Epi 154 Scrambling

This week we are talking about scrambling. We want to give some tips and help bring order to this potentially chaotic situation.scrambling

We talk about:

  • Defining a scramble
  • Finding order in a scramble
  • Who benefits in a scramble
  • Common positions to create a scramble
  • Ways to end the scramble
  • Tips to win a scramble


Quote of the week: “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” Stephen Soundheim

Article of the week: Something You Need to Know About the BJJ Gauntlet


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Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

Gary’s audio book this week is “The Scramble, What Fighters Eat For Breakfast”

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Something You Need to Know About the BJJ Gauntlet

In many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) schools, students occasionally get whipped by belts. This is typically done as a right of passage during a belt promotion, birthday, or some type of celebration. Students line up with their BJJ belts in hand and whip the person who must run the gauntlet. Today I want to bring this dark topic to light.

Belt whipping meme bjj

Hazing students has a negative effect on self-esteem

BJJ brings many positive-life changing benefits to the people that train, none of these benefits are a product of belt whipping. Belt whipping is a form of hazing (illegal in 44 US states). It is seen as a way to prove yourself to be part of a tough group. Many kids and adults are in BJJ programs to learn how to not be the victim of a bully, and build confidence. They may find themselves in a room full of bullies with belts peer pressuring them to do something that they would rather not do. One of two things usually happens in this situation. The student realizes that this is an unhealthy environment and they leave the school. Or the student fails to stand up for themselves and they give in to the peer pressure.

It takes a person of extraordinary confidence to look at the gauntlet and tell the group “No, I am not doing this. I am not going to be whipped, and I am not going to whip anyone else. I am here to learn BJJ; I am not here to take part in hazing.” It takes more courage to stand up to the group and say no to the gauntlet than it does to get whipped by belts.

Some proponents of belt whipping argue that this sport is for people that are tough and can take a beating. I argue that BJJ will make a person tough, after all it is a rough experience being on the mat. BJJ is designed for the smaller, weaker person, not the guy who walks in the door already a tough guy. Instead of building the weaker person up, the sight of this hazing is likely to chase them away. Another argument is that the gauntlet is a tradition in BJJ (dating back to the mid 90’s if that counts as tradition). Tradition is important in martial arts, many traditions have a rich history, the gauntlet does not have a rich history. Much like picking fights on the beach this tradition is best left in the past as BJJ is spread around the world.

Let’s address the legal issue with a little more depth. It does not matter to the law whether the student gives implied consent. Their consent to the hazing is not a defense that a social club can use, it is still illegal. If a student is not physically harmed it will typically be a misdemeanor, but if there is an injury the crime of hazing is a felony in many US states. Whipping marks left by a belt could be considered an injury. Gym owners and coaches should heed this warning. By writing this article I am not trying to get anyone in trouble with the law, I just want to see successful gyms with good business practices. Ask yourself what successful business would post illegal activities on social media?Hazing 6 states

It is time to leave this tradition of hazing in the past. The gauntlet is not helping to build stronger or better students, BJJ does that in spite of the gauntlet.

Things like rolling, or a throw are not hazing – they are part of doing BJJ. If your school is participating in hazing its students I recommend sharing this article with your instructor and respectfully sitting out of the process. I am confident that most instructors are simply unaware that they are breaking the law. Help them out by letting them know.

I look forward to reading your comments.


Epi 118 BJJ Taboo Topics With Tim Sledd Part 1

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Tim Sledd

Tim Sledd

Here we go my friends! An episode with Tim Sledd about the taboo topics of BJJ. I can’t think of anyone else that I would like to hear from about these controversial topics than Tim. Tim spent countless hours as a hard working successful lawyer, he left this career path to pursue BJJ. Tim’s opinions of these taboo topics are well thought out and he defends them well.

We talk about:

  • Washing your belt
  • The history of belts in martial arts
  • How dirty your belt might be
  • Belt whipping and gauntlets
  • Hazing students and the law
  • Throwing students for a belt promotion
  • How to avoid hazing
  • What is a creonte
  • Why you might leave your BJJ school
  • Cross training with different schools
  • Signing a contract to train BJJ
  • Dating within the gym
  • Using the phrase “go to war” for BJJ or MMA


Quote of the week: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatma GandhiYour-First-Year-Of-BJJ-artwork-1199

Article of the week: Stop Doing Drills; Start Using Challenges Daniel Coyle


Catch us next week for part 2!