People automatically think since I train in Brazilian jiu jitsu that I must be an MMA fan.   Truth be told Im not.   Not that I don’t enjoy watching MMA, I  do,  I just don’t follow the sport like you would probably expect me to.  I admire and have incredible respect for any athlete who the enters the octagon, how could you not.  One on one combat in a closed cage is not only a test of your physical fortitude, but also your mental tenacity as well. It can be argued there is no tougher athlete than the mixed martial artist.

I was much more into the old style UFC of no rules, bare knuckle bouts because it was in this arena, I believe, that  brazilian jiu jitsu showed that it is the gentle art. I know that may sound idiosyncratic to say but let me explain.

If anyone remembers the first  UFC’s and all of Royce Gracie’s win’s then you will recall that all of his matches ended in submission and that there was very little physical damage done to his opponents other than minor cuts and bruises. Royces would usually either gain a strong top game advantage, slap or punch, than transition into his submission. If he ended up using his guard he would keep his opponent as close to himself as he could to avoid punches, then, again, wait to transition into his submission once again.

Royce, in a sense, was a peaceful warrior. He could have easily chose to stay on top of his opponent and beat him either into submission or unconsciousness, or from his guard  broke his combatants arm or purposely put him to sleep, but he chose not to.

To a certain degree, all martial artist of any discipline have a choice of how much violence to use in ending a confrontation, from walking away to a kick in the head. Its not the purpose of this post to do a dissertation on the use of violence and the martial artist, but to show why, as jiu jitsu practitioners, we are uniquely  in a position to be either the definition of the gentle art or completely disregard that humbling aspect of  brazilian jiu jitsu and become the common street thug.

Rorion Gracie said it best in a Black Belt Magazine article years go when asked about the use of violence in the Gracie Jiu jitsu In Action series he had released.  He went on to explain that if you watched each fight, no one was ever seriously hurt because his brothers had made the choice not to be too violent , that the Gracie Jiu Jitsu practitioner is the one who choses how much force he has to use to end a fight.

Let me use one of my favorite positions to achieve in training to illustrate my point, The gift wrap from the mount . If your not familiar with the position,then this is when you use the persons own arm to wrap around their neck there by , in effect, wrapping them up .  Its pretty much the ultimate “THIS SUCKS” position to be caught in. You cannot move, and the leverage of your own arm wrapped around your  neck creates intense pressure.

Now from this position I can dictate how the fight ends. I can’t violently punch away at the persons face till either I’m satisfied or the persons knocked out, and if I am a sadistic person I can  go even  further.  My other option is to hold the person here till he either gives up, realizing that he cannot win or  I can reason with him, explaining how things can go if  he does not quit. This would be the gentle version that I would hope most people who train jiu jitsu would chose.

I know that this is entering the realm of the moral choice, but I think that everyone who trains to fight long enough eventually comes to a point where they can see that the necessity of actually engaging in a fight outside organized competitions is quite ridiculous.  When I say that Im not including the self defense aspect of having no choice if criminally threatened , but the conflict that arises between two inflated ego’s.

Although there are many factors to consider during a real street, I always hope you keep in mind that as a brazilian jiu jitus practitioner, if you do gain the upper hand , that it is your choice how to end the confrontation.