BJJ Evolution: Why Do You Train?

BJJ is evolving into many, different sports. The various rules dictating this evolution.

I was recently listening to a very funny Swedish podcast (unrelated to BJJ) where they mentioned an international level Swedish athlete from the 1950s and 60s, Gösta Sandberg. Mr Sandberg won my country many international honours, including an Olympic bronze in the Helsingborg games in 1952 and another bronze at the European Championships in1961 so he was very consistent for a long time. The unique thing about him was that he did that in two completely different sports (football and ice-hockey) and was a national team member in a third sport (bandy).

You don't get that many all rounders nowadays. Some, but not many. I find that sad. 

Every person needs to figure out why they do what they do. In our case, we all need to ask ourselves: Why do I do BJJ / grappling?

My reasons are very personal. I started doing Martial Arts to become a super hero. No word of a lie.

It all started with watching David Carradine in "Kung Fu" and wanting to be a Shaolin monk. I was 15. There were no Shaolin schools around where I lived in a small quiet suburb in northern Stockholm, but my highschool had a once a week tai chi chuan course and the best thing was that it finished just in time for me to get home and watch Kwai Chang Caine in "Kung Fu"! Aces!

To me, learning a martial art was an avenue to learn more about myself, body mind and spirit. Taichi changed into Wing Chun kung fu, Taekwondo and later Karate which I stuck with all the way to black belt. After that, I got into jiu jitsu and grappling which I've been doing since 2005.

My goal was and still is to learn how to move. How to handle myself. Fighting, to me, is an avenue, not a goal. But I wanted to learn authentic skills and not scenario-specific. I didn't want to be a competitor or a champion. I wanted to become a super hero.

I can imagine that that was a similar challenge to the allrounders of yesteryear. I can imagine that Mr Sandberg was not satisfied with the simple concepts of winning or losing within the confines of one rule set or another. Rather, he sought to constantly challenge himself to become a better and better version of himself. He couldn't compute the idea that, just because he was wearing his ice-hockey attire and not his football / soccer kit that he should fair any worse. He wasn't a footballer, an ice-hockey player not a bandy player. He was, first and foremost, an athlete.

This is why my goal is the training itself. This is why it's hard to find me in a bad mood on the mat. I get caught all the time. I get pinned, passed and tapped. Every single session. 

Every single session, I achieve my goal: To train. I

In my gi, wearing my belt. I am that super hero. My super power? Intrinsically driven happiness.



Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters

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