Research of an Art

I’ve researched many topics in the past, the most recent in depth research that I’ve done on a topic is in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You might be saying to yourself: doesn’t research usually concern something mental, like an important life decision or a scientific subject? Previously in my life, those had been the two primary subjects of research. But once I started BJJ I realized that any topic could be researched. First and foremost, BJJ is a martial art, keyword art. Art is a tricky subject to research, as any art is open to the interpretation and execution of the artist. But as visual art begins with the fundamental principles of color mixing, brush stroke, and practice, so does BJJ begin with positional movement, extremity control, and pressure. There is a basic foundation to all research that must first be understood before a specific topic can be reached. When I first began training, I had no idea where to begin. There were just so many positions, sweeps, escapes, submissions, takedowns, and nameless other moves I could pick a place to begin. Then I began my research by buying an introductory book on BJJ, the famed Professor Saulo Ribiero’s “Jiu-Jitsu University”. Ribiero divides the book into five parts: white, blue, purple, brown, and black, but these serve primarily as tools for separation and fundamentals expected to be mastered at a belt level rather than a guideline for belt progression. He starts with the fundamental positions, and progresses to the basic escape from each position. This beginning serves as the foundation for almost all BJJ, since no matter how good you may be (though as a beginner, this will always happen), you will be on the bottom position. Once you’re able to use these basics (I refrain from saying master because mastery takes a few years), you move to the next division of research which further closes the breadth of the subject, and continue this pattern until the book, as a reference for the foundation all jiu-jitieros should at least be familiar with, has been completed. Each division requires knowledge of the foundation, as all things do, but builds upon them so as to reach greater heights of understanding. Once the foundation of knowledge in a body of research is solidified then can the exciting part of research occur. This is where an art becomes art; individualized, distinctive, and makes a statement. It’s an arrow in which you hold understanding better than the average person, yet not so far as to be the most knowledgeable in the field, since in such a branching subject such as art that divides and further subdivides into oblivion, you hold knowledge in the branch which you have taken the time to study. In this way, research of a subject can never be finished. Yes, you may be more knowledgeable than others, but that’s an incorrect reference that should be held to yourself. Research never ends unless you allow it to end, or until we find out everything there is to know about everything.

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One thought on “Research of an Art

  1. Alex, I like how you researched on a extraordinary subject that not many people research about. I like how you researched about BJJ by experiencing and actually doing Ju-Jitsu rather than researching about it on the Internet. I also agree what you said in the last sentence that research never finishes until you know all about it. If you talked about whether certain kind of information was relevant or not might have been better. It would also be better if you wrote about how JuJitsu changed your life. For example, started to do something daily or started to not do something.

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