Matrix Martial Arts and Brazilian Jujitsu
One of the questions I get the most is
‘how do you matrix Brazilian Jujitsu.’
I was not trained in ground grappling,
and though I have dabbled,
and worked out with various people
I usually end up recommending
that a person study matrixing,
and figure out how to matrix the thing themselves.
Master Instructor Ryan Head
has been working on just that.
for the first time ever
the Monster Newsletter is about to be written
by someone other than me.
Here is Ryan Head’s analysis of Brazilian Jujitsu.
I think you will find it scholarly,
filled with valid points,
and it will make you think
Thanks for the quick reply and feedback on my attempts at matrixing BJJ. Now, you mentioned interest in the possible intentional confusion in the teaching of BJJ. Well, some of what I have come to believe is from research, some from my own experiences, and some straight from Helio Gracie’s own words.
For starters, I’ve looked up the supposed origins of brazilian jiu jitsu on sites like wikipedia and they’re not quite accurate or at least not telling the whole story from what I can tell.
The way I understand it is that some time in the early twentieth century…. maybe the twenties… I’m not a hundred percent on exact dates and some names, Japanese jiu jitsu experts came to Brazil.
One of them in particular decided to teach some of his art to a few select people. Some have said that his art was actually Judo, but seeing as how Judo focuses on throws and Jiu jitsu focuses on locks more, I tend to believe it actually was Jiu jitsu. Anyway, Carlos Gracie was taught this art and received the rank of black belt. Once his teacher went back to Japan, Carlos decided to start teaching and opened his own Jiu jitsu school in Brazil.
His little brother Helio, who was much smaller, weaker, and very prone to illness as a child, would often come to the school and watch as Carlos taught. He watched so much that he memorized every move that Carlos taught. I believe that Carlos actually taught Helio some of the art during this time period as well, but had not made him an instructor.
Then, one day, a class of students was at the school and Carlos was running very late. I guess some of the students were threatening to leave and Helio didn’t want his brother to lose their business. So, he volunteered to teach the class. He ended up being pretty good at it and well liked by the students. So, Carlos made him an instructor.
As time went by, Helio, who was still young and a bit small and weak at the time, realized that he had a lot of trouble making some of the techniques work, because of his size and strength level. So, he began changing things and adapting the art to work better for a weaker person. That was how the Gracie style of jiu jitsu which would become known as Brazilian jiu jitsu started.
I think several things happened after this. One is that even though this art has been around for a lot less years than many other arts, it’s managed to spread so quickly and predominantly in the last twenty or thirty years that it has had ample opportunity to get twisted and confused.
Another thing which I personally view as a drawback is that the original Japanese version of the art, and, in fact, many other arts started out either based around the use of weapons or in defense of them. So, they were tooled for real combat. Helio, outside of an ugly mugging type incident which does not help his image, never used his art or tested it outside of a ring or mat to my knowledge. So, brazilian jiu jitsu is actually designed more around one on one competition without the use of weapons.
Of course, it can be used in self defense, but mainly when weapons and multiple opponents are not involved. It has a few weapon defenses, but certainly not the best I’ve seen.
Anyway, that was mainly meant to establish the differences that Helio made in the art. After Helio himself, we get into the real culprits.
I don’t recall where it’s from and it may be floating around on vhs or dvd somewhere online or something still today, but there is a video interview with Helio Gracie which I have a computer file copy of. In that interview, Helio points out that at the time which this took place and still today, you could go to most book stores and probably countless places online and find any number of different books and/ or dvds from people professing to teach BJJ. Many of these were people whom Helio had never heard of.
I’m sure there are plenty of qualified instructors in the world at this point whom he never met.
However, a lot of these guys were claiming to have trained with Helio at the Gracie school in Brazil. And in fact, a lot of these people were from Brazil. Upon looking at some of what they offered in their courses though, Helio completely dismissed them as frauds.
He pointed out that Brazil was a very poor country and that there were a lot of broke and dishonest people there who were more than willing to try to pass off a fake version of his art to pad their pockets. That happens with a lot of arts, but what’s worse is that Helio said that even his own sons were guilty of it to a degree, saying that when they taught others, especially in America, they often left out many of the key elements of the art he created.
He took special note of the standup elements being incorrect or gone all together. Some of his sons offered courses where you simply order more dvds for more belts and they didn’t really know if the student was learning or not.
After seeing this interview, I started taking another look at not only how I was being taught (at least my teacher has a legitimate Gracie school representative for a teacher who is well known and established), but also what’s in books and dvds on the market concerning BJJ.
I noticed that if I wanted information about Jeet Kune Do for example, I could find something dealing with an entire fighting range such as kick boxing or trapping.
However, if you look for something on BJJ, you can find entire books and dvds devoted to single positions and only around three locks. They teach one position at a time, one technique from the position, maybe move into a specific flow of techniques from that position (like my teacher does), but rarely actually focus on the real concepts behind what is being done.
It seems to me that they want to relay just enough information to the student or customer to keep them coming back for more.
You’ll also notice that most books and dvds of this nature are actually more expensive than products of the same length in other arts.
I’m not sure how much is deliberate and how much is from a result of the monkey see, monkey do method which you’ve spoken of, but I seem to see it a lot.
I also notice that although brazilian jiu jitsu is among the best I’ve ever seen at maintaining contact and grounding when doing their techniques, the art as it’s been taught to me is almost completely devoid of CBM.
I can’t help but wonder if that is how it started out or just another aspect of its current watered down state.
Well, like I said, some of this is my opinion, but this is where my research has lead me and I’m fairly comfortable with saying something is wrong with the way BJJ is taught today. I hope this was helpful.
your analysis is quite interesting.
is one of the most potent arts in the world.
you can see the corruption setting in,
how it sets in,
This is exactly what Matrixing is out to fix.
Jujitsu, karate, savate,
whatever your art,
it can be quicker to learn,
more efficient to use.
You can get ALL the benefits of your art
without the bushwah.
Here’s an URL
pick out the art closest to yours
and start matrixing now
Thanks again, Ryan
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