Apparently my Jiu-Jitsu Sensei, Conan Schafer, has been recently accused of not having a legit black belt. While on one hand I feel like I shouldn’t even address such a ridiculous claim, so as to not give credence to it, my annoyance over this subject requires that I vent.
It seems as though the issue is that he is not a BJJ black belt. Well duh! We do not train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at our Japanese arts dojo, nor do we claim to. I’m not going to try to explain the history of the arts, Conan (and Gary) covered that in the post Building our Future. I can understand how some people might be confused about our system, because we don’t have the lineage of any particular Japanese Ju-Jitsu style, and our training appears to closely resemble that of BJJ.
Everything we do in our school is based upon John Roseberry-Shihan’s enormous experience in the martial arts. He is a 7th Dan in Judo, and has been training it since 1955. Some years ago, Ido Pariente came from Israel to train under Shihan, and he asked him to focus part of his training on the ne waza (ground techniques) that Shihan knew from his extensive Judo background. This is the seed that grew into what is now Roseberry’s Jiu-Jitsu.
Shihan took what he learned from Judo and created his own ground system, and this is what he taught to Ido. Since then, elements from other forms of ground fighting have been incorporated into our hybrid style. Shihan is a firm believer in using whatever works, so parts of our system have grown from wrestling, BJJ, and even military and law enforcement procedures.
What we practice at our school is a ground fighting system started by Roseberry-Shihan, and perfected over years of hard work on the mat. Our strong presence in the Jiu-Jitsu community, and our record in competition, shows that we are as legit as anyone out there. To say that my Sensei does not deserve his black belt because he doesn’t have a BJJ or a Japanese Ju-Jitsu lineage is small-minded and inaccurate.
All we have ever tried to do is share our love for ground fighting with as many people as possible. Conan Schafer-Sensei has given a tremendous amount of his life to growing Jiu-Jitsu in our community and the world, and he has accomplished more on that front than probably anyone in the Midwest. People should be thanking him for all he’s done, not trying to tear him down with baseless accusations.
(For a more detailed account of Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan Jiu-Jitsu history, please read Revisiting a Little of Our History)