Just some late night, slightly buzzed ramblings. The Gracie Academy closing and rorion giving away stuff thread got me thinking. FRAT warning
Sometime between UFC 2 and 3 I started my BJJ journey. I was in the later stages of being 16 yo and in high school. I worked at a movie theater and a friend lent me a copy of the first two UFCs on VHS. I watched them and became immediately fascinated. I grew up watching ninja shit in the 80s so I had a connection like many of us to the “power” of martial arts. Anyway, I was so fascinated I even went down with my dad to the original Gracie academy and met rorion and Royce for their intro lesson (taught by a blue belt named Sam). Since the GA was 2 hours away from my home in Bakersfield I ultimately enrolled at the local “freestyle jujitsu” school that my friend told me does the same Gracie stuff. Over the next year and a half I became one of the schools best students. I used to frequent the newsgroup rec.martial-arts and defend GJJ nonstop. I talked to all my friends about GJJ even though most of them had never heard of it or the UFC. I felt invincible. It was only later I realized the school was fake and had previously been a hapkido school until the ufc started. I guess I lucked out though because the instructor was teaching off of the Gracie instructional set so I was actually getting decent lessons and learning basic GJJ. After training there I ultimately had to move away to go to UCLA. I had a hard time training at UCLA because of academic requirements. However I did sign up to train with Gokor at the hayastan dojo. I trained for about a year or so before stopping to focus on school. I’m not sure if I learned much but I thought it was cool to be a part of this grappling crowd that was “better than BJJ” in my eyes. I eventually moved to St. Louis for med school and joined a mostly no gi gym. The main instructor was great and mostly learned off of tapes but could easily thrash me. I value his teaching. By this time the mousel forum was up and going and I was an active member. I guess at some point it transitioned to the underground. I was on here daily whether training or not talking about BJJ.
Down the road I joined different gyms and ended up with a blue belt around 2005, 11 or so years after I started. It was crazy being a blue because I still remembered the time when there was only one blue belt in my hometown and he was pretty much untouchable on the mat. I was very inconsistent in the years to come. Training for a year or so then taking a year or so off. I didn’t earn my black belt until December of 2015. 21 years after starting. During that time I watched BJJ change a lot for the worse. It went from the days of a fighting art that triumphed in a vale tudo match ending with the crowd chanting “Jiu-Jit-su!” into a sport in which people watch the clock and work for points. It went from the art where your focus was to mount-punch-choke into berimbolos and inverted guards. I remember when the whole idea of half guard itself was new!
Through this time I have also watched my daughters fall in love with BJJ, win multiple championships, then completely lose interest. It devastated me. We all trained together for hours at a time every day. When they stopped training I had no desire to go back. It has now been about 3 years since I have trained consistently and even though I don’t want to lose the skill set, deep inside I don’t care anymore about training. I’m 40 yo with a fucked up body and no desire to get on the mat. I get on these forums and read posts about absolute bullshit. I mean complete and utter ignorant bullshit. Usually when someone posts something historical that I know the answer to and think everyone should know, i end up reading everyone’s dumb ass replies and it turns me off to wanting to participate. I have to remind myself that while I’ve been involved in this for almost 25 years, all of these newbies haven’t. They weren’t there when the GIA tapes were on fire and all of us were making copies and showing our friends. Talking about which Gracie brother was the best, etc. Talking about the BJJ food chain in which Rickson was on top followed by Rigan Machado.
It makes me sad getting older and seeing the newest generations have no concept of what it was like for us in the beginning. No knowledge of the history. It’s makes me sad to see BJJ go from a focus on fighting to a sport with stupid moves you could never do if strikes were involved. It makes me sad that my daughters were champions and then didn’t want to do it anymore. It makes me sad that even though BJJ has been one of the most important parts of my entire life, I don’t care or have any motivation to train anymore. It makes me sad I have put in so much time and destroyed my body, but those skills will rapidly fade if I don’t keep training. It makes me sad that if I decide to start training again, some dick head 20 yo purple belt will go as hard as possible to get the tap on me as a 40 year old black belt, when I am just trying to get back in shape and stay uninjured. Do the long term negatives outweigh the positives?
Anyway, just feeling a bit down tonight and wanted to spill some thoughts from my mind.