BJJ Gyms: Affiliation vs Cult
Don't get me wrong, cults can be a lot of fun. You get to wear robes all day, pretty open bedroom policies and some righteous chanting. The problem is that sooner or later they want you to cut off your b***s and drink some kool-aid so you can hitch a ride on a comet.
I ain't drinkin' your kool-aid.
Which is a hard thing so say, because I f***ing love grape kool-aid.
Sad to say that cults aren't just for Waco or Pennsylvania Dutch country. They seem to be for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, too.
Maybe it is because we are a small sport. By which I would say BJJ is on the fringe of fringe sports. Minnesota has (generously speaking) maybe 600 active BJJ participants. MAYBE.
There are more people than that in some softball leagues.
Perhaps it is the fringe element and the business side of things that forces people to try and milk every cent and every ounce of common sense out of there students.
Recently there has been a lot of unnerving revelations in a major BJJ affiliation. I don't think I need to name them, if you have any link to the BJJ community, you know. And while we all may gasp and ask ourselves how could this happen, I wonder if it happens around here.
People get obsessed with being the best, being a world champion, chasing a medal. Everyone wants to think that the person that teaches them BJJ is the best there is, that they are hitching their ride to the winning horse. They are will to dilute themselves and put up with a lot of bulls*** for it. They are willing to put aside what they say is right out of fear of being an outcast. For fear of being labelled "not good enough".
That's all f***ing bulls**!!!
And we don't serve that here.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to determine what quality of a person you are dealing with at a gym:
1) Do they talk trash about other gyms they have never been a part of or even visited?
2) Do they claim to know the best and only way to do something?
3) Do they talk a big game and refuse to compete?
4) Do they refuse to be a part of another gym's events (seminars, comps, etc) without giving any reason?
5) Do they tell you to do anything that makes to second guess if it is the correct, or even legal thing to do?
6) Has your health, safety or membership ever been threatened?
7) Are you afraid to bring up any of the questions above?
I hope you can't answer yes to any of these. I really do.
I couldn't care less if you are a part of a huge international team like Gracie Barra or Alliance or if you are a part of a gym that is just doing what it can to keep up.
My concern is that people are putting aside their own instincts because they are bullied or forced into a mold that someone else created. We are a fringe sport, we are all f***ed up in some way, shape or form otherwise we wouldn't do it. So to say that you must conform within our sport is the epitome of stupidity.
You may not like the way something is done. You may claim their is only one way to lock in a triangle choke, that gi is better than no gi (or vice versa), that one affiliation is better than another, that is your right, you can think whatever the f*** you want.
But for the love of all that is descent, don't you dare ostracize or judge another grappler because they don't fit your mold.
BJJ isn't a cult, it is a family. We have our differences and our own paths, but we should be united by our shared love of the game. Money and medals blind those that neither love the game, nor appreciate their fellow grapplers enough to treat them like humans above all else, humans with the right to choose and live.
And please, if you ever feel like you have been threatened physically or sexually at a gym, contact the police. Tell someone, even if it is a douchebag like me, I will listen and do everything I can to help.
I love this game, it saved me in a lot of ways, don't let someone take away something you love. Ever.