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Canada UnderGround >> What is holding back our BJJ competitors?


8/3/12 12:10 PM
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karmarep
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This is a pointless thread. Everyone does the sport or art at the level they personally feel is best for them and we need a wide range to make BJJ grow. You need grass roots level and pro level competitors.

In the end BJJ is about developing better people. Some clubs do that through competition others do it through self defence (Rener Gracie for example). I think the balance is somewhere in middle.

A medal at the worlds is very impressive.. But watching a non-athletic middle age man progress and learn to defend himself and his family is just as impressive.

8/3/12 1:19 PM
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Mark Stables
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Who is poking fun at being successful ? Emulating a business model is fine. josh runs a very successful school, no doubt about it. That's why he can afford to sponsor his athletes.
I didn't question his ability to make money, never did. I just called him on his bullshiting and his deplorable reputation of trying to sabotage other schools and his overall moral bankruptcy . is he a "force of evil"?? No just a petty manipulator . Some ppl have a short memory, I don't.

8/3/12 7:18 PM
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trianglegrrl
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Edited: 08/06/12 11:25 AM
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Removed to reduce drama.
8/4/12 2:09 AM
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robert bentley
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I'm sorry but I just have to call bullshit on a few of your points trianglegrrl; and if you were truly honest with yourself you would admit that there are other reasons (besides "being honest") that lead you to make those comments.

I've never had a different screen name than my real name on this site because I stand by my opinions. I only mention this because I make these comments for no "political" reason, only because it's what I believe and have arrived at after careful consideration.

At one point or another I've trained with Mark Stables, Elliot Bayev, Steve Lin, Omar Salvosa and a few other members of this great BJJ community we have. If you ask anyone they will tell you I haven't said anything bad about any of these competitors/instructors. I've had great experiences with all of them and I find it disheartening that petty squabbles are negatively effecting the community.

I have been training at TBJJ since late 2007 and will address each of your points:

1) "a good instructor" - Inaccurate - we have two amazing black belt instructors, lead by a person with incredible passion for the sport itself and for its spread (Jorge Britto). Besides that we have several highly experienced Brown and purple belt instructors that help with the classes.

These black belts (Jorge and Eduardo) aren't "visiting" black belts either. They're the full time teachers that everyone has access too throughout the week. So "a good instructor" is not quite accurate as it's a gross understatement.

2)Lots of training partners - No argument there.

3) "Money that allows them to cherry-pick and fund top competitors" - Yes the academy makes money...yes some of this money is used to help some of the students. Where you're wrong is when you use the term "cherry-pick". Everyone can potentially have access to some help if they can put the time in to train.

You list a small percentage of the great competitors we have, and not all of them have this miraculous thing called "talent". Most of them, actually - just work really hard at a sport they love.

Jorge pushes everybody during the more competitive classes. Of course most of the classes are just about learning the art of Jiu Jitsu and improving yourself, but when it is a competition team training class; everybody gets pushed to a point beyond where they were.

There is no cherry-picking where they forget the rest of the team. Jorge is emphatically proud of the whole team. Your use of the term "cherry-pick" makes it sound like they ignore the rest, which is demonstrably false.

4) "cultural emphasis on the importance of competition" - Agreed, but with a caveat; competition IS important. No, it's not the be all and end all of everything, but it's a great test that I believe everyone should undertake. You learn more about yourself when you encounter the unknown and when you put yourself in those "fight or flight" situations...the butterflies in your stomach as you stand across from a person you've never met.

I think every academy would do well to realize what an important tool competition is, and I believe there are a number of great academies out there that do.

Surely come competition time you do your best to "rally the troops"? I see facebook posts from my friends in other great academies in GTA, academies like Open Mat, Mecca, Bravado etc. stating how they're all getting fired up for competition X and that there is specific training FOR those competitions.

5) "We're awesome and everybody else sucks" dynamic?? Really?

We're proud of our accomplishments, our academy, our professor, and our training partners. Obviously we believe that we're in the best training environment we could be in (otherwise we'd be at another academy, duh). But it's not a "we're good - the rest sucks" attitude. It's simple pride in what we're doing.

Please don't let your bitterness colour the natural pride a good BJJ team would have for petty denigration of other academies.

