Monday, April 19, 2010

Sparked from an thread

The topic was why BJJ schools don't really intermingle and teach all aspects of grappling evenly.

"It is odd to me that there aren't more schools dedicated to grappling in general where you can get quality wrestling, judo, sambo, and bjj training all under the same roof. They could even have dirty boxing/clinching training so that it represents a complete grappling approach to fighting. Students could focus on one art, or cross train.

I know that some schools have done something along these lines, but it is usually with the focus on a single grappling art and peripheral training in the other arts.

It would seem that a school like that could field competitors in a variety of sports related to grappling."

One individual posted that the idea of true cross-training in grappling is "wishful thinking".

In a sense I agree. Not many gyms have the space capacity to offer multiple classes in all arts. However, I think it's possiblity is beginning to pop up all over the U.S. BJJ gyms ARE looking for quality instructors in other arts to develop grapplers fairly well versed in multiple aspects.

One small example:

First, as you all know, I train (and teach) at Ryan Hall's gym, clearly our focus is BJJ. However, about 4 months after opening the new academy, he encouraged me to begin taking small group wrestling lessons from a D-1 College coach (I'm obviously a girl and we had discovered that the coach was teaching private lessons to 2 female highschool wrestlers). During the same time period, Ryan began working one on one with a former wrestler friend of his and later after ADCC began working with the D-1 coach privately as well. We were interested in learning the art (wrestling) for itself as a wrestler would learn it. We were lucky to find a coach with 9 years experience coaching at the collegiate level as well as experience competing in both Greco and Folkstyle who's own college coach was Russian and who of his own accord(years ago) cross-trained in Judo to help his wrestling. Now, about a year after I'd started working with him, we were able to bring this coach on to take over our once a week wrestling class. This has become an extremely popular class, consistently attended by most of our competitors.

With previous grappling experience and consistent classes and lessons with this wrestling coach, Ryan and I have been able to add pieces of his influence into the rest of our instruction and I believe you can see the difference in the style of jiu-jitsu in our gym. As one person replying to the original post pointed out, wrestling is so much more than takedowns and it's influence can be integrated into your entire game.

Second, we don't claim to teach "Sambo" however our assistant head instructor has a black belt in Sambo and everyone knows that Ryan makes use of leg-locks frequently, therefore, all students are expected to learn them to some degree of proficiency.

Third, all of our instructors have worked some Judo and we encourage our students to try it (okay none of us can be considered particularly good at it - although it is a little known fact that Ryan placed in a 16 man division at a local Judo tournament recently). We have a couple Judo players who train at the gym and occasionally they offer advice to coaches and students. Hopefully, in the future, as the gym grows we will be able to add a real Judo coach as well.

See! I really don't think it is unique for BJJ schools to be offering this type of variety - my last school did as well. But maybe I'm wrong and it is unusual to see your head instructor taking the wrestling class from a guy who works "for" him. And maybe not all coaches are willing to jump into a local Judo tournament to work on their Judo (and not just try to win with BJJ).

Everything always comes down from the top. If the guy at the top is willing to learn and try and potentially fail in front of their students than everyone will be willing to try new things as well. If your best students don't appreciate the usefulness of wrestling and Judo and participate in offered classes, no one will. If the head coaches don't cross train to the point where they are teaching and encouraging throws, take downs, leg locks, and the like during "BJJ" sparring, then you will never see their full integration in the students.

So if you want integration, stop whining about it and do what we did...go out and get it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.