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With 2x European Champion, Emilia Tuukkanen


I want to start by saying that I do not wish to hurt anybody's feelings or step on anyone's toes. I am a 22-year-old purple belt girl, and am writing this from my point of view and understanding.

There has been a lot of controversy, and you could even say bad blood, between jiu jitsu people and their stance on modern vs. old school ideas. What I have noticed is that most of the negativity, immature comments and belittling come from the people who strongly support the old school jiu jitsu regime.

It feels like everyday I see some negative comments about the berimbolo, worm guard, de la riva etc on my Facebook news feed, coming from white belts and black belts alike. But, dear god if anyone dares to even start to say something like old school stuff might be boring as well, all hell would break loose! Maybe it’s just me, but modern jiu jitsu players very rarely seem to make any bad comments about different styles or stake claim over what style is best.


I am definitely not taking sides, as my own style is a mixture of everything, and I don't identify being part of either of these camps. I love berimbolo, but I also use full guard sweeps. Overall I think that I have no right to say to anyone that something they do ‘does not work’ or ‘is s**t’ or ‘kills jiu jitsu’. Some think that berimbolo is boring, some others think half guard or full guard is boring. And, it is totally fine to think so, that’s called having an opinion. What makes me mad is when people start making hateful comments based on these differences of opinion.

Maybe the haters should take a step back and really think why do they hate berimbolo so much? Is it really because it is boring (I never understood this argument, just watch the Mendes bros, Keenan or the Miyaos, it is a frigging form of art how they take the back). If that is the reason, why don't they hate full guard, which is often very passive? Or half guard lock down? Is the real reason for the hate that people don’t like change?

May people have already had their style and techniques settled for years, and now something new came along that’s unfamiliar, and they would have to make an effort to learn something new. I think this is the case with higher belts that talk s**t about berimbolo and worm guard etc. The ego perhaps takes over. They would have to admit that they don't know how to do something, so it is easier to just say it doesn't work.


I think the development of jiu jitsu is only positive. Change is not a bad thing. We need to kick the huge egos out from the mats and respect every style equally. Who has the right to say what works and what doesn't? People have different physiques, different motives and goals and different backgrounds, so of course the same things don't work for everyone. And that is okay. So next time you want to make a joke about how berimbolo is the death of real jiu jitsu, remember that it is only your opinion, not the ultimate truth that you need to get everyone to believe.

So to sum things up, respect others, stay humble and let everyone discover their own styles and the techniques that work for them. It is a great thing that we have so many different ways to sweep, get the back, pass the guard or submit. And we should encourage that.

September 25, 2014 — Jiu Jitsu Style