BJJ Philosophy: Analysing behaviours in BJJ (and life) thru exaggeration

"BJJ is a game of inches", John Danaher once said.

Many many years ago, I read Plato's best known work "Republic". In it, Socrates along with various Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man by considering a series of different cities coming into existence "in speech".

Basically, they say that it's sometimes hard to judge the behaviour of one person or at least hard to draw any interesting conclusions, so instead they look at how a city or a whole country would fare if it behaved in a just or unjust manner.

A very interesting book and the above description only scratches the surface.

I was reminded of the book by an interview I saw in INSIDEBJJ with famous BJJ, Grappling and MMA coach Lloyd Irvin.

In the interview Lloyd touches on many different subjects but one quote really stuck with me. It's a question he drills in his students. He urges everyone in his team to apply this measure to evaluate their behaviour on the mat:

"If everyone on our team did what you did, what type of team would we have?"

Lloyd also restricts the answers to only "a good team" or "a bad team".

Reading the rest of the article, I suspect that Lloyd refers to reactions and attitudes on and off the mat, such as throwing a fit when getting tapped in a submission, gloating over individual victories...etc.

But I think the same applies to actual BJJ and grappling techniques.

Yes you can get out of this or that bad position by exposing your neck or elbow or even using strength, speed or other attributes

But "If everyone on our team did what you did, what type of team would we have?"

Maybe you can still improve your jiu jitsu even though you arrive late every day and strategically skip the warm-up

But "If everyone on our team did what you did, what type of team would we have?"

I know, you don't care much about gi (or no gi, or self defence, or even MMA) training so you only ever train that part of jiu jitsu.

But "If everyone on our team did what you did, what type of team would we have?"

Again, I'm not saying every school out there has to abide by the "team mentality" or "spirit"

I'm just saying that by extrapolating a behaviour of inches to a yards and miles, you see a clearer picture of where that behaviour can lead.

What you do what that discovery is up to you, but at least now you have an idea.


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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Keith said...

if you travel down the years a bit, this is an idea from Kants 'Categorical Imperative'

basically his idea of a moral code. he has 3 forms of this to work out moral behavior.

his 3rd form is basically, what if everyone did a particular action?

his other forms are good too, eg, treat people as an end in them self and not means to an end.

anyways, wikipedia :-

Liam H Wandi said...

Sweet. Thanks for that Keith.

Marshal D. Carper said...

There is some pretty serious philosophy going on in this article, and it's awesome. It provides an interesting way of thinking about how we train and what we find acceptable.

It's definitely very easy to cut corners or take shortcuts as individuals, but we are ultimately a part of a jiu-jitsu family, and our behaviors certainly have an impact on the other members of that family. I'm looking forward to finding a way to make the "if everyone on the team did that, what kind of team would we have" question a part of my classes and a part of my training. It's a useful guiding philosophy.


Liam H Wandi said...

Many thanks for the kind words Marshal. Maybe, one day if I'm really good, I'll make your top 10 BJJ blogs list ;op

Liam H Wandi said...

@Marshal, dude I just realised you're the guy behind Cauliflower Chronicles. I loved your book! Awesome to have you hear buddy.

Brendan said...

The cartoon at the top is holarious.

Liam H Wandi said...

Hehe. Thanks Brendan. I created the characters Jill and John when I was in a job I didn't like. John keeps coming up with ideas and Jill, his manager, is an absolute bitch!

They kept me sane :)