In what has to be one of my most ironic moves so far, I joined the BJJ Globetrotters, a firmly non-political community — for political reasons.
Well, let’s correct that before I get kicked out: politics are absolutely not the only reason I joined. I think their values are what BJJ is about — not something that should be stated.
- We don’t pay each other any affiliation fees
- We wear any patches we like on our gis
- We are free to represent any (or no) team in competition
- We encourage training with anyone regardless of affiliation
- We are willing to promote anyone who deserves it—members or not
- We arrange camps, seminars and visit each other for training and fun
- We believe everyone is equal both on and off the mats
- We strive to enjoy life, people and the world through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Also, I’m planing to attend their 2014 fall camp and I think you have to be a member to join, but I didn’t check. And on top of that I was jealous of my friends Florian & Marie-Laure’s patches, so now I’ll get to wear them as well.
Back to politics
The political reason that made me join the BJJ Globetrotters is that the other, default affiliation I’d have, is Gracie Barra. But I don’t feel we are part of them at all. The academy owner is a brown belt under under a GB affiliate but I’ve never met anyone from the headquarter, not even their blackbelt. I don’t feel a part of them and I don’t want to represent them.
My previous academy was somewhat affiliated to David Pierre-Louis and through him to De La Riva. I never met De la Riva but David had (and still has) a huge influence on my game so representing him would totally suit me, but that’s not an option anymore. I do toy with the idea of moving to Paris once I’m a dark purple/brown belt to receive my black belt from him. But that is still very far away and a lot of things might change until then.
My coach, Salah, does represent Gracie Barra — but I believe he doesn’t care who he fights for. As long as someone signs him off to compete he’s cool. That’s actually a topic on which we kinda disagree.
Teams & creontes
Salah once told me
If I had my own academy, the sign on the front would just read “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu”
I can see the value in that, but I have to say I really like the team aspect. I may have written it before, but I see a lot of similarities between games I used to play online and jiu jitsu. Well, in those games, teams were always a great aspect. Sure, I’m part of the BJj community as a whole — but I also enjoy being part of team that is fighting against the rest of the world.
This is also why I’m not really against the whole creonte thing. It’s only natural to feel betrayed when someone leaves your group without notice or good reason. Some of the creonte-hatred we see certainly is over the top but I don’t mind the concept.
… also, if I could, I’d be a /r/bjj affiliate for sure.