Should Jiu-Jitsu Events Put Time Limits on ‘Stalling’ Positions?
To be clear, this thought process specifically refers to spectator jiu-jitsu events, mainly Metamoris and potentially Copa Podio superfights. I do think there is strong value in keeping a purity of a sportive event but I do think that in order for our sport to grow worldwide, changes have to be made so that non-practitioners can develop interest in it.
This may be one of the most important changes Metamoris can make. If you look at judo federations, although they have made some scandalous rule changes over the last few years, you can see that they try to trim a lot of the fat off the meat – in other words – they removed as many boring aspects to keep the matches as high paced.
The most obvious and understandable rule is that since the objective of judo is throwing, they only give athletes thirty seconds on the ground to get a pin or submission. Since the focus of BJJ is submissions, the referee should have the right to raise athletes if he thinks any stalling is happening, or, set time limits for positions that are boring.
The fifty/fifty position is one of these positions. Yes, there are those who think the position is a technical web of awesomeness, and there are those who think that it’s a huge waste of time - athletes just sit there, chasing each other’s feet. This debate will never end, but it’s also completely irrelevant in this situation. Why? In an event like Metamoris, entertainment is the priority. If that means they have to put a time-limit on boring positions, then so be it! This is something that people need to open their minds to in order for jiu-jitsu to ever become anywhere close to a spectator sport. If jiu-jitsu will ever have a chance of non-practitioners watching and remotely enjoying what they see, rules like this will have to be implemented. If you value the technical details of positions, which of course all practitioners do, then you can watch sport jiu-jitsu in it’s purity at the World Championships or the World Pro. But in an event like Metamoris, they have every right to manipulate the rules to make the sport more entertaining.
Giving a position like fifty/fifty a thirty-second or one-minute time limit is totally acceptable. If one athlete has mount and is smothering his opponent for two minutes and isn’t really doing anything to progress the match, then the referee should have the ability to stand them up on their feet or have one sitting on their butt and the other standing. Whoever was on the bottom will have to start with guard and whoever was on top will be the passer. It’s the equivalent of what is done in the UFC, where the referee can raise both opponents to their feet if he thinks they were stalling. The UFC understands the value of entertainment for their business, as should Metamoris, even if it is dealing with a much smaller market. The events that will apply this may receive some backlash from many jiu-jitsu practitioners, but with time, as the event successfully grows, it would all be worth it.