Monday, March 10, 2014

Which team are you on ?

Gracie Barra, that's the topic of my post. What is it to you ? Is it a local jiu-jitsu club, a worldwide team of practitioners, a franchise and a brand, an employer ? It can, of course, be all those things at once, but to me, what GB is, first and foremost, is a team of innovators.. let me explain.

There will always be enough curious students to walk into the academy, learn a few techniques, maybe, in due time, teach or even open their own school. These people would eventually compete, some even become world class. That is all fine. But let me ask you this : can you imagine jiu-jitsu without half-guard ? Have you ever tried passing a good inverted guard ? Did you ever see a berimbolo in competition ? Have you ever heard of the "rubber guard" ? I bet you have, but what you probably didn't know, is that all those tools we now take for granted came out of Gracie Barra.

Roberto "Gordo" Correa created the half-guard as he was still a purple belt. Roberto "Roleta" Magalhaes is responsible for inverted guard, the berimbolo was not created by the Mendes brothers, but by Samuel Braga, also GB. The rubber guard isn't Eddie Bravo's, as Nino Schembri used it successfully in competition way before Eddie. These are the guys who deserve all our admiration and respect.

Of course, innovation also takes places outside of GB as well, for example de la Riva (not the position, but  its creator). On the other hand, if GB is commonly seen as the biggest and most organised BJJ team in the world, we should not forget it's also one of the most, if not The most, creative teams out there.