WEARING THE ACADEMY GI
Some people think that wearing the academy uniform is a political ideology, a cult mentality or a hard rule established by the Academy owner.
Whilst this may be the case in some Academies and clubs, it actually isn't the case here at de Been Wodonga.
I'd like to share an experience that I had early this year.
At a tournament I approached a de Been black belt (from another Academy) and asked him what team he was representing as he was wearing a blue gi, unpatched.
Now, I made this approach as a joke. Unfortunately he didn't see it that way.
After a few expletives, he told me that he isn't into that political bullshit and that as a black belt he should be able to wear what he wants when he wants.
The unfortunate thing about this is that I wasn't able to express my thought process to sway his mindset or to inform him that it had nothing to do with politics.
Unlike Judo or other karate based martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a unicorn within the martial arts world as it is very relaxed both on and off the mat, more so with the uniform that you train in (Gi and Nogi).
Humans inherently like to be a part of a group, a team. One aspect of being in that group or team is what we wear. Football, netball it doesn't matter, we all wear the same uniform.
Yep sure they may train in what ever they like but they play in the same clothing.
When people ask me about what I classify BJJ as (martial art or sport) I classify it as a sport, with deep martial arts roots.
Wearing our team Gi/Nogi stems back to our lineage. And for those that are not aware our lineage is like this;
If lineage means something to you and where your training comes from, well it isn't very far from the original source. That being said, the sport has developed rapidly since it's inception.
Originally our team was Gracie Barra (Carlos Gracie Jr). Pete brought the Gracie Barra team from Brazil to Australia, but after a period of time changed this and our team became de Been 100% Jiu Jitsu.
Within the martial arts, typically your team patch or head 'instructor'/inventor will be over the left hand side of your chest. This is because that is where your heart is. You wear the patch with pride.
Our Academy gi's have three patches; one on the back, chest and top of the thigh.
Note: all our academy uniforms, both gi and nogi are competition legal, where as many companies will make the gi/nogi attire without though of the IBJJF rule requirements for uniforms. As such the athlete will be required to purchase the correct attire should they compete in those rule sets.
RESPECT FOR THE TEAM, RESPECT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE WALKED BEFORE US
Wearing the team uniform demonstrates your commitment to your team.
Earlier I told you I had a brief discussion with another de Been black belt who chose not to wear the team Gi in a competition. His attitude was that he is a black belt and should be able to wear what he wants when he wants.
But I don't think he thought about his team and what those that are in his team would think. If they also wear what they want then how do you know what team they are in?
With regards to competition, I have my own policy; if you chose not to wear the Academy uniform, you have chosen not to be coached.
Your teammates work as hard as what you do at training. The amount of grit, determination and sweat on the mat helps build the team, helps build the athlete.
Wearing the Academy uniform shows your respect to those around you, shows respect to those that have built the sport around you and demonstrates respect to our founding fathers.
Whilst Peter de Been is our founding father, you should be very proud of where your Jiu Jitsu comes from.
As you read at the start of this blog, wearing the Academy uniform is more than a political ideology. You could say it is more a philosophical ideology and you should be very proud.
WEEDS IN THE MAT PT 2
Unlike the 'stripe' issue, this is something that comes up every now and then that takes a lot of athletes (if they are in this position) time to understand.
We've all heard this complaint; "I'm too small and everyone is too big".
Well, lets fix it and make it a positive experience!
In the early days of BJJ, there was a saying that size didn't matter and that the sport was designed for a smaller weaker opponent to beat a bigger and stronger one.
Umm, yeah right.
It may have been true 30yrs ago if the athlete was playing against someone who didn't know how to grapple/wrestle. That's why the Gracie challenges were so popular.
This statement is debunked time and time again. Even a smaller 5'6" blackbelt at 60kg plays against a 6'2" blue belt weighing around 100kg, will find it very difficult.
So how do you get around it then?
If you are the smaller athlete and you pick the big athlete, you have to be ready to yield to them.
Spazzy white belts are super difficult to roll with and that is where the most injuries will occur.
I reckon that a spazzy white belt should stop being spazzy around the 'third' stripe as they start to string their movement together and understand basic concepts of leverage, and SHOULD know when to tap.
Look for athletes that are roughly your weight or within 10kgs if you want a good roll.
There is also another saying that goes like this; for every 10kgs add a belt level, and for every 10yrs the athlete is younger than you, add another belt level.
