Why Associations and Teams Mean Very Little in Jiu Jitsu

In Jiu-Jitsu we make many friends from all over the world and this something I consider very special! There is no other sport like this where we can make so many friends all over. However for some the gloom of teams and associations holds some back from discovering this. In the long run we are all descended from a single team and hold the same values. It is my view that while we should always represent and support our specific team; there is no reason to not associate or even train with people who represent another banner. Here is the list of reasons associations mean very little.

First is that like I said in my intro; we all come from a common core. We are all training Jiu Jitsu and share similar values. In fact most teams train very similar moves (almost all). What we do inside the gym is not very different than what others do. We should all be able to talk about what we have in common rather than the things that are different.

Next is a topic that makes me somewhat sad. These days a lot of people represent a specific banner for the marketability. They may choose to represent a new team or switch teams based on what is popular at the time. This is a little less prominent in high level BJJ, but common in the less known instructors.  So in some cases you may end up training with an instructor who started off as a CTA guy, and learned most of what he knows at CTA, but is now representing a banner like ATOS.  So, in some cases we don’t even know the real team we are learning from; only the banner which is currently on display.

Last I want to talk about the idea of cross training. So many people believe that cross training is disrespectful and should not be done, but in reality it is very beneficial. The people who cross train with other teams get to learn new ways of doing things, new ideas and new philosophy. In the end are we all not simply on the pursuit of knowledge?

What do you guys believe about associations? Do they Matter?  Of course Loyalty matters, but what about the differences in specific teams? Is one inherently better to train at? Is cross training acceptable?


  1. I am a BJJ Globetrotter specifically designed against this stuff…I have trained under w/o many teams I can’t even name them all….I live in Asia and that helps a lot….if I move back to America of.course I would pick a solid team….but I would also still travel and train….why am I going to limit my knowledge to just one person’s skill set….


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