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Anaconda No-Gi UnderGround >> Miguel Torres Self-Demotion: A No-Gi Perspective


2/5/11 1:08 AM
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Tap21
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The recent decision of Miguel Torres to demote himself from the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rank of black belt to brown belt has raised many questions about disrespect towards Carlson Gracie, Jr., who originally gave Torres his BJJ black Belt. But, many think it raises even more important questions about the defining characteristics of the holder of this prestigious rank.

On one side you have the chorus of sport BJJ practitioners who are loudly proclaiming that the BJJ black belt is only about sport BJJ skill and that MMA and wrestling skills are extraneous to that skillset. Why would you need wrestling when only Judo is necessary in the gi? Why do you need any takedown skills at all when you can become proficient at guard pulling and sweeping?

However, to supporters of Torres' wrestling/MMA motivated self-demotion this conception of sport BJJ as synonymous with BJJ rings of revisionist history and a recent trend aimed at making BJJ more palatable to the general public by removing all traces of MMA and vale tudo.

Torres' supporters point out that the first UFC occurred in 1993, while the vaunted BJJ Mundials (sport BJJ world championships) did not happen for the first time until 1996. While it is true that sport BJJ competition certainly existed prior to the Mundials, it is also true that vale tudo matches (bare knuckle no-rules fights) were an integral part of the BJJ story from the beginning (and even before that if you count Mitsuya Mayeda's challenge contests all over the world prior to his settling in Brazil). In fact, it is an oft repeated mantra of some members of the Helio Gracie line of the Gracie family (the commonly accepted founders of BJJ), that BJJ was NEVER about sport BJJ, it was always about fighting opponents in the street. Those same individuals think that many of the fancy complicated moves common in sport BJJ are a type of carnival sideshow distracting from the main purpose of BJJ.

The difference in these two philosophies has been vividly displayed in certain instances of highly decorated sport BJJ competitors being demolished in MMA and MMA stars being destroyed in sport BJJ. The author of this post personally watched live both Alexandre "Cafe" Dantes being punched into near obliteration in the downed guard in the UFC, and George St. Pierre being the target of a beautiful and painfully quick flying armbar in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championships (although submission wrestling is not strictly sport BJJ....it is close enough to the point). The much discussed MMA debut of Marcelo Garcia, in which MMA-wrestling skill was certainly an issue one way or another, also comes to mind.

Even the techniques of these camps of BJJ practitioners are beginning to diverge. In sport BJJ you have commonly employed techniques like the inverted guard, the deep halfguard, and the 50/50 guard the application of which might present some pretty significant hurdles in the face punching environment of MMA. As of now, there are sport BJJ practitioners who will make whole careers of pulling guards and using moves like these. While it may be too early to embrace the semi-controversial view of some that these are "non-MMA moves", today it is easy to imagine the existence a hypothetical sport BJJ practitioner who could become a BJJ BB (perhaps specializing in certain "non-MMA moves") and never develop some of the wrestling skills necessary to employ his BJJ effectively in MMA even against athletic "MMA based" opponents with much less total training time.

So, Miguel Torres' bold symbolic statement may be more a symptom of a growing tear in the BJJ flag than the start of a new one. It seems like more and more, you have most of the BJJ community focusing solely on sport BJJ and a select few constantly trying to adapt BJJ to make it more efficient in mixed martial arts.

Maybe Miguel Torres is correct. Maybe if a black belt in BJJ is going to continue to mean in MMA what it once did, it will have to incorporate significant standards of grappling expertise more common in the world of folkstyle, freestyle, and greco-roman wrestling. Maybe the average sport BJJ practitioner will even have to focus more on leg locks despite their limited use under the IBJJF rules....gasp!

Maybe if these changes aren’t widely accepted, it will even drive more and more MMA and submission wrestling minded BJJ practitioners towards 100% Pure No-Gi Training. If the BJJ Black Belt doesn’t represent the paramount skill set in your chosen area of interest (MMA and submission wrestling), then why continue your hobby of BJJ belt collecting. Why not just pursue that paramount skill set in its purest form without the distraction of BJJ belts dependent on a special full body uniform.

Tap21
2/6/11 5:56 PM
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PrettyBoy
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American JJ. It's the future. Phone Post
2/6/11 10:25 PM
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Hodgeny
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FRAT!

And when people become bored of the current sprawl-n-brawl in MMA, and decide to make the fighters wear clothing (as per a normal street fight) ... then your ideals will change again.
2/7/11 2:49 AM
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Tap21
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PrettyBoy - American JJ. It's the future. <img src="/images/phone/post_tag.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>



Yep.
2/7/11 3:01 AM
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Tap21
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Hodgeny - FRAT!

And when people become bored of the current sprawl-n-brawl in MMA, and decide to make the fighters wear clothing (as per a normal street fight) ... then your ideals will change again.


Depends on what you think is normal clothing for a street fight.

In a lot of places people just wear t-shirts that easily tear when grabbed. In the winter, I don't see a lot of fighting taking place in the street. It usually happens in a bar after everyone has taken off their coats and are usually wearing something close to a t-shirt that easily tears or gets pulled off.

So, I don't know if the approximation of street fighting clothes is a good justification for the gi......unless you are going to time travel back to feudal Japan and get into a fight.

For me, training doesn't have anything to do with street fighting or self-defense. But, if it did, I would want a grappling style that would work no matter what the guy is wearing....and for me that is no-gi.

Besides, if you wanted to approximate modern clothing with your gi, you should have a gi t-shirt, a gi polo shirt, a gi tank top, and etc. I don't see many gi guys doing that. The intent seems to be more focused on emulating feudal Japanese clothing.
2/8/11 9:40 PM
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hiptosser
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Eddie Bravo on the other hand seems to equate archaic medieval systems like Data-Ryu, Aikido, and made up systems like Goshin jujitsu to 10th planet rank.
2/9/11 12:15 AM
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Tap21
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hiptosser - Eddie Bravo on the other hand seems to equate archaic medieval systems like Data-Ryu, Aikido, and made up systems like Goshin jujitsu to 10th planet rank.


Who said anything about 10th Planet or Eddie Bravo?
2/9/11 2:08 PM
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hiptosser
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It relates to your point about normal clothing in a fight, feudal Japanese garb etc.,neither of which were mentioned in the original and post.
2/9/11 3:19 PM
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Tap21
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Fair enough...but this thread is about no-gi in general, 10th Planet is just one among many no-gi gyms.

2/9/11 9:02 PM
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poober
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T-shirts don't rip that easily, especially at the collar. You can choke the shit out of someone in a T-shirt.

Marcelo Garcia was dominating until he got cut, but I get your point. IMHO most BJJ guys try too hard to show they are well rounded MMA fighters before they actually are. I haven't seen too many instances where the BJJ guy gets the fight to the ground and looks out of place because they train in a uniform.

2/9/11 10:34 PM
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Tap21
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Yes, you can also choke the shit out of someone with an RNC.

Last year I was at a bachelor party in Vegas. Some dude got drunk and decided to surprise me with a double as I came out of the bathroom. Within about 30 seconds of us hitting the ground, the shoulder of my shirt along with my collar had torn away in his hand from the rest of my shirt. Shirts also get pulled off pretty easy.

I'm not saying that will happen every time, but it happens enough that you can't count on modern clothes to provide you with the same grips as reinforced simulated feudal Japanese clothes.

However, unless you get an armless man, your no-gi grips will always be there.
2/10/11 11:58 AM
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mmanthebay
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American JJ!!!!!! Phone Post

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