Each class carries a sense of pride in what they believe in. And with the recent letter from Ryan Hall and the picture of Keenan shown here, it is clear even the top dogs are choosing which class best fits them.
Reflecting back on my 8½ years of being in BJJ. I think it has evolved a lot especially with the rising stars many of us look up to, the world championship tournament now being in America, and many other components which got us to where we are today.
Seeing all this change in front of my eyes I truly believe the 97% and 3% is a little mixed up in terms of their classification. I truly believe that 3%er’s are really the 97% and vice versa. Before you blow a fuse let me explain why.
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is not a sport it is technically a martial art and if you know anything about martial arts you know what is true purpose is intended for. As this martial art progressed turning into a sport especially with the rising popularity of MMA there became a shift in a practitioners mind frame from becoming martial artist to more of a competitor practicing martial arts. Even BJJ schools have shifted their philosophy to the point where $$$, becoming popular, and making prized athletes is the central survival goal in their expansion.
When I started BJJ in 04 the promotion for most schools was “learn techniques, lose weight, life changing, honor, integrity, -etc- “NOW with the rise of competition teams you see promotions of a guy holding 50 medals and belts around his neck, Competition Team references, and all things closely related the sport aspect of being the best. (with no emphasis on growing as a person – at least from what I c these days-), which clearly displays what 97% of the community thinks these days.
I guarantee you if you walk up to any person (especially from a major competition team) they will tell you their goal is to become a world champion.
Then you have the 97%ers (aka IMO 3%ers) these are people who carry the same values they were taught years ago . Although expansion and being good in competition is a plus for their team, above all else they carry strong values they were taught when they first started which centers on having integrity and respect for their fellow brothers and sisters - on and off the mat (along with the stuff I mention at the beginning of this blog). With the state the community is in now reflecting back on their growth these few competent individuals realize more than ever what being in martial arts is all about. This is why they choose to take a stand for the foolishness going on today.
Being in this practice myself and looking back on my life in it I am most certainly a 97% (aka 3%). Experiences, people I meet, and other concepts have molded my mind to believing this practice is made for helping people on a personal level bring positivity and strength in a person’s life. Sure it nice 4 me to learn new stuff or win a medal. .but lifelong friendships and personal growth is the biggest prize I’ve been blessed to obtain.
Some people (mainly those who chase gold) who aren’t from my time or understand my story might see things differently, just as I will never understand what make getting Gold so important in a person’s life as a martial artist. But hey everyone has opinions and views of things based on what they see or think.
Overall it is a serious fight going on now.
• Beliefs vs. Glory
• Medal Chasing vs. Personal Chasing
• Competitor vs. Martial Artist
• Good vs. Evil
However you want to call it this situation of 97 % vs. 3 % is on and popping…which is a battle I believe will never go away. Like hungry politicians grappling for supremacy or Crips and Blood banging it out…if someone feels strongly about something in their heart they will fight 4 it to the bitter ends. Sucks it had to be this way but in my opinion it was coming eventually.
In closing make sure to dig deep and look at everything BJJ has to offer. I guarantee you will finds things you didn’t know exist that would help you big time on and off the mat