In basketball, some would argue that the game’s greatest players are also the greatest mouths. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Gary Payton aside from being hall of famers (at least the first two) are also infamous for getting into their opponents head and beating them with smack talk. The bragging, making fun of your opponents, to some extent humiliation are all considered part of the game. If it is somehow acceptable on the hard wood, I wonder if it has a place on the mats.
The mental aspect is a huge part of the jiujitsu game, just like in basketball. The body may have been trained or program to move without thought, but we can safely say that it takes a toll in our mind just as much in our bodies. As we roll, we continually engage our mind in solving puzzles with our bodies -our limbs acting as the interlocked puzzle pieces. A slip in our focus can be the difference between a pass, a sweep, a lock, a choke, a win or a loss. No wonder, top level BJJ competitors often talked about the mindset they need to have whenever they step on the mats. Trash talking can be used against your opponent’s mind in the same way you use an effective move or technique on his (or her) body. Trash talking at first glance, does not seem to fit with jiujitsu though. Why? The quick answer, Jiujitsu is a martial art where respect should be of utmost importance. Looking at it on another angle, Jiujitsu is a form of self defense, in the streets there are no rules. Your attacker is trying to dominate you physically and mentally, and I’m sure they wouldn’t have any problem taunting you verbally.
In our gym, we do engage in bit of trash talk, there are no written rules, but we sort of follow an unspoken one. We keep it within the techniques I.e. “your guard sucks”, “now that sweep(I just did) was beautiful” -definitely no fat momma jokes. We have fun doing this to each other, I wouldn’t know how others would feel about that. We’re a tight group and basically friends with each other that’s why we get away with such.
I am very torn on this, a part of me sees trash talking as disgusting and just doesn’t seem to belong in our Jiujitsu. Another part of me, thinks just the opposite, that maybe we should train with it, learn to deal with it. While my two personas are arguing on that matter, a third one tries to find the middle ground for both argument. I wouldn’t know how to implement an environment where mind games and trash talk are ok yet at the same time ensures that utmost respect is given to everyone, if possible, that would be perfect.
How would you feel if somebody starts talking to you during your tournament match? Would you feel that such shouldn’t be allowed or something that we should accept and prepare for?