good jiu jitsu school by how many trophies they win or the techniques they teach to empower a weaker, smaller person to overcome a stronger adversary?

If you buy the marketing line "80% of fights end up on the ground" you have to then talk to people who encounter violence every day such as law enforcement, bouncers, prison wardens, active military, etc. and do your own research.

My own research has determined that 80% of fights DON'T end up on the ground, maybe 5% but all fights start standing up and you want to be the guy standing at the end of the fight.

I'm not into reality-based combat, knives, sticks and such. I live in a place where personal firearms are prohibited yet the criminal element uses parang/machete/edged weapons/ blunt weapons/firearms and attack in groups as they are physically smaller. This is my reality. Going to the ground in any of the above situations is not on my list of "to-do" if I was attacked. I think the majority
would agree that to get out of there is the main objective.

Like Andrew said, there has to be a balance to what a BJJ academy teaches.

Andrew LEE said...

"No martial art is going to prepare you for a group attack".

This is absolutely a valid statement.

I have met countless BJJ practitioners and amongst them, a couple of cocky ones who have and won heaps of competitions. They think they are invincible.

But what they fail to realise is, sports jiujitus does not offer realistic self defence in a street situation. They are just concern about scoring points. I remember a coach shouting to his student to hold onto his side control as the clock is slowly ticking down and the student is up by 2 points. Do you think this is what's going to happen in a street fight?

I agree with Vince, pulling guard in a street fight is sheer madness.

Unless you are fighting one on one and with no weapons, with rules and timing and with the crowd as your referee, otherwise, all street fights will surely involve a few thugs with weapons, knives, broken bottles, baseball bats etc.

I suppose one should cross train in martial arts such as Krav Maga, Hapkido, etc. I am not saying that knowing such arts will definitely win the fight BUT not knowing them (stand up fighting) will definitely diminish your chances of survival. Pulling guard in a street fight is pure disaster and plain silly.

The gracies and all other BJJ academy will tell you that >80% of the fights will end up on the ground. Obviously they want to do your business that's why they claim so. But seriously, in a fight, do you want to go to the ground? Even if you DO go to the ground, your aim is to get back straight up and not pull guard or do a fanciful move like putting a triangle submission on your opponent in full view of his mates. You can be assured his mates will rush in and smash you into pieces even before your triangle is done!

I have nothing against BJJ competition. I myself even participated in one. But to think that training and competing in competition will prepare you for the street, then you are wrong. Competition is just competition. Period.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Lee,

can you please elaborate on your background and qualifications with martial arts, BJJ, street fighting, etc?

I am making no authoritative claims on any issues, but I am just wondering where you are drawing your opinions from.

Andrew LEE said...

I train in hapkido and bjj. Training in bjj is just that i know what to do SHOULD and IF i got taken down to the ground.

Bjj is not my preferred choice of martial art should i encounter an altercation on the street.

I am just looking things from a layman perspective.

Ask anyone one the street, bjj trained or otherwise, do they straightaway jump to the ground and pull guard when encountering a street fight? Or just simply do what you can standing up and then run at the first opportunity?

Unfortunately many perceive that training in sport jiujitsu will prepare one for the street. Obviously bjj schools who want to do your business will have you believe otherwise.

Anonymous said...

The tone of your posts, seem to be that you are one day preparing for your ultimate street confrontation with armed assasin or gangs or some poor schmo who did you wrong that day, this pretty goofy way to live your life or focus your time. Either your are trolling this board, or maybe you should re-evaluate your the reasons why you truly train.

Old Guy said...

sounds very much like the aikido philosophy

Vince Choo said...

Hi Old Guy,

As another old guy I don't think BJJ will be like aikido for the simple fact that we train against fully resisting partners and other people (competitions or otherwise) while the aikido people tend to practice choreographed moves and toe the line where the dojo is concerned about that particular strain of philosophy. The day I can't tap and submit someone else is the day I'll take up aikido, taichi or something similar :) Please don't misunderstand that we don't train "hard". On the contrary, the article is presenting the thoughts of the current BJJ legends and masters and that's all.

I don't know how this thread got to become "Us vs. Them" but you have to consider what the non-competitors do vs competitors as different sides of the same coin. As much as the two philosophies are different they are the same.

