Fútbol y Jiú-Jitsú
Spain would go on and win the 2010 world cup, but let’s all look back early in the tournament to the group match between Spain and Switzerland. What does soccer have to do with Jiu-Jitsu? Keep reading.
Spain had been undefeated in all 10 of their world cup qualifying matches, had NEVER lost to Switzerland EVER in the history of the planet, and was the Euro 08 champion. The Spanish players had 27 shots on goal to Switzerland’s 7. Spain had possession of the ball 83 percent of the time. Spain was favored to win. Switzerland was ranked 24th, Spain 2nd. The Spanish players had more experience, skill, and stamina. Final score: Spain 0: Switzerland 1. The one goal was a sloppy OMG-I-can’t-believe-it-went-in goal, 52 minutes into a 90minute match, everybody was pretty much stumbling and tripping all over themselves, the goalie went out of position to make a play for the ball, the ball goes into a wide open net, handing Spain only their 2nd loss in 50 games (and as it turned out, their only loss at the world cup.) As you can see from the graphic below, Spain dominated the game. But one point, one goal, was all that mattered.
But that’s what happens when a tournament is determined solely by points. Your opponent does not necessarily have to be better than you to score more points. There is no quick submission in soccer; you simply have to score more points than your opponent in the allotted time. Once Switzerland had their point, they locked down their defense and played tightly until time ran out. The moral of the story is: The better team doesn’t always win. Sometime your opponent gets lucksy, sometimes it’s just not your day. Fortunately for Spain, it was a group match, and they got out of that group and went on to win the whole thing. Had it been a semifinal or other one-and-you’re-out match, they would have been SOL.
You’ll see the same situation in Jiu-jitsu tournaments. Once one of the fighter’s gains an advantage or is up on points, they shut down their game, stall, hunker down, and fight to not lose. Is it fair? Sure, they are playing by the “rules” after all. The referee can deduct points but that seldom happens unless they make it really obvious that they are stalling. Did the person who won by stalling have better Jiu-Jitsu? Perhaps, perhaps not… most of the time you can’t really tell especially if it happens early in a match. Are they being true to Jiu-Jitsu? Not in my humble opinion. I guess if your sole purpose in entering a tournament is winning, I could see how you would want to employ that strategy to save energy for the next match etc. But in a word, it’s BORING. How can you progress your Jiu-Jitsu by stalling? How can you find out or prove your Jiu-Jitsu is better if you don’t use it? Is this how they train at the gym? Is this how you train? In a perfect world, all tournaments would have no time limits and would be submission only. Tournament organizers would find it highly improbable logistically and financially so we’ll probably never see a tournament like that. Tournaments are not always a place for pure Jiu-Jitsu, the training mat is. Open up your game.
Here is one of Fookie’s classic matches. Pure Jiu-Jitu. I still get amped up watching it.