At the last jiu-jitsu tournament, I jokingly asked Shihan if he wanted to do an exhibition match with me. He said “Sure, but I’ll tell you right now that I am going to cheat. The first thing I’m gonna to do is grab one of those chairs right there and crack you over the head with it.” I love this man! He has a lot of fun phrases that he likes to use. I think my favorite one that he’s ever used when referring to me is “If you’re going to fight Gina, you better bring a baseball bat.”
One time when I was grappling with my daughter and I did something that she considered “illegal”, I told her that there were no rules on the street. She responded “Oh, if I’d known we were playing by street rules, I would have brought a gun.” That’s my girl!
If people question how I feel about rules, they need look no further than the teachings of John Roseberry-Shihan. He knows what it’s like to try to survive under street rules, and how focusing your training too much on sport fighting, and it’s accompanying limitations, can affect your scope and ability to fight when the rules aren’t in place. Obviously, we can’t train and compete without any rules at all, but we have to be aware that they can hinder our training. Shihan would never advocate breaking rules in a competition setting, but if you only practice your art under strict adherence to, and focus on, a rules system, you’re not really learning self-defense. Which is fine if that’s what you want, but Shihan and I would rather lose in competition than on the street.