Respect is Earned, Not Given /// By: Anthony Mitchell
From day one, we are taught (and taught to teach) that jiu-jitsu is about respect. Martial Arts teach us respect. But it’s as if it’s expected of us, under all circumstances. If someone questions someone or insults them, it’s “against the code,” and they are instantly the one who is faulted.
I originally started as a mixed martial artist. I trained jiu-jitsu, boxing, wrestling, and Muay Thai. I was always the consummate professional… in my lone losses and in all of my victories because that’s what I was taught – how I was raised. But fighting got old, and jiu-jitsu was my passion, primarily in the gi. So I dedicated many hard years trying to improve and in return help others improve as well.
This all leads me to my drive and love for sport jiu-jitsu. Competition is unlike any other experience you will ever know. We are still told jiu-jitsu teaches respect. But are we as athletes supposed to show respect for another athlete that refuses to engage or stalls in competition? I train hard, I beat my body ragged… all for the opportunity to compete and be pushed to my limits. All of that is not done to get to the battle and end up in a cuddle session. I have won and I have lost, but I have always fought… and I fought from bell to bell for a submission. I have always fought battles, and whether I succeeded or not, I always had my opponent respect me – for my attitude before, my attitude after, and how I fought.
This is not a dig at guard pullers or guys who make contact and sit down. This is primarily a question to the guys who come to fight and win, but they never fight. Is this how you train? Are there special techniques or training sessions or camps that teach how to win without breaking a sweat? I literally had a guy reverse a takedown on me in one match, get top half guard, and bear hug me. Every ref warning, he would try to advance… I’d almost get the sweep, get my advantage, then I was bear hugged for another 30-45 seconds. When it was all over, I lost 2-0 and had 4 advantages for my attempts to engage in the fight. I lost the match and he apologized, but I felt robbed of the battle that I trained for. Point is, the guard pullers and butt scooters are not the problem with modern sport jiu-jitsu, it’s the stallers who either do not engage, or engage just enough to not actually fight. People always respect the fight, but not always the fighter. When the dust settles, at least be the opponent that does enough to make the dust stir. Train hard, fight harder, and earn RESPECT.