bruno fernandes pan am 2014


Competition and keeping it real.

I hear a lot about people taking about the effectiveness of sport bjj. Here is my 2 cents.

Some say that what people do on tournaments will not be useful on the street. Or that those top-level competitors are good at getting medals and nothing else.

I respectfully disagree.

If you don’t want to hear my point of view, just go for a roll with one of the top competitors out there. Make it gi, no-gi, submission-only, no time limit, blindfolded, whatever. Let me know when it happens that I will put some money that you are going to have your ass whooped. Big time.

But if you want to save yourself the beating, hear me out.

Competitions do not define anything. It is a motivation, a goal to make us better. What the athletes display on a tournament is a mere fraction of what they know. What makes them great is not what they do there, but the grueling training sessions that all of them have been through. And because of that, they are all though as nail. Been there, done that.

However, I never got in a street fight. And I am not planning to get into one anytime soon. The years I spent doing BJJ help me to avoid a fight, not win a brawl on the street. Yet, I trust that I’d do fine if I ever need to.

Do you want to prepare for real life? Grow your confidence so you don’t need to fight your way out of a problem. Remember that we live in a civilized society in which the winner of a street brawl is the one that gets punished. Being a martial artist actually makes it worse.

In the street, it is all about a double leg takedown, guard pass, mount or back control and a finish. If you happen to be on your back, you will depend on your guard to avoid getting hurt and get the top position. That’s all.

Now reason with me. Do you really think that ANY top-level competitor would have problems doing any of that? Even the lightweights, berimbolo-masters and doubleguard-pullers, do you really think that they would have any problems if they ever get attacked by a non-trained person on the street? Come on.

I remember a story back when I was young. One of our teammates got attacked by a pro-MMA fighter at a party. He was just a teenager that have never been in a street fight. He did not do any no-gi, self-defense or MMA training. Yet, the other dude got choked out unconscious in a matter of seconds. BJJ is a powerful weapon in any form.

Truth be told, competitors do what they do to win under the current rules. But don’t be fooled thinking that this is all they know.

I see Jiu-Jitsu as an art, a vehicle to express yourself. That any fighter chooses the way they want to play. The beauty of BJJ is that it adapts to any body type, eliminating most limitations that some one can have. Some styles might be more useful on the streets, other not as much. But man, let’s all just roll and embrace diversity in BJJ.

Be it gi, no-gi, self-defense, competition or just rolling, choose what best suits you and be glad that you are doing BJJ. Learn as much as you can, always keep an open mind and stop trashing others’ styles.

Remember why you started doing martial arts in the first place. Focus on the benefits that you are reaping, and let others do their own thing. We shall not restrict what the next generation can or should do, in order to let BJJ continue to evolve. That is how we got here anyway.

PS: At our school, I do not recommend any particular way of doing BJJ. I give my students the tools, and let them choose the ones they like. We do discuss strategy, but it is their responsibility to choose the way they roll. We are not particularly focused on competition, self-defense, MMA or anything else. Instead, we position ourselves as a source of knowledge, and a laboratory where the students can test and hone their skills. The result is mind-blowing and it never ceases to amaze me what they can achieve.


Book your private class with Prof. Bruno Fernandes at Gracie Barra BJJ Montreal now.