- Aug 21, 2006
- Reaction score
My plan had been to jump into BJJ in about 3 months after I lost about 15 lbs.
To be honest, this forum has gotten me so curious/ riled up, I joined the BJJ club in downtown Melbourne (Oz) yesterday.
Congratulations! Sounds like you've started what will be an exciting journey.
I asked the teacher some of the questions I've been asking in this form, and brought up some of your points. He has 15 years experience in Karate, but his passion is BJJ (he has several years experience as a bouncer). He is a multiple BJJ Australian and NZ champion. He told me he is biased, so you have to take what he says with a grain.
From what follows, I would venture to say he didn't train with a very good karate instructor.
1. "BJJ doesn't work vs multiple opponents." - He said that nothing really works against two fighters who are WORKING TOGETHER in a strategic manner. Your best option, regardless of style, is to kick the first one in the groin, and then take the other out or run.
Well, having fought multiple opponents on several occassions, I would disagree. You are much better off standing and moving than tied up rolling with one guy while the others take free shots.
Most fights against multiple attackers won't be trained fighters "WORKING TOGETHER in a strategic manner." Most often it is going to be an aggressor and his friends trying to help out. Been there, got the T-shirt.
2. "BJJ works because of all the rules in a sports ring--outside of that, it's not nearly as effective." - He said BJJ started without any rules, the rules came later because people were getting very injured in BJJ / MA street wars (no rules whatsoever).
I agree. Same thing happened with Olympic TKD, Judo, point-style karate, boxing, wrestling, etc. etc.
BJJ works in groundwork, IMO, because of physics and physiology — just like other martial arts based in reality (as opposed to mystical forces).
And training hard, like most BJJ schools are reportedly doing, helps a bunch, too.
3. "In a real fight, the BJJ will get his eyes gouged, scratched, and his arms bitten." He said (after laughing) that if the pinnacle of your art is an eye gouge or bite, you are in trouble. Try to gouge someone's eyes out in a fight--you'll probably break your fingers when you miss against a resisting opponent.
Well, I agree you shouldn't rely on a few "dirty techniques" to get by on. But you should be aware that things in a self defense situation ARE different than in training. But then, ALL martial artists should realize that and keep that in mind.
4. "Our art has grappling!" He said they have to have grappling, or they would have to shut down--and the grappling he's seen is TERRIBLE in his opinion.
Hapkido was around long before BJJ. But yea, BJJ definately woke a lot of people up, reinforced that idea that is IS important.
5. He asked where all the Kung Fu guys and TKD guys and Ninja masters are challenging the Gracies and everyone else, and defeating them... all of them. It doesn't happen becuase, and forgive me, he thinks their arts are crap because they don't work. This from someone who did karate for 15 years. They work if someone just stands there and gets hit, but he said they usually don't pracitce vs people moving into the strike into the grappling range.
We've all grown up and prefer not to go to prison for dueling.
It's too bad he doesn't have a respect for other martial arts. That attitude might result in him getting hurt someday because he underestimated other systems.
And, as mentioned above, it sounds like the karate school he studied at was crap. That doesn't mean ALL karate is crap, however. It is a mistake to think so.
6. BJJ people fight at full speed, full strength, every class. No, "Oh, this death touch is so powerful, we can't use it." He said that that was a cop out--prove it or shut up.
No cop out; we go hard very often, but FULL speed and FULL strength will get people HURT in our TKD schools around here.
Even going "medium contact" with protective gear can be pretty rough.
It's not a matter of "death touch." It's a matter of physics and physiology.
If he is ever in the Cape Girardeau area, I would be happy to show him.
I am not issuing a "challenge" btw, I'm just saying he should come watch the way we spar and see what he thinks. It may be very different than what he saw around his particular karate dojo.
I won't be shutting up anytime soon, fwiw
But as far as going "full speed, full strength, every class"? Naw, not at my age. Unlike rolling, full contact striking leaves a lot of bruises. It can be pretty hard on the body. I am willing to put on the pads and go hard with another top student around here if he would like to see it sometime.
And, fwiw, I acknowledge that groundwork/grappling is hard work. Very intense. But it isn't the ONLY way to get a good workout.
Let it just suffice to say grapplers aren't the ONLY ones drenching mats with sweat.
7. Most of the people he said that were criticising BJJ have never even taken a class. Basically, they don't know what the hell they're talking about and should take 3 months of BJJ or shut up. It's usually a one way stream: people leaving their art to join BJJ, almost never the other way around.
I don't criticise BJJ as being crap (like he criticizes MY art). I just point out some things from my experience. I KNOW BJJ is a very fine system of ground fighting.
But groundfighting in general (not BJJ in particular) has issues you MUST keep in mind.
People leaving their art to join BJJ? A temporary trend. BJJ should enjoy it while they can and built a solid base that will sustain them once the "boom" is over — like TKD did. TKD is still going strong, fwiw.
Hapkido never has had mass appeal. Some of the techniques look pretty scary to practice to newbies and the workouts tend to be VERY demanding.
The flock of sheep-like humans will always move on to the latest fad. In fact, they already have to some extent: It is more "MMA" today that BJJ. BJJ was yesterday. Ninjitsu was the day before. JKD the day before that.
Anyway, those were his opinions... just food for thought.
He obviously believes in his art: that is a good thing. Conviction is good. Why train in an art you don't believe in?
I still think he is making wide generalizations based on a limited experience.
(PS: I have never been so tired after a single martial arts class in my life! Amazing, I recommend everyone at least try a few classes, great stuff! I got my butt kicked--.... and loving it!)
Sounds like you are getting great training! Keep at it! That is maybe one of the most critical factors in martial art training: not quitting. Make it a life-long pursuit and you will not regret it.