Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gracie Brothers' response to the Llyod Irving rape case

So evidently this video is several months old and I am more out of the loop than I realized. I came across it as I was reading up on the rape case in wake of the accused rapists' shocking acquittal. But this is the first time I have watched it and I have to say it is an AMAZING clip. I frequently watch videos of submission highlights, played to aggressive music to get me pumped up before a tournament. But I have to say, this has gotten me just as fired up about jiu jitsu as any highlights reel out there.

It is a fairly long video, but it is absolutely worth watching all the way through.

I am taking several messages away from it:

 - The culture of a gym can influence people to be more or less aggressive. Schools have the power to either calm people down or amplify aggressive tendencies. "If ultimately dominating and defeating someone is the best thing and where you get the most praise...that's what's going to be your look around and say 'who can I abuse. Who can I technically victimize on the mat'?" There is always going to be someone out there who is better than you. It is more useful and more important to train with people who you can consistently learn from than those who you can consistently smash.

- We have an obligation to serve and help the less powerful. "There is someone who has more knowledge, more technique, more strength, more power...that person has an obligation to the student they are training with and to the school as a whole to build this {less powerful} person serve this person." Training needs to be productive for both parties.

- On a similar note, training jiu jitsu should give practitioners more confidence to step in and intervene when someone is being victimized, bullied or just plain needs help.

-"The nature of martial arts in general is that of combat, that of aggression, that of overcoming adversity and fighting someone...if left alone this can morph into a violent dragon of aggression." Creating a positive environment takes constant work and does not happen by itself.

- Rolling respectfully with your partner and rolling hard are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to roll hard and fight for submissions, while still valuing your partner's safety, comfort, and right to learn. 

My one gripe about the video is that it implies that jiu jitsu was the "dangerous weapon" that the assailants used to rape the victim. Certainly, jiu jitsu can be harmful and deadly if put in the wrong hands and used to bully people instead of to defend oneself. It certainly could be used as an instrument of rape. But that's not what happened here. The assailants were the victim's teammates, but they did not subdue her by using jiu jitsu techniques. Rather, they took advantage of the victim's trust. Instead of helping her, they preyed upon her when she was most vulnerable.

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