Hypothetically, I doubt very much anyone on this board expects to challenge Rickson or Rigan and expect to win, grappling or otherwise however I believe that applying the jiu jitsu skills is a more humane path to ensure victory in contrast with strikes and such. Perhaps our better connected readers can ask these people (Rigan, RIckson, Royce) while they are still around on what made them change that philosophy from competition -based BJJ to a different, more holistic approach to BJJ. Rigan said that when he was younger he didn't know any better (you can read the rest in my article) but what was the catalyst that initiated this change? Age? Injury? Maturity? I don't know but it will be awesome to find out.

LUKE said...

@Vince: I think knowing what the catalyst to the change in attitudes towards sport-JJ is potentially the most interesting part of the article.

My initial reaction was, "well wouldn't I have had to have gone through what they did on some level to understand that as well? Isn't it part of the journey to have put yourself in that kind of context for a period of time before discover what the next step may be as a martial artist and or athlete?"

Does the person who adopts this perspective from the beginning having never competed miss or gain compared to a tournament veteran who now just trains like everyone else?

Personally I feel there are great benefits to tournament competition, even if you do it just once. The environment, anxiety and adrenaline going through you in your first tournament is nuts, but in a good way. I found that over time I was able to become more relaxed and by the 5th tournament enough so to actually hear my coaches instead of grappling in a haze/blur. And as I've managed to get my butterflies in check, I enjoy the experience more and more. Again, it's not for everyone but I encourage everyone to go for it just once.

I know you're offering a different take on it and I don't hold anything against people who have no interest to compete in the tournaments. Perhaps I get such a high from them myself that I want to share it with others, haha.

Again thanks Vince for the always insightful comments and contributions.

@ 'street-figher-guy': I've had some pretty gnarly fighters share their take on how to defend yourself in a street fight. Get out and get out fast or don't be there at all. Understand the circumstances that lead to confrontations like this and avoid them. Granted, we can't avoid all dangers in our life but I truly believe the following that I've gained from training jiu-jitsu that's helped prevent any kind of physical confrontation:

1. Training BJJ has made me more aware and sensitive to how vulnerable the body is and that none of us are superman.

2. Because of this awareness, I have a great respect for my teammates/training partners/and people in general.

3. I respect others because I respect myself and what I am potentially capable of with my knowledge. I practice patience and understanding.

4. I avoid physical conflict to the best of my ability. Most of the time by not staying in any place that is potentially dangerous.

5. Because of my physical training in BJJ and S&C to support my jiu-jitsu, I feel physically stable and it shows in my body-language. I do not strut, I simply walk with confidence.

6. I create or I should say I significantly influence the environment I live in by promoting positivity and mutual respect. None of us our perfect but we can't give up on being the very best person you can be.

7. I do not live in fear of 'what if'. At the same time do not challenge or provoke potential 'what ifs' if that makes sense.

Yes, I think it is very important for all martial artists to practice self-defense and have it a part of their curriculum. It would be totally irresponsible of a martial arts instructor to ignore this aspect of training and allow their students to walk around with false confidence. What I would like to avoid is playing into either extreme and find a balance between the two.

You want an equalizer? Walk around with a stun-gun, a blade, a handgun and gnarly pitbull and or chiwawa with rabies.

Old Guy said...

there's a lot of talk of 'street situations'. Just a show of hands, how many have been involved in 1?

As for me, thankfully I run better than I 'fight'..lol

Andrew LEE said...

Not sure if you consider this a street fight.

My mate and i spotted a group of teenagers spraying graffitti artwork to a nearby building. There were 4 of them. We yelled at them and they ran.

However, I did manage to catch hold of one and put him in a hapkido style wrist lock (due to my hapkido training) while my mate called the police. I kept this guy in a wrist lock until the police arrive.

Though i cross train in BJJ, it never occur to me to apply the techniques that i learn in my BJJ classes. No guard, no fanciful moves. Just plain simply wrist lock.

As there were just the 2 of us against 4 teenagers, we were easily outnumbered. So going to the ground is definitely not an option.

Anonymous said...

Why the hell would you wristlock someone who is spraying grafitti? Is he defacing your house? What's your problem man?

LUKE said...

I attended a massive BJJ seminar with over a dozen black-belts sharing techniques for charity.


One of the black-belts was a retired correctional-officer but still active as an instructor. He shared with us some insightful details concerning what you can be prosecuted for as a 'person with training'. Regardless if you're a white-belt or black-belt, due to your training you can and will be prosecuted as a person who can impose significant physical threat should the other person press charges.

