Because of the internet, devastating news travels so fast now and the recent rape arrest of the Lloyd Irvin Medal chasers, Maldonado &Schultz, have gotten a lot of us thinking. Some of us were already doing that but heinous crime has a way of putting a big fire under folks and even though some of the discussion in BJJ circles has slowed down, the impact has not. It is a reminder that although we would like to believe this recent rape case and the 1990 arrest of Lloyd Irvin are isolated, sex crimes are rampant everywhere and these are not the only serious crimes by martial artists. Jiu-jitsu is not immune.
Instead of engaging in a fight over one topic, one faction, one person, can we take a break and ask ourselves a larger question? What is really going on in martial arts and where are we headed?
Of course these horrific events are not the norm and do not represent a cross section of the high caliber individuals who train and practice the arts. For those who have devoted their lives in an honorable and forthright manner to training, teaching methods, and business practices, the notion that these events and other various abuses of power that occur in our industry could ever reflect the actual “culture” of what we do every day is heartbreaking to say the least. Abuse of power is not what we do, it is the thing we learn how to stop doing.
The BJJ industry has seen enormous growth and with that comes ever increasing responsibility. In the 90’s very few people in the US had even heard of BJJ or MMA, or the UFC. Most of us think everyone follows the UFC, but just ask your fellow PTA moms if they watch the fights and you will often get a blank stare. Many know about BJJ but everyone knows about martial arts and they will automatically attach BJJ to what they already know about martial arts.