Monday, May 21, 2012

Train not for competition. Train for life.

A family friend of my husband's spent the weekend at our house.  Richard visits us regularly- he's a roadracer and the cycling around Austin is pretty demanding.  Plus, he loves TacoDeli.  As usual, martial arts and jiu jitsu came up in conversation.  This time, we were waiting for a table at the best Thai place in town (Titaya, if you're curious) and in a nearby strip mall, he noticed an aikido dojo.  No offense to any aikido practitioners in the audience (and I know Roy Dean could aikido me into the next century) but I do have a little bias in favor of BJJ over all other arts. 

Richard's perspective was, he wants to learn to quickly take an attacker and put them on the ground (not that he's a bar brawler by any means-- he's about 5'8", 140lbs tops, and with a ready grin that invites friendship instead of fists).  "I don't want to punch people, or kick people, and I certainly don't want to be down on the ground with them," he said... "Maybe I should take judo."

I kept trying to tell him that what I do is sport jiu jitsu out of my own preference, but that my academy focuses first on real self defense, and that this is what BJJ was designed to do.  I tried to explain how judo has become more and more sport-focused over the years.   But ultimately, I told him, whatever you study will be better than nothing at all, so whatever looks interesting to you, whatever you enjoy, whatever you find appealing enough to keep up with it-- that's what you should take. 

But of course you should do BJJ first :)

Unfortunately I know from personal experience that most schools don't have a primary focus on self-defense.  I wish I could move Richard to Austin for many reasons-- my husband loves him, and I think Austin is cooler than where he lives-- but among them is my pride in my academy and my instructor, for the emphasis on staying true to the heart and soul of Brazilian jiu jitsu.  I've come quite a long ways in my 3.5 years of training-- from "I will never get in a bar fight, I don't care about self-defense, I want to roll!" not so long ago-- and I owe it to my team and my instructor for showing me the light.

One team, one family, one legacy.


scottstev said...

The one thing I've found out, is there are no shortcuts to self-defense training. One of my primary motivations was to protect my then-new family should the need arise.

My first few classes taught me how vulnerable I was. And now I'm trained enough to know that I need to avoid a physical confrontation if at all possible. In time, I can get to point where I would feel comfortable against an untrained opponent of any size, but that is simply a long way off. No quick 30-90 class of any art will be able to prepare for a serious situation.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Our school is competition focused and although in addition to muay thai and BJJ classes they added judo and MMA, I think it would be great if they had one class a week on straight BJJ for self defense. I think most people don't want to be a cage fighter but they do want to know how to defend themselves in a serious situation.