Because of this fact, the techniques used to control another person must demonstrate 100% control and with no risk of permanent damage or intention to injure. I know this sounds kinda vague but what it comes down to is, if you hurt the guy despite them breaking the law, they can still sue you for being a trained person and abusing your ability to cause injury.

So, the techniques shared by this black-belt had to do with wrist locks and wrist-holds to control and subdue the person to the floor, resting on their belly.

I think this is probably the more practical optional, with less liability.

@Andrew Lee: I used to vandalize and write graffiti when I was a kid cause I was bored and didn't know where to expend my energy in a productive way. Not sure what threat these kids posed to you but if it were me, I would have spooked him and let him go. Perhaps I've got my bias, haha.

@Old Guy: I've only been in a handful of fights in my lifetime, most of which were before college and before BJJ. The one time as an adult was totally embarrassing with no sign of technique. Imagine a drunken windmill. I was an idiot that night, haha.

LUKE said...

Actually, you know what. I would not have bothered at all with a bunch of kids writing some graffiti. I probably would have stood there, watched what they did and judged if they were good at it or not.

If it was my house, my places of business or of someone else I knew, I would have chased them off, if I caught one spook them and let go.

There's no getbacks that way.

Andrew LEE said...

The teenagers were spraying graffitti at my neighbour's house and at that time, that area was notorious with kids spraying graffitti and each time the council people came and clean it up, the graffitti came back again. It came to a stage where talking to these kids was useless. The police could do nothing cos each time when they arrived, the kids would have been long gone.

Anonymous said...

"My mate and i spotted a group of teenagers spraying graffitti artwork to a nearby building"

"The teenagers were spraying graffitti at my neighbour's house"

Dear Andrew,

1. Chasing teenagers and putting them in a wrist lock is not a street fight

2. Why the change of scenery after Luke's comment? You and your mate couldn't differentiate a nearby building from your neighbour's house?

Irregularities like these and your comments such as "it never occur to me to apply the techniques that i learn in my BJJ classes. No guard, no fanciful moves"
compel me to question, are you trying to positively contribute to this discussion or are you saying that Hapkido is the more effective martial art?

Please keep in mind that the article merely provoked a discussion regarding competitive aspects of BJJ and you instead have turned it into a street fight scenario discussion.

I believe, as martial arts practitioners or not, the best way to handle a street situation is to do our best to not get involved in one in the first place.

Keep a cool head, and only engage if the other party chooses to.

No martial art can fully prepare you for a group street fight or a situation where you are faced with more than one individual and there are so many variables to consider such as whether the individuals are armed or if there is anything nearby that can be used as a deadly weapon.

Avoid, where possible. Engage, when necessary. And run, if possible. That is the best way to handle a street fight.

Anonymous said...

You may say that sport BJJ has some impractical aspects for self defense such as jumping guard. A BJJ match is different from an MMA fight and different from a "street fight." People pull guard because they don't want to lose a BJJ match that doesn't mean they would necessarily do that in another situation. Don't get them confused. Most martial arts or self defense tactics are more about crisis management than fighting which are two different things. To a large extent concepts of fighting and violence have been corrupted by hollywood and other romantic views of how it goes down. Usually its not so clean cut or fair etc. Of all the martial arts BJJ has the most realistic competition. In a "street fight" if you double leg someone get back and RNC its just as effective on that mat and the street. Lets be honest competition keeps the cheats and phoneys at bay. Karate, TKD, Judo have devolved so much they arent even considered by many top MMA fighters because precisely their competition has been so diluted. Not to say that if it doesn't work in the cage then it wont work every, the world is a crazy place. If you want to defend yourself off the mat may I recommend, a gun, knife, pepperspray or tazer. Removing competition from BJJ is counter productive. Balance in everything not everyone needs to go crazy and compete but everyone should compete to understand the difference between competing and rolling. The intensity and focus is just different. Removing competition from bjj and watering it down is counter productive. I guess if this line of thought continues people like me will continue to evolve in another direction. All martial arts have good technique and should be respected but there has to be a way of distilling the knowledge and removing what is not useful. Times and the necessity of techniques change but competition has always been a method to determine the most effective technique.

Vince Choo said...

Here's a discussion on a related topic:


Anonymous said...

Ahh the age old argument, we're going in circles here. Nonetheless, I still the guy was being an ass for wristlocking that kid.

Anonymous said...

