Why Rickson Hates
By Roberto Pedreira
Posted June 12,
On July 10,
2015, Revista Tatame asked Rickson Gracie for his thoughts on the
berimbolo. Tatame explained, for those who hadn't heard, that
berimbolo is a position that occurs when the guardeiro (the guard
player) turns and inverts and thereby attempts to desequilibrar (destabilize)
the opponent. Having done so, he will then, in principle, have accomplished a raspagem
(shave, or sweep) and will have a chance to take the adversary's
up: "It is a specific technique, which aims only at winning a
medal. What is the application of berimbolo in Vale-Tudo or
self-defense? Positions shouldn't be used to stall the action. The
purpose of Jiu-Jitsu is to be better than the other guy on the mat. In
my entire career, I have never won by points. Never. That would have
been a loss for me. Thanks to God, I finalized (submitted) all of my
opponents. Rarely, an opponent lasted 8 minutes with me. Actually, it
only happened once."
talked about the 50-50, that terrible position which had become the
topic of tremendous polemics in the BJJ community. Many people believe
that the 50-50 serves no other purpose than to stall the match (amarrar
like the 50-50: "What is the purpose of this technique? To finish
the guy? If not, I'm not interested. What I'm interested in are positions
that lead to submissions. If I'm in the guard, I want to pass. If I
pass, I want to mount. Continuing, step by step, to take the foot, the
arm, or the neck. It is a ladder leading to death. Anything that slows
the pace of the fight to rest or to force the adversary to use strength,
doesn't demonstrate the aim of a hunter to kill (or capture) the prey.
And a fight is like that, the hunter versus the prey".
How do the
Brazilian fans and stylists think about Rickson's opinions?
(Rickson) is a sport nut but when he opens his mouth nothing interesting
comes out. This family thinks they own Jiu-Jitsu. Berimbolo is just a
technique." (Berimbolo é pura tecnica).
yes, but 50-50 is a crap position. It is a shit position exactly
as he (Rickson) said, to stall the fight and get points while staying in
the same position. If the opponent doesn't escape, the match will go on
for 10 minutes like that. I have seen many matches like that."
it's just a technique, but in what context? In case you didn't
understand, the master (Rickson) was talking about self-defense and MMA.
You need to understand the interview and then explain the meaning and
then explain the meaning of the meaning...".
if you think a moment, my friend, a guy who can impose the
berimbolo knows how to fight on top, the question of self-defense is
going to be different, and for MMA, he is going to adapt his technique
to the requirements of the situation. Or do you think that no art can be
adapted for MMA? You are a retard wanting to win like that but you don't
know how to say so directly, you son of a whore!"
BJJ is the hunter versus the prey. ....Can you do a berimbolo on
asphalt? Can you do a 50-50 on a prey with 150 kg?"
the Samurai' what?"
Coyne, saying 'o cara domina o berimbolo tambem sabe lutar por cima.' You have no
idea what you're talking about. If we apply an analogy to the principle
of Pareto, we can say that even to dominate the berimbolo would be a
waste of time in self-defense and MMA."
my comment, Revista Tatame?"
(Rickson's) interview was emphatic in saying that neither berimbolo nor
50-50 are useful for self-defense. GM (Grand Master) Helio Gracie ALWAYS
emphasized that JJ should be for self-defense and not for scoring points
in a tournament. Someone who lives to score points is a seamstress. A
practitioner of JJ lives to finalize."
nothing but respect for Rickson, but I totally disagree with his
opinion. First, he should consider the era in which he began his
Jiu-Jitsu career. Those were times when the Gracie family dominated the
gentle art (a arte suave, i.e., jiu-jitsu). It isn't that way
anymore. It's like comparing the futebol (soccer, football) of Pelé
with the futebol of today. In my opinion,
Pelé would not be the King of Futebol and wouldn't have
scored more than 1,000 goals if he were playing today. [Marcos
digresses on the subject of old versus new futebol, while interesting,
it is omitted here for the sake of brevity.] "In my
view, the problem is that the Gracies think that jiu-jitsu should stay
like it was in the old days. They think that everyone should fight like
they did in the old days. I can't agree with that."
master Rickson said is true. I don't have the patience to watch
jiu-jitsu championships, they have lost the essence [of jiu-jitsu].
Jiu-jitsu matches are disgusting, just stalling."
ludicrous. Rafael Mendes and Miyao take the back of many people and
finalize. Now that his son (Kron) doesn't manage to win anything, he is
just flapping his gums and seeking attention. Everything in life evolves, including jiu-jitsu. The
important thing is not only to finalize the guys in the championship.
That's old jiu-jitsu!!! End of story."
is that finalizations are good and probably everyone wants to get them.
But they are hard to get, because defense is easier than attack, and
people have good defenses these days. Or possibly, they want to avoid
losing more than the want to win. And also because their priorities have
changed. Winning by any means, whether by submissions or points or
referee decision, is rewarding. Competitors respond to incentives, and
there are incentives for scoring points, therefore if competitors can't
finish the opponent, winning by points is the next best thing. They
probably think strategically as well (as in, "I have a 10% chance
of finishing X with a 30% chance of losing the match if I try, whereas I
have a 55% chance of winning on points, if I play more
conservatively". A lot of competitors will opt for the
strategy with the larger potential pay-off, defined as the value of the
outcome discounted by the probability that it will happen). As in the
manly art of boxing, people who go for the big attacks also expose
themselves to big counter-attacks (sluggers "field a lot of
leather", as boxing commentators say). Thus, playing it safe and
avoiding danger is a valid tactic, although demonstrably less
fan-pleasing than swinging for the fences in pursuit of KOs or
There are two
other issues here. One is that even in the old days, most fights did not
end with submissions. Submissions are hard to get. They always have
been. Rickson has said on several occasions that "if there is no
submission, it is because there is no technique". But
according to his dad, Helio Gracie, and his nephews, Ryron
and Rener, there is technique in defense as well as attack. In fact,
they seem to agree that the real essence of jiu-jitsu lies in
"surviving the attack". Not losing is winning, they say.
have won every match by submission, but no one else did.
if the opponent is just as technical at defense as you are at attack?
issue is practical. Tournaments are marketing tools. Competitors want those
medals. Tournaments are elimination-style. That means that every match
has to have a winner. Since as a matter of cold hard reality,
submissions aren't going to be happening that often, there must be
points and competitors will respond to incentives and seek those points.
Because they want to avoid being eliminated, they will sometimes forego
chances to finish rather than risk losing out on points (and a potential
win by points).
A small irony
here is that Rickson's dad, Helio Gracie, was, during his first ring
career (1932-1936), one of those people who aimed at boring defensive
matches (which fans hated). It was Helio's older brother
George who took risks and went for the submissions (which fans loved).
George got more submissions and pleased the fans, but he also lost more.
That's the way it works. George and Helio both went for
submissions when circumstances were favorable, but George went for them
even when circumstances should have counseled greater
defensiveness. George wanted to win by submission, Helio wanted to
avoid losing (for details see Choque
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(c) 2017, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.