BJJ Champion Robert Drysdale Explains why he Disagrees
with Rickson Gracie
Gracie doesn't like jiu-jitsu techniques that aren't designed to
finalize the opponent. A Jiu-jitsu match is like a hunter versus a
prey. Hunters don't try to get points, medals, or trophies. Why
should a BJJ fighter? Accordingly, Rickson scorns
such innovations as berimbolo and 50/50. (Read Rickson's views here).
people agree with him. But not everyone. World BJJ champion Robert
Drysdale disagrees. Below, in an exclusive comment to GTR, he
Only Relevant Question Is: Does it Work?"
is quick to dismiss berimbolo as a non-submission oriented move that
holds any efficiency in a real situation (MMA or self-defense). For
arguments sake, let us ignore the fact that much of what we all
teach in JJ, including what Rickson teaches (such as collar chokes)
is impractical in the real situations he describes. So, in this
regard at least, berimbolo is no different from many of the
techniques he practices, and teaches, himself. Instead, lets focus
on the practicality of these moves in competition.
regards to 50/50, it is, in my view and experience, a vicious
position for submission, especially if heel-hooks are made
available, arguably even more so than the back. It is perfectly
applicable in the live-situations he is concerned with. I would add
that I know people that are very submission savvy from 50/50, even
when heel-hooks are not available. Berimbolo less so, albeit a
highly efficient move in competition, it does not translate so well
into the realm of MMA and Self-Defense (much like collar
becomes clear from this, that they should be analyzed individually.
Rickson does not do this, but rather, labels them as either
inefficient (in a real situation), or a "stalling
position" (ignoring the fact that all positions in JJ can be
used for stalling. "Standing" being the ultimate stalling
position in JJ competition). In other words, his position, is not an
analytical and pragmatic one, but, perhaps, a biased one, which
leads us to his motivation.
don't believe it is unusual for an older generation to critique new
methods. In fact, I believe this is standard in many disciplines as
well as in cultural practices (I often find myself telling children
they shouldn't spend so much time on their iPads…). I can't stop
but to wonder if his position is grounded on concern for the Arts' [jiu-jitsu]
future, or out of resentment that his unfamiliarity with these moves
is fascinating, to me at least, how quick people are to dismiss
rules that don't favor them. In the case of IBJJF, personally, I
believe they are very flawed. However, most accept them and learn
how to compete under them, regardless of personal preferences.
Others choose to dismiss them since they rarely do well under these
rules and, thus, choose to blame the rules rather than their own
inadequacies (self-deception comes to mind here).
would like to add, that there were no problems with the rules when
Rickson was winning (IBJJF rules have remained largely unchanged
since its inception), the problems began, when the game changed and
adapting became an exercise in humility. It is, as I see it,
pointless to ponder on whether a move is old or new, if it is
aesthetically pleasing or not, or if it is simple as opposed to
complex. The only relevant question is: does it work? And if so, in
what arena (keeping the distinction between sport and
martial-art in mind and where they, do and don't, overlap)?
also agree with your logic
[Robert is referring to this
"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)."
have often argued that rules (for the most part) will determine the
boundaries and limitations of competitive endeavors. Competitors
will naturally gravitate towards winning strategies, making the
blame on the athlete obsolete and, thus, warranting a discussion in
regards of improvements on the rule-set.
hope this does not come across as an attack on Rickson. It is not, I
have met him more than a few times and our exchanges were always
friendly and, I dare say, our approach to JJ as a form of combat is
very similar. I will also admit, I can empathize with Rickson. The
process of retiring is a difficult one. Once being used to be the
most dominant person on the mats, and slowly watching twenty year
olds slowly catch up to me, has been the most difficult opponent I
have ever faced. It is important, however, that we remember that the
purpose of JJ is, from a combat perspective, efficiency. Regardless
of what changes the Sport is going through, if they are efficient,
they ought to be assimilated.