I wish all the competitors that could make it out to the event this weekend the best of luck and best of health, regardless of the academy they're from.

Well run tournaments are a celebration of a beautiful sport, and we should consider ourselves lucky to have access to these kinds of competitions. Instead it seems that we're quick to condemn an entire team on perhaps a collection of not carefully chosen words...or simply because of a previous gripe.

Best of luck and best of health to you too trianglegrrl.



8/4/12 12:23 PM
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D.Rothwell
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Well said Robert Bentley

Dave Rothwell

GracieBarraVernon.ca
8/4/12 12:30 PM
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trianglegrrl
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Edited: 08/06/12 11:25 AM
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Removed to reduce drama.
8/4/12 12:58 PM
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Dougie
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 I'm pretty sure Fateh should get some kind of gov't funding to put up with me at his club.

...I'm just sayin' is all...

:)
8/4/12 1:34 PM
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robert bentley
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"Where have I said anything bad about your instructor or your competitors?"

When you say there's a petty culture where we focus on saying "everyone else sucks" you're insulting the academy.

My complaint wasn't that you didn't say Jorge was great, my complaint is that you use the singular form instead of the plural...which you use to bolster your other point about "individual attention". We have two full time and highly skilled instructors, 3 Brown belt instructors (2 of which who are always helping out with the larger classes) and 4 or 5 purple belts who also help with the classes.

People at the academy get a great deal of individual attention.

Now I know you're a supporter of the scientific method and a more skeptical approach to analysis, so I ask you this. If you were presented 10 anecdotal stories from people who weren't happy with something and ignored literally hundreds of satisfied stories (members who renew at the club every year) would you be engaging in biased or un-biased reporting?

Not everyone is going to be happy with Toronto BJJ. Nor will everyone be happy with Open Mat, Mecca, Lin's BJJ, Ascension, Bravado, or any number of other clubs. I'm sure if it's something that I was paying attention to I could catalog a fair number of dissatisfied students from the academies your supporting. There are a fair number of people at our gym that used to train elsewhere too you know.

With respect to Cherry-Picking -- that's correct. If someone puts the time and effort into training and shows a good deal of dedication, they'll get the support. The list of people who got a medal from the World's is smaller than the list of people who were sent.

There have also been big trips organized to many other events (such as the trials in Montreal, Grappler's Quest etc. Naga a few years ago, New York, Pan Ams, No gi worlds etc etc.) - some of which I've been a part of.

Just off the top of my head, the list of people who do really well at competitions (both locally and abroad) from our gym:

Nathaniel Sagman,
Gabe Sagman,
Reuben Sagman,
Eric Phan,
Jhalan Lahoni,
Roya Lahoni,
Matt Pasquale,
Tomasz Guimares,
Firdav Sulemov (sorry about the spelling of this and the one above)
Melissa Biscardi,
Thomas Beach,
Mike Zaniewski,
Alessandro Roman,
Jon-Taine Hall,
Oscar Dewindt,
Ryan O'Shea,
Nathan Rector,
Kevin Mackenzie,


I know I'm missing quite a few - but to even remotely suggest that they would all be great competitors regardless of where they trained IS an insult. Of course a great deal has to be credited to their hard-work and dedication, but a significant percentage of their success is down to the great training and myriad of dedicated training partners at the gym.

Lastly - using "talent" as a way to discredit the effort and support of the Toronto BJJ team, particularly the influence of Jorge Britto and Eduardo Dib as head instructors. Every person you list puts an enormous amount of time on the mat training, and they do so under very good instruction.

To summarize - Yes sometimes Josh can be inelegant, yes he can (and has) rubbed some people the wrong way. However, what you've done is you've ran with this and decided to try to view the entire club in a negative light based on your opinion of Josh.

If this isn't the case, then why do you show obvious bias by taking the word of so few (by your admission...maybe 10?) when compared to so many more?

You say you're looking at the evidence - but I've just presented a great deal of evidence to the contrary, particularly to your very small selection of anecdotes. Yes the class sizes can be large at times, but we usually have 2 or 3 assistants walking around as well as Jorge (or Eduardo) directing them. Yes we like to compete - but we support anyone who wants to go that way. Yes we think highly of our club, but emphatically no - we're not "all other clubs suck". I'm at the club 5 days a week and I honestly can't remember the last time another club was mentioned in a negative light.

