Get pushed? Do you slap? Yes/No/Maybe
With last week’s WNO closing out with some of the best Jiu Jitsu to date, the most talked about move of the night was by far Gordon Ryan’s swift attack onto Galvao’s cheek, overshadowing Gordon’s armbar on Roberto Jimenez. Now that the hype has settled down, we have to ask, is it ever okay to slap someone at a tournament?
Look Jiu Jitsu is a rough sport. It was an art that was practiced by the Samurai and adapted to the streets of Brazil. The very core of Jiu Jitsu is rooted in conflict, there’s no changing that. Tournaments let us experience something very close to a true conflict with some rules to keep us generally safe.. These events are built for conflict, so it’s no surprise when we may have friction towards our competitors.
Even if we’re competitors, we should always be as courteous as possible towards them. Should the conflict should be kept to the mats and only the mats? Even with all these rules and conventions set up, there are times that even a fellow competitor can go too far.
Let’s say you’re coming off the mat after a tough match, and your opponent’s coach approaches you. You reach out to shake his hand, but he refuses and gives you the finger. No big deal. He starts cussing you out. It’s still something you can walk away from. Next, he gets in your face and starts shoving you. Now that he’s laid hands on you all bets are off. Right?
The truth is we have a responsibility as leaders and as influencers in our community however we also have a right to defend ourselves. How would Gordon Ryan’s reputation be interpreted if he walked away from Galvao after being pushed? Would he be looked at as a gentleman or would he be considered something else? What would you do? What would your teammates do?
If it were just a drunk guy at a bar, I do believe we have to exercise a certain level of control since we are in a totally different environment against a poor, untrained person. A Jiu Jitsu tournament on the other hand… I believe there are different rules of engagement. As Jiu Jiteiros, we have a different relationship with conflict. If another practitioner wants to lay their hands on you, then by all means I don’t see how it’s different from a pre-roll slap bump.
The bottom line is we need to all respect one another and be prepared if someone does not! I would love to hear your thoughts on this…
Truly yours, Anonymous White Belt