I’m just now watching 2008 Mundials (World Jiu Jitsu Championship). Dai Yoshioka comes out in the finals wearing an unbleached gi with no patches representing a fictional team (Tokyo Yellowmans). Have to love that, especially the self-deprecating humor of the team name. This is one of the aspects in which I personally like the judo culture better than jiu jitsu. Patches and dramatic emphasis on a team you represent is a little silly. Many people I respect feel otherwise. This is just my modest opinion.
(Plus it helps that Yoshioka has amazing jiu jitsu. I’ve never seen anyone so relaxed under a constant high-intensity assault of his open guard.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love being part of a team. When I wrestled in high school, lining up with my team by weight and facing the opposing team in a western-style showdown was always awesome. We supported each other, and everyone fought that much harder because we needed their points for the team win. On the other hand, wrestling (as well as jiu jitsu, judo, mma) is fundamentally an individual sport. It’s just you out there. The beauty of the game is in the clash of individual wills. It’s a test of who is the better man, and a big patch on your back always seemed to me to be a deviation from that ideal of pure one-on-one competition.