Look - I think you're a great person and I admire a good deal of what you're trying to achieve both on the mats and off. I'm a big fan of a lot of the members from the "old school" BJJ in Toronto days - all the way back from Dojo Cafe onwards.

I'm just not a fan of the political BS that seems to be colouring people's vision of Jiu Jitsu. We have some amazing and incredible opportunities in this province and this collective dislike for an entire club based on nothing more than a dislike for one of its members is saddening to say the least.


8/4/12 3:19 PM
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D.Rothwell
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I never read Josh's post as a dig at other teams, a large group of us travel down to LA on a regular basis to compete and Toronto bjj has always been a class act on and off the mats, their structure and instruction is solid.

Dave Rothwell

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8/4/12 3:24 PM
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Mark Stables
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Geez Robert, I don't think there is a collective dislike for TBJJ. Just a collective dislike for Josh Rapport, his business practices and his constant shit talking, lies and attacks on other academies. And Josh is not just "one of it's members". He is the owner, spokesman and very public face of your academy.
He makes outrageous inflammatory statements about other teams and instructors and is the sole reason for this tension that spans a decade.
Here's a simple equation for you. Shit talk = shit storm


8/4/12 5:05 PM
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robert bentley
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Mark,

I would accept that assessment if there weren't posts, like Alaina's, that cast aspersions on the level/quality of learning that goes on or what kind of "culture" is cultivated at the academy. Although most of the ire is directed at Josh, it is obvious that it's colouring the perception of the club overall.

PS: I hope things are going well for you and that the BS gets sorted out soon (if it hasn't already - I've been out of the loop for a while).
8/6/12 11:15 PM
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jkennedy
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I must be missing something. BJJ in Ontario seem so much more exciting than BJJ in Alberta. Phone Post
8/7/12 9:02 AM
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Dougie
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jkennedy -  I must be missing something. BJJ in Ontario seem so much more exciting than BJJ in Alberta. Phone Post

 No, just in Toronto.
8/7/12 10:31 AM
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Drewdeaux
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Edited: 08/07/12 10:37 AM
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I think that club owners should all get over themselves. Their business beefs should never be voiced to their student population and they should definitely not have to suffer because their instructor/owner doesn't like someone else. We pay to train not to be used as pawns in some political game between the people taking our money.

I have trained under Jorge Britto for almost five years now and I have never heard him or any of his assistant choaces say a bad thing about another school or instructor/owner. In fact, I can't remember a single time he has even mentioned another school/instructor in front of a class. It just doesn't happen.

If I was ever encouraged to do or not do something simply because Jorge personally didn't like someone, that would be the day I quit training under him.

As far as Josh goes, He rarely even addresses the classes and when he does, it is to congratulate us on our successes or to encourage us in our community service endeavours (ie raising money for charities and fallen teammates). These days, he is rarely even there.

I am not saying Josh is perfect but he, at least, has the good sense not to drag his students into his business squabbles.

As far as the face and voice of the club go, I would like to think that it is our competitors that are the face and voice of our club, especially to the competing teams we interact with. Why should the business interactions between our club owners ever effect us??? We dont hear about them at TBJJ andI think its a shame, if it's happening elsewhere.
8/7/12 10:01 PM
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orbit
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I love Mark Stables.
8/11/12 8:07 PM
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Robin Black
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I love Mark Stables too.

Let's all get along. What do you guys say?
8/13/12 12:42 PM
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1armedScissor
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Take it to the mats.
8/15/12 12:53 PM
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KrazyRussian
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Edited: 08/15/12 12:57 PM
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Let's get back to very good question which does not revolve around TBJJ or the "evil" Josh.

It's very good question, and I have my take on it and it's very simple.

It's education (sport of BJJ, history, its stars), family AND money. The cost of competing at high level events, or even local events is very high. For Canadians, especially east coast teams to go to the Worlds is VERY expensive. Let's remember that the salaries have not risen at all in last 10 years, but the cost of living has dramatically.

