When you take up a hobby or a sport, you join a community by the simple fact that the people you communicate with most often online or in person will be participating in that same hobby/sport. Then, it’s easy to forget that there is a world outside of that community.
I’m part of two such communities. One is the grappling community. The other is the academic community. The latter (academia) loves private gossiping, the former (bjj) seems to love public drama (especially online). I was reminded of this when I briefly noticed the heat that a guy named Sam Osman received after winning Pans in the brown belt masters division. The drama was due to the fact that Sam received his black belt 3 months before the Pans, but still competed in the brown belt division. The reason was because the process for IBJJF to get you approved as a black belt is complicated and takes time. I didn’t read anything more about it than that, but I’m guessing Sam was a bit slow with filing all the necessary paperwork, but still wanted to compete. The picture to the left is of Sam winning the gold and here’s the Facebook comments that the picture received.
The guy was called a sandbagger and a lot more ridiculously exaggerating accusations. I have my opinion on this, but that doesn’t matter. Everyone has an opinion. What’s amazing to me is that in the BJJ community everyone with an opinion feels it their moral duty to make that opinion known. It doesn’t matter if they are an expert or a novice, whether they know anything about competing and whether they know any of the facts in the case, their opinion must be known! The result is often not something I’m proud of associating with. Still, having so many loud voices means that it’s hard to get away with shady stuff. That’s a good thing. The whole Lloyd Irvin thing is an example of that. Keep honest people honest, and jump on anything that looks like b.s.
In the end, I’m happy to be part of this unique bunch of pijama wearing folk, but I do try to stay away from the drama. I’ll admit, it’s often enticing to read and share the latest gossip. But it’s not good for your brain, your soul, and your long term outlook on life.