So if we go back to our example of the 60kg black belt wrestling the 100kg blue belt, it is almost an even match. Albeit the black belt will have way more tricks up their sleeve.
Now flip the coin.
Lets say your a 6'4" blue belt weighing around 120kgs, you could easily say they are too big and you don't want to wrestle with the 'little' people.
Training with smaller, weaker opponents is actually a fantastic learning experience.
Firstly, don't try and muscle your way around them. Treat them like they are as big as you are and start to use smaller more precise movements.
Yep, sure you could submit them with just your weight or bicep curl them when they put an arm lock on but you're not going to gain any experience by doing this and the little people won't roll with you again.
So, how do we do it then, small or big?
If you're a little person, just be sensible about who you roll with and tap early. What ever do, don't even think about beating them.
Work on your defence and escapes. If you can, NEVER start from the bottom (i.e. don't pull guard).
If you're a big person, pretend the little people are as big as you but don't use your weight or strength. Work on refining your technique. If you have to muscle your submission, don't do it.
If both little and big people look to training this way, both athletes will actually start getting better, learning and enjoying the challenge more because;
It doesn't matter where you train, this problem will be the same where ever you go. It is too easy to use the excuse big will always beat small and you'll never enjoy the sport.
So let's turn our mindset around so that both big and small can make the best of their training!
LOOK AFTER YOUR OWN BACK YARD FIRST!
From time to time this topic rears its ugly head, and from a coaches perspective it's really sad because you can see where it ends up.
You end up losing an athlete.
But what is it?
Negative comments about either stripe or belt promotions.
PLEASE NOTE: Before you read on, there may be some 'strong' language (not swearing, how uncouth!) that you may disagree with or find hard to digest.
Firstly, if you are the sort of person that is whinging to teammates about why you haven't been promoted or why someone else has and you haven't then you're training for the wrong reasons.
Nothing stops you from getting some white tape and putting it on your belt yourself if it means that much to you.
Let's look at the stripe system, it's different from Academy to Academy, club to club.
In fact most places don't even have a stripe system.
Stripes are a tool for coaches to view the experience level of their athletes, nothing more. They can be awarded for regular attendance, achieving milestones, or accomplishing success on the competition mat.
From an athlete's perspective it is a great achievement as it demonstrates and reaffirms that the athlete is progressing and on the right track to improvement.
It is also a proud moment for a coach.
The disappointing aspect from a coaches perspective is hearing either parents or athletes complain, especially when the athlete;
When we hear this 'complaint' from a parent, the best answer to give the athlete is; Concentrate on yourself, work hard, it will come.
The worst thing a parent can do is mollycoddle their child thinking they are helping them by asking the coaching staff on the child athlete's behalf.
When coaching staff hear of athletes grumbling to their teammates, they are already on the path to leave. The funny thing about this is that the athlete (or parent) is more than happy to express their grievances to other people but lack the intestinal fortitude to approach the coaching staff.
It takes intestinal fortitude to approach your coach and ask what you can do to improve so that you can obtain your personal goals.
Now should a parent inform the coach that their child is beginning to lose interest and that they are not 'getting' much of a challenge in training be warned, as the coach will shut the conversation down by answering; if the child isn't using what they have been taught, they are not challenging themselves.
Looking after your back yard.
This comes down to the second point, worry about yourself and what you are doing. Don't look over the fence and worry about what your teammates are achieving. You are training for yourself remember!
If one of your teammates receives a stripe or belt promotion, you should be happy for them, especially if you have been training longer than them.
You know how hard the sport is. Think of the first stripe as a pat on the back for training regularly for starters!
If someone has been training roughly the same time as you and you see them receive these small pieces of electricity tape on their belt, maybe, just maybe they are attending training more than you or they have recently competed and whooped their competition.
Just be happy for them. Your turn will come.
The third point, excuses.
You can have all the excuses in the book if you don't turn up, just don't complain. The excuses are yours, no one else's.
One of the best excuses I hear is 'I'm too small'.
Flip the coin, imagine a six foot four individual who weighs around 120 kilos. They can say the same, 'I'm too big'.
But we'll deal with that excuse in another blog.
So in conclusion, at the end of the day just turn up, do your best and ASK QUESTIONS.
This is a bloody tough sport and complaining about stripes, worrying about other people will only make it tougher.
Our blog page is used to give you an opportunity to gain an understanding of the training that is conducted with our Academy.