Let's not kid ourselves, 90% of BJJ clubs make a living, they don;t make money. Many owners are not real marketing professionals; nor educated business savvy people, they are simply fanatics about the art and love to teach. Many of them have no clue on how to sponsor their dedicated athletes, and/or how to raise money for it. As owner of small, but pretty successful kimono brand, I get constant phone calls or emails from OWNERS and Black Belts from different parts of north america asking to sponsor them, the actual owners of academies cannot afford to go the worlds; and we're trying to figure out what holds a general practitioner. If there is a proper business/sponsoring model setup at a academy and top people are awarded those sponsorships to go to the top level tourneys - nothing should hold back Canadians.

Second - Family, and local personal responsibilities. How many people won the trip to the worlds in last 2 years and took the money instead of the actual trips? Why? Most of them will tell you that it of family or work priority. For the athletes that "live" on the mats and get sponsored by the clubs or brands, there is no excuse, they should go and fight and win.

And the last note, is I think much bigger than anything, and I think one of the reasons our favorite sport of BJJ is not going to make to Olympics at least until this is addressed, we dont have a sense of representing Canada as country, most of people feel they represent themselves, their academy and their instructor. There is no national body to unite all our forces together without bickering at each other.

Ooss,
Egor.
8/15/12 9:14 PM
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1armedScissor
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Is national pride that big of an issue? There aren't any qualifying tournaments for worlds. I could grab a guy with zero training off the street and he has the ability to enter the worlds at whatever level he decides. This is not a smart idea if he want's to win, but the point is that national pride doesn't mean anything. It's never been about country vs country because anyone can enter. It truly is the about finding out who is the best person in any given bracket.

I kind of like it that way to be honest. If the best want to go and compete, they will find a way. There could be multiple people from a given geographic region that are amazing and who all deserve to be at worlds, but wouldn't be able to if there were only X number of competitors allowed from any geographic region because of qualifying tournaments.
8/16/12 1:49 PM
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SayG
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In a sense, tournaments like the Ontario Open and Montreal/Toronto Grappling Experience have become qualifiers in that they provide the top local competitors the financial means to compete internationally.

It would be nice if the "provincials" we have here in Ontario made it their focus to sponsor local athletes, and funnelled all profits generated into sending the winners to international competitions. As it stands it's just another tournament..
8/16/12 2:08 PM
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KrazyRussian
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1armedScissor - Is national pride that big of an issue? There aren't any qualifying tournaments for worlds. I could grab a guy with zero training off the street and he has the ability to enter the worlds at whatever level he decides. This is not a smart idea if he want's to win, but the point is that national pride doesn't mean anything. It's never been about country vs country because anyone can enter. It truly is the about finding out who is the best person in any given bracket.

I kind of like it that way to be honest. If the best want to go and compete, they will find a way. There could be multiple people from a given geographic region that are amazing and who all deserve to be at worlds, but wouldn't be able to if there were only X number of competitors allowed from any geographic region because of qualifying tournaments.

Thats exactly my point - no qualifying tourneys - no national governing body for the sport. And I think at the end, national pride is very important. Why is it called WORLD Championships? when there is no country representation and only an affiliation. It's not the reason for holding our Canadian fighters back (original question for this thread), but it will change people's approach, and most importantly awareness for the sport, to the whole idea of international competition at the grand level. Don't have to look far - wrestling, judo, taekwando. And this point is completely different discussion, more related to BJJ in Olympics. Personally, I'd love to see national body and qualifiers for the worlds, and people compete for their country as well as for themselves.
8/16/12 2:32 PM
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BALEIA
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ADCC Trials in San Diego Sunday October 14th
Open to all citizens of USA, Canada and Mexico
You win this, and you receive an all expenses paid trip to compete amongst the greatest grapplers in the world at the next ADCC World Championships in 2013
http://www.adccna.com/

That's what's up!
8/16/12 3:17 PM
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Cory Dee
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So the solution to not being able to get to LA for the Mundial is to go to San Diego for a qualifier tournament?

I'm confused.
8/16/12 5:30 PM
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BALEIA
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"So the solution to not being able to get to LA for the Mundial is to go to San Diego for a qualifier tournament?

I'm confused."



-Exactly
8/16/12 6:41 PM
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Jorge Britto
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Edited: 08/17/12 3:42 PM
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