Well, isn't this an article that has bogged my mind for all the times i've been training BJJ. I've had some concerns (after training BJJ for a while) regarding the sports vs the 'Helio Gracie' BJJ (if i may termed it that way). While i simply train BJJ (learning whatever that's taught to me), i also maintain a personal observation/discretion of the practicality of the moves to that of street survival efficiency.

For me, one simple truth holds: no Martial Arts/Self-Defense is 100% GUARANTEE effective against a mass attack (i suppose there are certain exceptions/stories to that). Sports BJJ is a healthy way to train and compete/test. Training for self defense is a healthy way to facilitate easing one's fear of being to defend themselves and their love ones. Combine both, one will train to be healthy, aware and ready while learning to differentiate what's usable and what's not in BJJ Self Defense.

As for the article shared by Vince, i don't think it meant that they will train and forget competitions. Even Rorion's sons had competed while questioning (if one may put it that way)the efficiency of sports BJJ in supplementing the seld-defense aspects (only) of BJJ. I guess it just means that they will roll and train hard, but they will do so in a respectful and (certain) consideration for their training partner and not let ego get in their training way where they seek to 'kill, destroy or embarrass' their training partner". I guess so, i can't conform that of course...only Vince or Rigan i guess. Take out ego and replace with humility and respect and all else will usually fall into place (something like that).

I was involved in a 'scuffle'. I wasn't the intended target, but man, i can tell it was a fucking mess. Can't tell who's friend and who's foe while trying to protect our friend (who was the unfortunate target). But i'd say that the first thing is to use yer FUCKING BRAIN. Run if needed. But otherwise, no fucking way i was think jump/pull guard there. Only boxing, throws and quick takedowns (if that was even possible). Well, i guess God blessed me that day with a brain so i made it out ok while my friend had some bruises but luckily nothing serious. And in case any smartass was thinking why i didn't fight with my friend...it was because i didn't that i was able to see and prevent him from being stab from behind. :-)

Anyway, i'm sliding towards Michael Webber's comments. Cheers all. Thanks for an interesting and constructive insight into this 'discussion'.

~BJJ Dude~

Anonymous said...

To the last poster, who said that most people who compete are egotistical? That is what you and the initial article implied.

That is far from the truth, as anyone who has competed will know

Anonymous said...

"To the last poster, who said that most people who compete are egotistical? That is what you and the initial article implied."

??? I didn't say that now did I. LOL...


Anonymous said...

'I guess it just means that they will roll and train hard, but they will do so in a respectful and (certain) consideration for their training partner and not let ego get in their training way where they seek to 'kill, destroy or embarrass' their training partner".'

It was implied through this sentence. If you are quoting the article, then my bad.

But I still disagree with the thinly veiled attack nonetheless, whoever it came from. Cheap shot

Anonymous said...

Please indicate with detail exactly where and how was that paragraph of any indication or stated implicitly that "most people who COMPETE are egotistical"???

Because i don't see any of such notion or expression in my paragraph. Furthermore, i wrote "I guess...", which means that i could be wrong and hence stand to be corrected. But not by you or any others...but by Vince or Rigan in that sense. I was referring to the article shared by him and merely making an assumption of what they might meant..in relation to TRAINING and not competition. i could be wrong, but its up to him to correct me.

I hope this clears things up a bit. PHEW~~~~ man u guys are tough in your grilling!! Nice!!

BJJ Dude

Anonymous said...

To BJJ Dude

I can see your point. I don't see any sort of attacks on BJJ competitors. As for Vince's article...debatable. Endless in fact.

To each their own. Let's just just enjoy BJJ in our own way.

Vince Choo said...

Thanks for the comments and continued interest in this. I know this approach to BJJ is not for all.

If you look at folks like Renzo Gracie, Royler Gracie, Jean Jacques Machado (since we're almost discussing their relatives) they are highly competition orientated.

Like many of the anonymous posters have indicated, we agree to do our own thing.

I guess for some, only time will tell whether they (1) will still be training in 3, 5, 7, 10 years' time, (2) whether they are still competing when they are in their 30's, 40's, 50's, (3) whether they are injured and only full of war stories and don't get the respect they *might* feel entitled to at that stage of their training, (4) would appreciate their ability to continue training but at a pace that's not always "balls-to-the-wall" competition intensity in the future.

We have to remember that the original intention of BJJ / Gracie Jiu Jitsu was never for competition and was designed for self preservation and as a way to test out the effectiveness the early jiu jitsu challenges were almost always against other styles of martial arts. I think this one of the main reasons why the late Helio wore his blue belt in protest to the changes made to his art when he is in Brazil.

