There are a lot of politics in this sport. Those of you who play the game know exactly what I’m talking about. Some guy talking trash about another guy and how his belt isn’t “legit” or he’s not a “real” black belt. I seem to be noticing it a bit more now, too. On Facebook. On the internet. In person. It’s almost to the point where it makes me sick. Look, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be competitive. However, we should be competitive in competition while looking to build our sport as a whole. We should focus on the positive and support our community of fellow rollers.
There are a few nonprofit groups out there that have done that. They’ve focused on using their passion and love for the sport to help improve it. Not only to improve it, but to improve the lives of those around them and those who are less fortunate. Tap Out Cancer and Give A Gi are just a few who have done just that, and should be commended for their efforts.
I don’t know how Tap Out Cancer came to be. The founder of Tap Out Cancer put out a YouTube video where he talked about losing his nephew. He said that he believed there isn’t anyone who is watching the video or visiting his site that has not been affected by cancer. He’s probably right. I lost my grandmother to cancer. It’s tough. So why not lean on our community? Is it unfair for him to ask for help and support from the same group that provides him with comradely and fellowship? I don’t think so. Lean on me, friend. I’ll support you! (These guys are currently in a bit of a legal battle, go check them out and show some support for a cause that might be bigger than any of us)
Give A Gi is another Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu charity that is quickly gaining momentum and proving that, even among all the politics that out there, we can still unite to make a difference. If you’re like me (which you’re probably not, but roll with me here…) you might have 1 or 2 gi’s too many. Donate them! Get them out of your house and into the hands of someone who needs them! Do you think the kids in the Dominican Republic care if it’s a Gracie Barra or Pedro Sauer gi? Hell no! Just for the record, in case my last sentence wasn’t clear enough, these guys don’t give a rat’s @$$ who’s gi it is. They’re just happy to have them!
Maybe we should all think like this. Maybe we should realize that we are a community that is representative of a sport as a whole. Maybe we shouldn’t care whose flavor of Jiu-Jitsu we’re playing but instead be gracious in the fact that we’re lucky to have found a sport we love and have passion for. It’s time for a change in our thought process. I’ll be competitive on the mat but I’ll never question your Jiu-Jitsu or its legitimacy.