NY times best seller Sam Harris on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

portland muay thai

In case you missed it NY times best selling author Sam Harris wrote a fantastic piece on training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

To quote:

“… a similar form of self-deception can be found in most martial artists, because almost all training occurs with some degree of partner compliance: Students tend to trade stereotyped attacks in a predictable sequence, stopping to reset before repeating the drill. This staccato pattern of practice, while inevitable when learning a technique for the first time, can become a mere pantomime of combat that does little to prepare a person for real encounters with violence……I can now attest that the experience of grappling with an expert is akin to falling into deep water without knowing how to swim. You will make a furious effort to stay afloat—and you will fail. Once you learn how to swim, however, it becomes difficult to see what the problem is—why can’t a drowning man just relax and tread water? The same inscrutable difference between lethal ignorance and lifesaving knowledge can be found on the mat: To train in BJJ is to continually drown—or, rather, to be drowned, in sudden and ingenious ways—and to be taught, again and again, how to swim…..Whether you are an expert in a striking-based art—boxing, karate, tae kwon do, etc.—or just naturally tough, a return to childlike humility awaits you.”

The article also features a comment from Portland Gym head coach and SBG Founder Matt Thornton:

” I agree we need all three ranges—stand up, clinch and ground—for self-defense; and, in general, we want to avoid going to the ground in a fight. However, the best way to ensure that you will end up on the ground is to never train there in the first place. It’s the non-grapplers who are easiest to take down, and being in a “fight” means it isn’t necessarily up to you where you end up. So, it’s a bit of irony that wanting to stay off the ground in a self-defense situation should dictate a serious commitment to grappling.”

You can read it here:  http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-pleasures-of-drowning