Again, I'm only reporting fact and that should not be debateable. The only point of contention is whether BJJ should make competition mandatory as part of the art. A quick check on Wiki will indicate that the competition-only schools are a minority, with the majority offering competition as an option and the other minority being academies that do not require competitions at all.

Since I've drawn a line in the sand and not a fence-sitter, folks should be very clear on where I stand so there are no pretense on the "if, but, then" scenarios.

Indeed, there are many paths to the top of the mountain and I'll end this discussion with this:

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. ~ Jesse Jackson

Anonymous said...

Doesn't your academy teach sport jiu jitsu?

Vince Choo said...

Yes, that's the BJJ program led by Sam Wee under John Will (Australia).

I lead the CMD program which is primarily a stand up but has Rigan Machado also as our technical leader in the Monkey Jits.

Anonymous said...

Just for clarification, didn't you learn BJJ under Sam who taught you from being a complete beginner and graded you all the way to purple?

Seems a bit of a cheek to make a differentiation in the style of jiu jitsu you are teaching now that you're a brown under Rodney.

I don't know what they call it in Malaysia but in most places that do jiu jitsu we call that 'creonte'.

From my understanding, your academy is teaching two different styles of jiu jitsu? Are you serious? So who grades who? Do you have a blue belt in 'monkey jits' and someone else who might be a white or a purple in a John Will/Sam lineage? That's ridiculous.

Albert said...

I've trained in the BJJ program at KDT for 3+ years, starting in 2005. I am also an active competitor in Jiu-Jitsu, and have been competing since 2007.

Vince has never tried to hold me back from competing. He has always been supportive of my efforts and celebrated my successes with me. Even though he doesn't compete in BJJ himself, he's been a tremendous help to me as a competition BJJ player.

He's open with me on his personal views re: competition, but still respects and supports my decision to compete. Vince is a gentleman on and off the mats, and I'm very honoured to have trained with him for as long as I have. Even though I moved away from KL, he's still a really positive influence and a great friend.

Anonymous said...

Albert, that's great, and i'm sure Vince is an absolutely wonderful guy. It doesn't quite address the problem with regards to gradings in jiu jitsu within the same academy.

Is a blue belt in Monkey jits a blue belt in jiu jitsu? Or not? Or is it the grade in jiu jitsu via the other organisation within the same academy the belt that counts. It's all a bit silly no?

Do you mind me asking who you represent when you compete? Yourself, KDTA, SEABJJ? Who will then grade you later on in life? Will it be Sam/Vince or another teacher?

The point I was hinting at, is that it appears very confusing and is all very muddled. And particularly in a country like Malaysia where jiu jitsu is still relatively new, it is important to ingrain concepts like lineage and academy into the new generation of jiu jitsu students.

Otherwise, the sport, the art and the beauty of jiu jitsu will undoubtedly be tarnished by people constantly switching affiliations and belt chasing.

Anonymous said...

Interesting point brought up by the poster above.

Vince Choo said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your interest and I'm flattered that you know so much about me. To clarify, I started my BJJ with Sam (when he was a blue belt), Richard Hutson (when he was a blue belt), and Adam Kayoom (when he was a purple belt). Sam got his blue belt from John Will (Australia). Adam was graded by Brazilian Top Team in Brazil. Adam awarded Sam his purple belt in 2004. Sam graded me to blue belt in the same year. John Will graded Sam to brown belt and me to purple belt (you can still see my name on John Will's website). Sam did not grade me to purple. Rodney King graded me to purple stripe a year later and this year Rodney graded me to brown.
Both Rodney King and John Will are black belts under Master Rigan Machado and aside from Sam's purple belt from Prof. Adam Kayoom (now black belt under Master Liborio: American Top Team), I don't see how this can be "creonte" for 3 reasons:
Firstly, my participation in BJJ is at my own academy. I have never skipped from academy to academy. I have participated in seminars at other locations but I have always trained and been graded at KDT since forever. I have always "worn" the colours of KDT.
Secondly, my grades have been consistently been via the Machado BJJ, specifically, all my teachers trace their jiu jitsu knowledge back to Rigan Machado.
Thirdly, with that logic in mind, you can't label someone as a "creonte" for learning calculus from one teacher and statistics from another teacher at the same university, which in essence what I have been doing. If nothing else, this has been the most consistent feature.
"Creonte" not only jump from gym to gym but they also wear the different gym/representation at the "flavour of the month" gym when they compete. I have done neither.
Hopes this clarifies the ranking for you and I don't see it as being cheeky in the least. In fact I have been assisting Sam to teach his BJJ classes since 2004 until I focused more on the CM program in recent years. When Sam is away or ill, I still stand in as the replacement trainer to present day.
Our boundaries are clear and we present no threat to each other's programs much like how Luke has the different Bangkok BJJ groups working under a unified body. Important lessons to be learned from that. I don't subscribe to the territorial, us vs. them, tribal mindset. Everyone has something to share and we can learn from everyone.
When Rodney offered the Monkey Jits as an alternative and complementary jiu jitsu program as part of the CM, I can see how it would benefit my existing clients at no extra cost so I jumped at the opportunity.

