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Is Jiu Jitsu a Team Sport?
Yes Or No? We Think Both...
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a grappling martial art in which two individuals go against each other with the ultimate goal being a submission. Compared to some common sports like basketball, soccer, and football, Jiu Jitsu is a rather solitary sport in the sense that when one steps on the mat to compete, there is no team working together to achieve a common goal. With that being said, the word team is used rather often in the sport, and it leads me to think about whether Jiu Jitsu is a team sport in any sense.
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Teams in other sports typically function as a whole unit. For example, in basketball, five players work together with different functions and styles to achieve a common goal of scoring. In the sense of team members functioning as a whole unit, Jiu Jitsu is not classically a team sport.
Even in competitions like Quintet, it is still up to each individual to win their respective match, and if they lose, the whole team does not lose. The only competitions in Jiu Jitsu that appear to be truly team based are the very few WWE-style tag team competitions.
There are, however, other attributes of teams that can be applied to Jiu Jitsu. For example, just as in other sports, Jiu Jitsu “teams” train together so as to get better. They hold each other accountable for improvement just like Lebron James would hold his team accountable for practicing and getting better too.
Without having a full team around us in Jiu Jitsu, we would be severely limiting our ability to train and get better. Teams also offer diversity in style, which is important in Jiu Jitsu because if everyone in the gym likes to only play guard, then there would be no good guard passers to learn from.
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Most importantly, the way Jiu Jitsu academies can actually be called teams is the support we all provide each other. It is clearly obvious that the best academies around the world have a very strong network of social support within that lends itself to competitive success.
Finally, since one goal of competition is to support the name of your academy, and hence team, it is vital for an academy to behave as team with the common goal of having as many people win rather than focusing on each individual.