Warrior Clowns and Prehistoric Beasts

The following video (at the bottom of the blog post) of GSP and his team has more one-sentence quotes than a 80’s Swartznagger movie, and that’s a good thing in my book. It brings up a pre-fight ritual that I’ve come to appreciate in my (much smaller scale) competition pursuits.

“When you go to war, you bring your soldiers with you”.

The minutes before a tournament match I like to spend in silence, focused on the task at hand. But the hours before, I like to spend talking in a relaxed way or even joking around with fellow serious grapplers: people who have gone to war on the mat hundreds of times, and understand what it takes. In the video, “chief clown” John Danaher is a perfect example of that with his discussion of prehistoric beasts:

That’s why I don’t usually like my friends or family to come watch me compete, because unless they are aware of what it takes to do this type of sport, they tend to start lengthy conversations that take me away from the fact that I will have to step on the mat very soon to try to break the arm of a guy who’s going to try to do the same to me. One great exception to that was when my two very good friends, Allen and Matt, came to watch me compete at the Chicago Open. They sat waiting for 3-4 hours and never looked bored. They simply let me be and showed support when it came to match time. They went back to normal joking around afterwards. That was very cool.

I think that jiu jitsu is different from wrestling, judo, and MMA, in that the mental state of a competitor is a little more Buddhist monk and a little less berserk barbarian. Of course, it varies based on your style, but there is definitely less physical intensity on average in high-level jiu jitsu matches compared to the other grappling and combat sports. So, perhaps I would adjust GSP quote of “when you go to war, you bring your soldiers with you” to “when you go to war, you bring your warrior clowns with you”.

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