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Ideas on Trash Talking in Jiu Jitsu

Ideas on Trash Talking in Jiu Jitsu


Exploring trash talking in Jiu Jitsu…

Jiu Jitsu, like other combat sports, has its trash talkers. While it is arguable that no one has risen to the level of Conor McGregor or Muhammad Ali, we certainly have our contenders for trash talking.

There seems to be two distinct view points on talking trash.  Carlson Gracie once said. “Always enter like a kitten and leave like a lion. But never enter like a lion and leave like a kitten.  Always be humble.”

Keenan Cornelius said in a recent video with Gracie Magazine that talking trash sets a poor example to our younger grapplers.

Many would argue that talking trash runs diametric to traditional martial arts values.

On the opposite view point, Helio Gracie walked into the arena where he was going to fight Kimura with a casket for his opponent.

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.” While the quote is not directly addressing trash talking, I think it is applicable. If the martial art’s foundation is savagery, then trash talking is certainly acceptable.

Beyond the foundations of the sport and the appropriateness of trashing talking, there are several other components of trash talking that should be mentioned.

Trash talking can be very entertaining. Certainly, it takes talent to deliver entertaining trash talking without being obnoxious. Conor McGregor and Chael Sonnen are two prime examples of masters of this. We would be remiss if we did not also mention Muhammad Ali. While they certainly possess exceptional fighting abilities, their trash talking brought more attention to a fight and even new fans to the sport.

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A second benefit of trash talking is psychological warfare. In the classic the Art of War, Sun Tzu stated "Every battle is won or lost before it's ever fought". In my mind this primarily deals with preparation and abilities. However, I would also argue it relates to the psychological warfare that happens before a battle. Trash talking is certainly a component of psychological warfare.

There are certainly times when trash talking goes too far and reflects poorly on the sport. The match AJ Agazarm and Vagner Rocha is one example. Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov is another example. In both cases there were the possibilities that spectators could have been injured because someone was pushed too far with trash talking.

Ultimately, it is up to your instructor to set the tone of what is appropriate for his students. The respect you have for your professor should always trump any hatred or desire to trash talk an opponent.


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