Martial Artist vs Grappler: What Do You Prefer?

I’ve encountered this issue recently, regarding what someone not in the sport might call a person who does jiu jitsu. Both terms are used when talking about jiu jitsu students, but what do you prefer? It does make sense to call oneself a “martial artist”- jiu jitsu is considered a martial art, and so in that line of thinking it makes sense.

I always prefer the term “grappler” though, when talking about jiu jitsu. Probably because this is what I think of when I hear the term “martial artist”:

sWX8C

…If only I could be so cool.

But the term grappler I feel also emphasizes more the sport element of jiu jitsu, which technically isn’t wrong, but doesn’t paint the whole picture. Jiu jitsu did start as a self defense system, and that history should be acknowledged and respected.

I guess it depends on how you view jiu jitsu itself: do you think of it as a martial art and self defense system, or do you think of it as more of a sport?

Let me know what you think- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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2 Comments

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu

2 responses to “Martial Artist vs Grappler: What Do You Prefer?

  1. Definitely grappler. ‘Martial artist’ has too many woo-woo connotations now for me to be comfortable with it as a term to describe myself.

    Also, I don’t view BJJ as particularly wonderful for self defence: for me, self defence is something separate to the physical techniques (at which BJJ is extremely good). E.g., self defence would include things like verbal de-escalation, understanding legal ramifications, awareness of your environment, establishing escape routes, dealing with chemical change (e.g., adrenalin, alcohol etc) and the like. I have never seen a Brazilian/Gracie jiu jitsu class that taught any of that, though I’ve obviously not seen every jiu jitsu class. ūüôā

  2. The term Martial Artist brings to mind hordes of twelve year old karate black belts yelling “Kiai!” while chopping at the air and the overweight, middle aged fraudster with a mullet taking advantage of those kids’ parents.

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