HELP! Why do BJJ techniques have so many trendy names?
‘Whoa man, that was a sick inverted samurai roll into a martian calf slicer!’
If you’ve ever spent any amount of time in Jiu Jitsu, you’ll notice that sequences will be described in a word salad like the one above. Eddy Bravo has changed the Jiu Jitsu lexicon forever with lovely names such as ‘Crackhead Control’ and the ‘Jiu Claw.’ Recently with the prominence of Danaher and his death squad in the scene you’ll be introduced to terms such as ashi salami and other catchy Japanese phrases, all of which were derived from Judo’s glossary of moves. Each school seems to have their own funny names for moves that can get really confusing. Omoplata, Gogoplata, Tarikoplata, Lapeloplata, Baratoplata, the list goes on. How should we communicate each technique? Should we go down the path of Danaher and bust out our Japanese textbook?
Even though I personally feel that using exclusively Japanese terms can be excessive, I do feel like we do have to give credit to Kano and how he created these fancy names. Look, the names all sound scary because they’re foreign, but they’re actually incredibly simple. Hear me out… O means major or big. Soto means outer. Gari means reaping. You put it all together and you get O Soto Gari, which just means big outer reaping because all you’re doing is reaping the outer leg, think big outside trip. Or Uchi Mata, which just means inner thigh throw. It’s nice and clean, no references to crackheads and conspiracy theories, just a plain and simple description of the technique that really paints a picture of the technique.
While standardized naming conventions won’t make or break your game, it would certainly help students that travel around a jump into a class without any hiccups. A Judo student can travel to any Judo school across the world, and guaranteed the techniques taught will have the same name.
What do you all think? Should the IBJJF or some other organization standardize the names of techniques across all schools? Should we just make up names on the fly?
Truly Yours, Anonymous White Belt