The Grappling Community
By Syl Peterkin, Real Combat Media MMA Correspondent
Practitioners of Grappling martial arts will often speak about the diverse community and the inclusiveness of the people who train in their particular craft. Often many coaches, masters and sensei’s are will not only know each other but will know the particular grappling strategy of each other. The knowledge of grappling activities may come about as a result of training under the same instructors, competing against each other, observing the techniques of students during competitions, or even student who cross trained.
Some instructors recognize their abilities/limitations as well as limitations and the abilities of other instructors. There are occasions when an instructor altruistically thinks according to the needs of the students and will send a student to train at another school in order to help in the overall development of their student. In Judo, this can happen a decent amount of time. Judo instructors will often speak to each other to ask for permission to teach another Sensei’s student. If permission isn’t granted, a student can get turned down. The brotherhood often is stronger in the community of Judo than in an individual school. In BJJ, a student may go to another instructor for improvement. If permission isn’t granted for a student to train somewhere else they can be labeled a Creonte (or traitor). In BJJ, the sense of brotherhood is often stronger in the school than in that of the community. In wrestling it is a mix as many schools and programs are scholastic based and wrestlers will go to a different school for high school as well as college, thus cross training is commonplace.
Many instructors are not generalists but often specialize in various techniques. You will see that Helio Gracie was a specialist at the teaching of close guard based techniques which proved to be quite effective in cross style competitions. That was until Helio’s students faced the students of Oswaldo Fadda (an arguable founder of BJJ) who were adept at leg submissions. In an inter school competition Helio’s students were defeated 19 out of 20 matches by Fadda’s students. Helio falsely believed that his slow attrition based method of attack was all that was needed for success. This method works well in a rule set where there is no determined winner based on judges, there is no time limit and against a single opponent. A number of Helio’s students including Rolls Gracie, and Rickson Gracie understood the benefits of cross training and revolutionized their abilities. Rolls would bring Rickson to train with individuals such as Brazilian National Judo Champion George Mehdi. Rickson himself trained in freestyle wrestling and was a two time Brazilian wrestling champion Rolls who competed in freestyle wrestling, Sambo as well as Judo is often considered to be the best Gracie ever. Rolls, Rickson, as well as Carlson, Jr. borrowed heavily from Judo, Sambo and Wrestling to improve BJJ. This is the same way that Jigoro Kano (the founder of Judo) borrowed heavily from various styles of Japanese Jujitsu to form Judo and improved them by allowing for randori (rolling).
I have had been sent to out to other Sensei’s with the words “there is only so much I can do for you, to compete you must train with other instructors as well to fully maximize your abilities.” This cross training allowed me to become far better and to find numerous ways to win matches. Students under me who cross train maximize their potential. Other instructors are shocked at how good some of my students at Revival Judo have become in a short time. Senior students from other schools have said I have been training Judo for 15 years and only learned a technique in the past 2 years, while I have shown techniques to my students in their first year of training. If a student has the capacity and desire to learn, what is the benefit in stopping them from improving?
The love of grappling that practitioners have demonstrated only serves to benefit the growth of themselves as well as the community as a whole. The words “I didn’t know you trained here,” are said more often than not when you see a fellow student training at another facility as well. So go out, if you have permission cross train. Fully immerse yourself so that you can enjoy the family, unity and brotherhood of the grappling community.
On March 27, 2016, Revival Judo will be holding the Veterans Memorial Newaza / Groundfighting Tournament. This tournament is open to all grapplers including BJJ, Sambo, Wrestlers, and Judoka. Feel free to participate at www.Judonewaza.com . You can also serve as a sponsor for the tournament at the website. Registration, rules and sponsor forms are available at www.judonewaza.com . A portion of the proceeds will be donated towards Military Veteran’s organizations.
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