Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Evolution of a Martial Art

Martial arts evolve. Ancient forms of jujutsu gave birth to Judo. Judo influenced Russian Sambo and gave birth to Brazillian Jiujutsu. What next?

Below is an excerpt from the Fightland Blog which examines how BJJ has changed over the years and speculates on which directions is may evolve. The full article may be read here.

The Coming Division: Will Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Give Birth to New Martial Arts?

Fightland Blog

Brazilian jiu jitsu is evolving but evolving into what? Anyone who has trained in multiple jiu jitsu schools will notice the differences in philosophy and technical emphasis that exist between academies. Certainly, there is a common body of techniques and transitions that they all share; but what they emphasize is so different, so as to call into question whether the term “Brazilian jiu jitsu” will continue to be adequate in describing them all.

Either Brazilian jiu jitsu will reproduce new styles of martial art or it will continue to exist as a single combat sport, with disparate competition rule sets, the way Wrestling does. With the current state of jiu jitsu variety, simply saying one has a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu isn’t as descriptive as it was in the early 90’s. For the purposes of this article, I will oversimplify something that, for now, defies neat compartmentalization; I will describe what I see are the three basic modes of Brazilian jiu jitsu today.

In doing so, I acknowledge that this is based on my own limited and biased experiences with the art, in Florida and Southern California. I also acknowledge that the naming of these “modes” is problematic, as there is considerable overlap between all of them. Jiu jitsu styles are as varied and numerous as the people who practice it.  Every jiu jitsu practitioner has a unique style, based on personality, aesthetics and physical aptitude. Nevertheless, the basic generalizations required to describe the current state of jiu jitsu work for the purposes of this article.

I agree with the expected rebuttal that it’s all jiu jitsu, “one flag” and a common lifestyle; but it won’t always stay that way. Nothing on Earth lasts forever; nothing living is free from the requirement of evolution; that which mutates and reproduces into varieties will thrive. Nothing stunts the development of life, intellectual or biological, the way inbreeding will; when a philosophical family tree takes the form of a double helix, falsehoods and imperfections linger in the gene pool of ideas.

As things stand today, I see three main modes or ideologies of Brazilian jiu jitsu, each having the potential to become a distinct martial art: first-wave jiu jitsu, second-wave jiu jitsu and third-wave jiu jitsu.


Katana Sword Samurai said...

The various martial arts really have come a long way in their progression. It's nice to see so many dojos out there also preserving the styles that originated so many years ago. I can only hope art forms like Iaido will live on many years after myself as well.

Rick Matz said...

A lot of people think that martial arts practice is going to the dogs. Maybe they are.

On the other hand, this is an unprecedented time in which there is access to highly skilled masters, videos, books; untold wealth for those who wish to look for it.