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The “Face” Of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Who is the true face of BJJ?
Who do we think of when we think of the “face” of Jiu-Jitsu? Helio Gracie? Xande Ribeiro? Gordan Ryan? Keenan Cornelius? Tom DeBlass or Bernardo Faria? Some other guy or gal that we all see as an absolute monster on the mats? Someone who unrelentingly gives back to the sport? Someone who is exemplary in their actions, on and off the mat?
So, is there someone we can all agree on that should be the “face” of Jiu-Jitsu? Well, maybe Andre Galvao could be...maybe...I guess. He seems like a nice enough guy. He is a beast on the mat. World champion. Runs a beautiful school. Has other world champions around him. Posts positive messages on Instagram. Seems to love his wife and daughter a lot. What do you think? Do you agree? Should he be the person? Maybe...maybe not.
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Andre Galvao and Marcelo Garcia are great, but they are not the people I think of when I think of the “face” of Jiu-Jitsu. When I first thought of this idea, I immediately started rifling through mental pictures of all the people I train with. The people I sweat with. The people I grind with. And It could never be just one person. Too many people I am around play too much a large role in my life to pick just one.
For me, It's the faces I see everyday when I walk through the gym door. It’s the faces who greet me with a warm “Hello” and a handshake on the tough days. It's the face that give me a little tweak to a move I have been working on that makes me feel temporarily unstoppable. It's the faces of the people who are instrumental in making me better. It's not the people that I see on YouTube hitting flying armbar omoplata heel hooks. Those people don’t know my struggles, or see my accomplishments. It’s the people who give me advice. It’s the people that hold me high in victory, and help me up in defeat.
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There probably isn't one potential “face” for Jiu-Jitsu. Perspectives will be different from one person to the next. But, we can all appreciate the people around us; the people in our own personal Jiu-Jitsu community. And those people are most likely the people on the front of our minds most regularly. This is because these people help us the most. They make us feel good about ourselves more regularly. But they also keep us in check when we start to veer off the course.