Ideas on the Dojo Storm…
Gordon Ryan recently said the following. “I love how people say ‘BJJ is built around respect and honor.’ No, it’s not! It is built around savage Brazilians kicking the shit out of people just because they could. Storming gyms of other martial arts and fighting their instructors just to show how superior BJJ was. And while I think that is fucking awesome. It’s not the fairy tale you guys tell about respect and honor. This sport is built around real men who did give a fuck took what they wanted.”
The quote is a popular one. I wanted to take a moment to explore the dojo storm and how it relates to savagery respect and honor.
The dojo storm is a practice in martial arts of going to another gym and challenging the instructor to a fight. It is savage. It exposes frauds. It embarrasses instructors in front of their students. Yet, the savagery does not mean that it is not beneficial. Here are several benefits. First, it exposes fake martial arts. Second, it exposes fraudulent instructors. Third, it shows the superiority of different styles.
For every effective martial arts, there are hundreds of fake ones. People are sold snake oil on a daily basis. The lies are many. Here are a few commonly used ones. 1) This martial art is too dangerous to practice on people. The martial art works only work on the street where it really matters. 2) These techniques are so secret that they cannot be used in competition. 3) This martial art is too pure for competition. Every Jiu Jitsu practitioner understands the true test of a martial art is on a resisting opponent. You may have an amazing left hook or beautiful triangle, however if you cannot execute the move on a resisting opponent it means nothing. It is a travesty for people to spend hard earned dollars and time refining their martial art only to find it is useless when they truly need it. A dojo storm exposes these frauds to their students. “Oh, your martial art is heavily reliant on groin strikes and Chi force fields? Sure lets test that…”
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A second key value of the dojo storm is it exposes frauds. There are a lot of cases of fake black belts. The freedom of modern information coupled with how protective Jiu Jitsu practitioners are of their lineage you would think this is a non- issue. Yet, it still happens. Someone purports credentials that they don’t have. A second way people are fraudulent is when a black belt in another disciple wears their belt with a Jiu Jitsu gi. They advertise Jiu Jitsu in addition to other martial arts. But you have to really dive in to find out their black belt is in Tae Know Do or whatever. It is the equivalent of someone wearing a lab coat and scrubs but saying they never claimed to be a doctor. A dojo storm keeps them honest.
A third value is that it shows the efficacy of different styles. I remember when a 10th Planet school would open up. They would have a ton of challengers because practitioners of traditional styles of Jiu Jitsu doubted the efficacy of 10th Planet technique. 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu is a legit form of Jiu Jitsu and this was proven in dojo storms.
A last caveat on dojo storms, some instructors often cite injury as a reason why they cannot answer the challenge. Certainly, dealing with injuries is common in Jiu Jitsu. However, a good instructor should at the very least have high level students who can defend the honor of the school.
Ultimately, the dojo storm is savage. It exposes frauds. It embarrasses instructors in front of their students. But the savagery also creates respect and honor. There is an old adage that respect is earned not given. A dojo storm is a true example of that statement. Jiu Jitsu belts are not participation trophies. They are testaments to both the instructors and students abilities. The ability to defend your technique against anyone who challenges creates respect from your students, outsiders and other martial arts. This ability honors your Jiu Jitsu linage, your instructor and your school. Traditional values do play a component in martial arts. However, they are the by-product of the savage nature and hard work required in an education of violence.
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