Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Boomerang

Fabio's logo has a boomerang on it. It's that red thing under "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu":

When I first started at his school, I didn't realize that little red swoosh on the logo meant anything. I thought it was just there for design. Then, one night, Fabio gave a talk about what the boomerang means to him and how it applies to training bjj. 

The principle is pretty simple: What goes around, comes around. What you do and how you treat people will come back to you eventually.

This applies directly to how people treat their training partners at a bjj gyn. The reason why you can have a school full of men practicing  bone-breaking techniques is because they have a mutual respect and concern for each others safety. They understand that they aren't there to beat the crap out of each other, but instead to help each other learn and get better. 

Fabio brought up an interesting point regarding this that should appeal to even the most selfish grapplers. If you don't care about hurting your teammates--a.k.a. if you have the mentality that "this is a fighting sport and don't whine about getting injured my bullies. If you're too much of a sissy you should quit"--then think about the fact that, if you injure all your teammates, then you will have no one left to train with. More likely, no one will want to grapple you and you won't get better at bjj.

But the other part of this is that, at most gyms, the higher belts have already learned this idea of "what goes around comes around" and understand the importance of respecting their teammates. When they see someone bullying someone weaker or smaller, they remember it. And not in a good way. The next time they roll with that person, they will likely give them what they dished out and then some. 
There's nothing wrong with going for submissions and finishing them. That is an important part of bjj (though not the only part, like some people seem to think). But give your teammates time to tap. And don't be a jerk and do unnecessarily mean things to people who are smaller/weaker/less experienced than you just to make yourself feel more awesome. It doesn't impress your instructor or the other people at the gym. It just makes you look like a jerk and puts a big target on your back. 

From a technical point of view, I think that if you have to be a douche to finish a submission then you aren't doing it right. Figure out what is wrong with your technique instead of trying to crank someone's head or limbs off. 
It is to your benefit to treat your teammates with respect--especially the ones who you think aren't "as good as you".  You never know how "good" they will become in the future. They will remember how you treated them, be it good or bad, and will likely want to return the favor. Plus, if you are gracious toward people who you could "beat up" at will then people who could do the same thing to you right now will be more likely to be gracious to you.


Deborah Clem said...

This is a wonderful post Allie.

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks, Dagney!