Robert Drysdale: “Professionalization Of BJJ Made The New Culture Around It Less Appealing”

Robert Drysdale: “Professionalization Of BJJ Made The New Culture Around It Less Appealing”

Everyone experiences difficulties on their BJJ journey. Both the amateur and professional athletes alike; as well as the most elite among them. World champions, too – such as Robert Drysdale.
When asked about what his challenges were, Drysdale mentions several of them:

There were the injuries I ignored and the losses that strengthened me. Also, there was dealing with the pettiness, with greed, with the ambition and the misguided motivation of people around me that wore me out a little.

The technical challenges were exciting, to be honest. Even the losses, looking back, were crucial for my development.

However, one of the biggest challenges he’s experienced comes down to the professionalization of BJJ. Here’s why:

There were people as well, of course, in terms of cultural shocks. Primarily, however, there were conflicts of values… The professionalization of BJJ has made the new culture around it less appealing to me.

For example, there is the Japanese matrix that goes along the lines of: “Thank you, Sensei, for instructing me on my journey and for sharing your knowledge and experience with us”, which is gradually being replaced with: “Sensei, what are you going to give me so I continue to represent your team? I won a few tournaments you know…”
This new set of values is at odds with BJJ’s core values. For me at least.


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Make sure to read our full interview with Robert Drysdale to hear more of his thoughts on this subject.