I believe that one of the major reasons for the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu is the fact that Brazilians in general love nothing better than to question and swim against the tide. They are generally anti–establishment in nature, and this, I think, is why the Gracie challenge was so popular then, and still is so popular today, because their culture will not allow somebody to claim something without being questioned or challenged about it.
So as BJJ spreads throughout the world and takes on more and more influence from other countries and cultures we must be wary of falling into the trap of giving too much weight and respect to tradition and heritage, we must learn and understand but we must be careful that we don’t just follow history blindly.
I love a story that a good friend of mine told me once about how his Mum always cut the edges off the Christmas turkey before she put it into the oven. He got curious, so one day he asked his Mum why? And she said that she didn’t know but her Mum used to do it, so she did it. Getting ever more curious, he decided to ask his Grandma why? And she said that she didn’t know but her mum used to do it so he asked his great grandma why? And she laughed and said I used to do it because the ovens in those days were too small!
So you see if BJJ becomes too reliant on its history it will become like so many of the traditional martial arts: outdated. In fact it will start to de-evolve because the reason for doing things like, with great grandmas turkey, will become warped and we will continue to do techniques, teach and mentor in a way that is outdated and we will justify this for the wrong reasons.
Live Learn Evolve