Friday, March 21, 2014

On Saving Sport Jiu-Jitsu from Itself

There's a lot to like in Rafael Lovato Jr.'s must-hear critique of contemporary jiu-jitsu. The idea that the decline of sport jiu-jitsu coincides with the move of the World championships from Brazil to the United States is just one of the more interesting and provocative points Lovato makes. It really is a manifesto worth listening to in its entirety.

If I differ with Rafael in any meaningful way it's that the changes he rightly seeks won't come about by way of a change in mindset. There are rewards for the kind of jiu-jitsu neither one of us can stand, and until those rewards and incentives are removed or mitigated, the jiu-jitsu we both loathe is likely to endure.

This is why submission only tournaments are important and should spread. This is why Kron Gracie's critique of grip fighting in jiu-jitsu is so illuminating. You want to see some exciting gi jiu-jitsu? Add submission-only rules and stalling penalties for gi grips held for longer than it takes to tie your belt.