Why Did I Start To Resent BJJ?


This entry is a bit more autobiographical. Before getting into the titular topic; I need to set the background.

My original home martial arts school (Tae Kwon-Do) was well attended by adults and children alike. We trained hard, spared hard, and had a great atmosphere.

One day, a seminar by a very famous BJJ instructor came to the area (last name rhymed with 'tracie'). Seizing the opportunity, my instructor and 5 of us senior students made the overnight trip for a 2 day seminar. Needless to say, we all loved it... and couldn't wait to bring home what we learned. The new information was such a hit, that my instructor got in contact with the BJJ instructor and arranged for him to come put on a seminar in our town the next year (an arrangement that has continued for around 20 years to this day).

We started a BJJ class and all started distance learning as white belts. Over the next several years, many of us started being promoted to blue belts.

An unfortunate side effect of the growth of the BJJ program, became the loss of adult interest in the traditional Tae Kwon-Do program. Over the first couple years, nearly all senior adult students migrated to BJJ... and gradually fell away from TKD.

I enjoyed training BJJ as much as the others... but still continued to train and teach TKD. From my perspective, it seemed that everyone (including my instructor to some degree) lost interest in the art we all started with in favour of the 'new-shiny' toy. Over time, only the kids' TKD classes had any serious students left.

To this day, I still don't have all the answers as to why this happened; except that it became a self fulfilling situation. Adults want to train seriously with other serious adults. If they're all in 'X' class (and 'Y' class is full of teens and kids) the new, serious adults will invariably gravitate to 'X'.

Fast forward several years (including a couple moves to different towns on my part for work)... and I would look back and speak with people from the home club. Most everyone that was left from my old training days was still training martial arts... (A great thing. Everyone should find what they like, and then train in it)... but none but my instructor and myself remained committed to teaching Traditional TKD. My instructor went on to earn his BJJ black belt to go along with his TKD credentials. I, on the other hand, remain a (extremely atrophied) BJJ blue belt.

In hindsight, I can see that I first started avoiding BJJ classes because I was "busy". Eventually it was years since my last serious grappling class. Without realizing it, I grew to thoroughly resent BJJ. It went from a practice that I loved to pursue hand in hand with striking training; to the reason no one would even consider learning the art that had done so much for me (TKD).

I can see now that my passion to exclusively pursue and advance our version of TKD was driven (in part) by a reflex against the art that 'stole' all my martial arts friends. This doesn't mean I ever discouraged anyone from pursuing BJJ... quite the opposite. I frequently would encourage people to do just that. This strictly resulted in my own version of self-cutting'. I just wouldn't pursue BJJ myself (as if this effected 'BJJ' in any way).

This whole story is likely of little use to anyone else... and is more likely some weird form of stream-of-consciousness-self-therapy. The result of hours of introspection into why I continually found excuses to avoid pursuing further knowledge or skill in BJJ.

I guess my hope in putting all this out there is that it will help me get past this psychological hurdle, resume cross training... and move towards a more balanced martial arts practice. Also, maybe there's someone else out there who has experienced the same thing (related to any martial art form) who this could be helpful to... Or maybe it will remind someone who has left their original practice for something new...

There is no need to choose between art forms. Pursuing BJJ in no way precludes me or you from also training and advocating for any other art... and vice-versa.

Until my next rant...
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