(continued in the next reply)

Vince Choo said...

The BJJ situation in my academy is such that Sam teaches BJJ and I teach the CMD. Within the CMD there is the Monkey Jits program that is available to its members. There are some who train in both and I have no problems with that. It's only that Monkey Jits members will be graded only by Rodney. We have different clients in the BJJ and CMD programs with a one or two people doing both.
At my Monkey Jits grading I had to roll with Prof. Adam Kayoom, Wayne Ardley (purple belt from Melbourne under John Will), Yuri Amadin (purple belt from Jakarta, now brown under Rodney with 15 years BJJ training), Albert Lim (Studio23, Kuching), and about 4 or 5 more from my academy. I believe that is a fair representation of BJJ standards
as it was also the first time I've rolled with these gentlemen in some cases. I don't claim to be the best or greatest grappler. In fact I started to learn BJJ to fill the lack of knowledge on my ground skills and a self-preservation situation. As a program leader, with responsibility to my clients, I feel it is also my duty for them to see me progress so that my clients also know that they will progress and become better people on and off the mats too.
As for the local BJJ scene, where I live there are only 2 other BJJ schools. One of which is affiliated to Sam led by Jensen Lee (purple belt) and the other is led by Prof. Escobar. at CheckMat with affiliates in Sabah. I don't see with the brevity of choice what confusion this might lead to. Folks who like to compete head over to Prof. Escobar. Folks who train for recreation and sometimes compete train with Sam and those who are in the CMD program train with me. Individually we provide an option for each segment of what BJJ has to offer.
I've just drawn a line in the sand and defined what I do. I don't want to give the impression that I'm sitting on the fence and not have the integrity to stand by my beliefs and actions. I won't take on a client to tell them 50/50, half-hearted reasons of what you can or should or must do without understanding where I'm coming from.
I'll conclude my response with this:
Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

Bunda Gorda said...

"Folks who like to compete head over to Prof. Escobar" - that's a bit presumptuous

I've checked Prof. Escobar's credentials online and he seems to have quite a bit of experience and is a black belt to boot. (only one in Malaysia?)

Maybe, just maybe, people head over to him to get the best instructions in BJJ currently available in Malaysia. Hell, he could be a great guy for all I know. Maybe that's another reason

Vince Choo said...

Hi Bunda Gorda

"Maybe, just maybe, people head over to him to get the best instructions in BJJ currently available in Malaysia. Hell, he could be a great guy for all I know. Maybe that's another reason"

By my exclusion and your assumption, you read into what I didn't explicitly say about Prof. Escobar or any of the other names mentioned in my article.

Firstly, I don't like to talk about anyone behind their backs.

Secondly, my limited experience with Prof. Escobar has been an informal meeting and some friendly email business exchanges. I have nothing bad to say about Prof. Escobar.

There is no denying that he is the only and highest ranking BJJ Black belt residing in Malaysia.There is no denying that he has the most international level competition experience in Malaysia. I also say that he is a great guy and has a solid BJJ team in Malaysia. I know some of his clients and they are great people. People whom I know and my friends who have met and trained with him have only good things to say so that's good enough for me.

However, it seems that you are attempting to stir up a situation that is unwarranted by my not stating my position on every person mentioned in my article.

You can read into it what you like but I have no problems with Prof. Escobar or his team. In fact I'm happy that he has a presence in Malaysia as it will only improve our jiu jitsu in the country.

By your own statement you make the assumption that everyone else is no good, a bad person or lack in technical instruction and ability? Your interpretation cuts both ways. Do you see how flawed that is?

I don't wish to digress and start talking about people on a personal level on a public forum.

I don't want to offend anyone "by saying what I didn't say" and such nonsense and hope future responses are on topic.


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