Monday, November 15, 2010

Football and BJJ

With only a few hours to spare, I expected to finish writing this article before the Everton and Arsenal match.  But my PC caught a virus and I had to disinfect which took 4 hours+.  I also had to watch the match which I missed the first half.  Arsenal performed quite well with their insane passes but seemed to have become lenient at the last 20 minutes.  Everton took advantage with terrifying counter-attacks which paid off when Cahill scored a goal.  But Arsenal won anyway with 2 earlier goals, and 1 for Everton. 


You can master both football or Jiu-jitsu whether you're 5'4" or 6'10", plus or minus 150 pounds*.  I coach football to small children in a poor community.  They barely reach 4 feet, yet their headers could launch the ball as high as a basketball ring.  Not to bash the other sport but if you're as tall as them, you need extra effort with your hands to launch a ball right into the basket.  An airball is useless in basketball.  But a header from a midget or a giant would translate to a pass, an assist, or even a beautiful goal!  And we haven't talked about feet yet. 

In football, the ball is more often dribbled and passed on the ground.  Players of all shapes and sizes have an opportunity for possession.  And because they cannot grab the ball with their hands (except for the goalkeeper), players have to make do with the rest of their body to keep the ball with them.  Try grabbing the ball with your feet, your head, or your back.  No matter how short or tall you are, that should take lots of skill.  But what about basketball?  It starts with a jumpshot so the ball is thrown high in the air where the tallest and the highest leaper would have an upper hand in possession.  Tall people rules.  Sorry.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu insists that technique will always prevail over size and brute strength.  Well that's true but -- I can't preach it like a gospel truth.  Techniques aren't easy to master.  It's not like cramming where you just memorize the facts the night before and circle the best answer on the test.  You have to practice again and again before you can properly execute them against a resisting opponent.  Some moves favor long-legged people (or taller) such as triangle chokes, techniques like the Rubber Guard favor extremely flexible people, while some takedowns and guard passes make champions out of short and stocky people.

Yes size does matter in football or BJJ.  So whether you're tall or short, fit, overweight, big-headed, flexible as Plastic Man or light as a feather...use that to your advantage.

Other Things Football and BJJ Have in Common:

1.  Brand Names on their Uniforms -- In the Premiere League, stamping brand names on their jerseys was first practiced by Liverpool, which happens to be my favorite club.  But it has to be one brand only although it doesn't have to be related to football.  Standard-Chartered sponsors Liverpool's jersey.  Samsung for Chelsea, AON for Manchester United, Emirates Airlines ("Fly Emirates") for Arsenal, etc. 

In BJJ, different brand names are patched all over the gi!  Both fighters can have the same sponsor and that's no biggie for them.  And all brands are related to Jiu-jitsu and MMA.  "Vitamins & Minerals" is not a drug.

2.  Both Football and Jiu-jitsu have a reputation for being a GAY sport  --  (Future Article)

*And we're talking about competing professionally.  Yes, the best goal scorers stand at 5'10" or 6' such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Bale, etc.  But there are star strikers as well that stood only 5'4" like Maradona who was Argentina's charismatic coach during the World Cup, his protege Messi is 5'6", USA's star forward Landon Donovan is 5'7", and our very own Paulino Alcantara is only 5'2" yet he's the highest scoring player ever of FC Barcelona.

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