I thought it worth bumping this thread, as the same gentleman I was referring to back in 2009 has now gone through the whole process, passed his blue belt test with flying colours, got his instructor certification and opened his own Gracie Academy affiliated school, as a one stripe blue belt. See here for more details.
Originally Posted by slideyfoot
Particularly interesting is that he is opening that school in London. That means he is competing against instructors like Roger Gracie, Lagarto, Nic Gregoriades, and a whole host of top schools, with affiliates from Carlson Gracie and Checkmat among many others, stuffed with black belts.
I will be very interested to see if Mr Harding can be successful in that market. My hat is off to him if he is able to do well. The argument would be that perhaps he is not competing against those other massive schools, as he is offering something to the people who are purely interested in self defence.
As we've argued at length in this thread, the validity of the statement that "Gracie jiu jitsu is self defence and everyone else is just sport jiu jitsu" remains up for debate. However, I think this could be an excellent test of just how good the Gracie University program is, as well as the power of the Gracie Academy marketing.
I'm looking forward to seeing how that new school develops. Should be interesting.
I come from a bastard Bjj background of a Relson Gracie (very self defense/mma focus) to Alliance/Nova Unioa (extremely sport focus). So I've seen both extremes and the deficiency of both. But to suggest a blue belt with limited training can offer more than the academies you listed is mental.
"Seen both extremes and the deficiencies of both" - I couldn't have put it better myself.
Sport and self defense are very different, even if the core of the moves come from the same source initially. At the end of the day, the belt isn't an indication of whether the instructor is a good communicator, or can get across the principles of the body mechanics, or even whether there is a structured, incremental syllabus. Having seen Ryron & Reners instructors ICP course the information is all there to enable good instruction.
But... All things being equal I'm sure most people would choose the school that has the black belt instructor over the blue belt instructor, and Mr. Harding is going to have a tough time competing with the likes of Lagarto and Nic - I've trained with both of them and they have a wealth of knowledge.
Basically Mr. Harding's USP is the fact that the combatives is geared towards self defense - and that is actually all some people want - it's difficult to have perspective when we've been in the BJJ world for a few years, but if I saw a club run by a blue belt v. an international level black belt I would've gone for the black belt. But if I saw a club that prepared me to defend myself v. a club that tought me how to win tournaments I may have gone for the former? I honestly don't know.
Good luck to Mr. Harding, at the end of the day, the more clubs teaching BJJ/GJJ the better, we're still a minority art compared to karate or judo, and any way of spreading the word regardless of which side of the Gracie family it comes from can only be good IMHO :)
Meh I think Slidey's point was to demonstrate an original complaint of the program, will people go there instead of a readily available Jiu Jitsu gym? This points to yes.
I think some will go there - a much smaller percentage than the more experienced black belts clubs but some guys who arent interested in competition will be interested I think. But they may not even be in the same market - competition oriented guys might be looking at karate/judo/MMA etc and end up doing BJJ at Rogers or Lagartos... But a few guys that have considered stuff like Krav Maga or are ex-army might end be interested in the Combatives program? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
The issue would be if people might go there expecting a certain level of training because they're convinced by the "pure self defence" etc marketing, then a few years down the line realise they would have been much better off at a 'normal' BJJ school and kick themselves for wasting time and money. Or worse, never realise.
Originally Posted by David Koresh Jr.
Anyone who has posted on here for more than a few months can point to several stories of people wishing they'd never taken up [insert TMA here], when they could have been training [insert functional combat sport here] instead, having come to the realisation that training against resistance is the key to developing a viable skill set that's applicable in a 'real' situation.
However, that hopefully won't happen. A more positive perspective would be that all those people who are intimidated by BJJ, and therefore might have gone into aikido, wing chun or something like that, will instead go to Harding's school.
Also, it's a free market, so as long as he isn't misleading anybody, he's entitled to the opportunity to sell his product. Whether or not it's a good product remains to be seen, but like I said, I'm looking forward to seeing how it pans out. If I get the opportunity to check out the class, I will (and to clarify, I mean that in a respectful, "this is an interesting take on BJJ, I wonder what it's like" sense, rather than some kind of dojo storm).
i went to a royce gracie seminar a couple of months ago. i asked him what he thought of techniques which work well in competition but may not work so well in street fights. he ranted for about 15 minutes.
he said that competition is bad for BJJ. "why did you first start train shou shitsu? for self defense. not to be a world champion. i was never world champion. you look at all the best MMA fighters, they were never world champion shou shitsu. why you wanna train like dat, it only work in a tournament."
or something to that effect.
i asked what he thought of competitions where no points are scored. he said it's better, but still no good.
one fighter who had won grappling competitions all over the world, did very well in ADCC and fought in pride, asked royce if he could be promoted to black belt. royce refused because this fellow did not happen to know the gracie self defence curriculum.
the gist of the rest was that GJJ is superior, BJJ is a game.
i disagreed with about 70% of what he said, but of course i didn't want to debate with him.
EDIT - i'll add, most of the people at the seminar were gracie academy students. the instructor had apparently learned everything over the internet...
Wallid says: "That'a lotta bool-sheet"
Except for that marketing stand-point that Slidey mentioned, there is something else important: we don't have schools "stuffed with black belts" here. And what is really great about the blue belt GJJ curriculum is the structure, the way you can learn towards a goal without being at the mercy of some BJJ black belt.
What's the criterion for a good product? It's next to useless against even a n00b in a real grappling system, but it's definitely stuff you want to know for rolling around in teh lava with untrained people.
Originally Posted by slideyfoot