Mismatched exhibition fights.

bjj-vs-bodybuilder-1

Now you know what I find odd? (I won’t say what “grinds my gears” because I do not have any emotional reaction to it one way or another).

I find it odd how much value people put on a small or average-sized martial artist beating up an untrained hulking behemoth.

I practice various martial arts, so perhaps I have a different perspective on this.  But I must ask why is anyone amazed that a martial artist beats up an untrained person, even a large one?

Okay, maybe there is something fascinating about the sight of a small person beating a huge person that would otherwise pulverize the martial artist were the smaller person not trained… Perhaps this fascination is the same reason we love underdog stories like “David and Goliath“; they are visually appealing.

However, I understand that size, while important when skills are matched, means little when the strong person does not have skill and the small person is highly trained.

To give a great analogy (if I could say so myself), being amazed by a martial artist beating up an untrained body builder is the equivalent of being amazed by a high school varsity long distance runner beating an Olympic sprinter in a 2-mile race.  Yes, it is impressive to see a teenager beat an adult, an Olympic athlete at that, in a race but once you realize that the high school student is built for distance and the Olympic sprinter is built for short bursts, it becomes less impressive.  If you turned the tables and had them both do a 100 meter sprint, the Olympian would demolish the high school long-distance runner.  Similarly, a weight-lifter would whoop a scrawny Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner in a weight lifting competition.

To be honest, it would actually be more spectacular if an untrained strongman beats an expert grappler or BJJ artist in a match.

So that’s something to think about the next time you see a YouTube video titled “Female BJJ black belt beats man in grappling match” or “120 pound submission expert beats bodybuilder”.

-J

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