Thursday, June 14, 2007

False Confidence

Here’s what happens:

A Guido watches a card of UFC fights and decides, after being inspired by Randy Couture, that it’d be a good idea to head down to the local MMA “dojo” and learn how to kick some ass. That whole getting-punched-in-the-face thing doesn’t really hold much appeal, however, so he figures Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is the ideal option for someone in his situation.

You learn how to choke people and break their arms, and you don’t have to take punches if you don’t want to.

The Guido signs a $150-a-month contract at the nearest Gracie-approved outlet and gets to work. His tuition grants him two hours of beginner classes per week, and his game rapidly improves. After six months, he can get you in a kimura, a rear naked choke, a guillotine and a triangle. He’s deadly with these moves.

He knows how to do these things in class. He starts calling himself a “fighter.”

The problem here is that our Guido doesn’t compete. He doesn’t do any training other than his two hours a week on the mat. Sure, he goes to the gym and does “chest and arms” five days a week, but that’s for vanity. That’s for the club. Squats are for the frustrated. Sparring is dangerous. Curls get the girls.

He has no idea what to do if someone actually decides to fight back.

Eventually, push comes to shove and the Guido gets into a scrap at the club. He squares off with someone – maybe a bouncer, maybe not – and eats a few shots to the jaw. He’s “lumped up,” and he’s swept onto the sidewalk. He remembers his months of training and he’s infuriated. Everyone needs to know this. Off comes his shirt.

“Yo, I do Jiu-Jitsu, motherfuckers! None of you motherfuckin’ juicehead motherfuckers can fight me one-on-one! Yo, you need yo’ boys wit’chu, right?”

Of course, the Guido is erroneously operating under the assumption that he’s the only one on the sidewalk who’s ever been trained in any kind of fighting art. He’s also mistakenly assuming that a combined fifty hours of “experience” in a BJJ school renders him dangerous to anyone other than himself.

And, as every card-carrying Guido knows, bouncers in New York don’t know how to fight.

You know exactly what happens next. The smart Guido walks away. The dumb one – the twenty-two year old who slapped the UFC tattoo on his shoulder after two months of “training” – tests this hypothesis and feels what it’s really like.

The best part is this: no matter how hard you hit them, their hair never moves.