Last night I stayed awake thinking about something. Why is it important to be “the best”? You hear about it all the time in almost every sport or event. People want to know who the best is. Sometimes it is clear cut and easy to define. In 2005, Tiger Woods was the best golfer. In the 1990’s, Michael Jordan was the best basketball player. Right now, the best UFC fighters might bring up Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva.
So, it begs the question, why is it important? Well, from a spectators perspective, I love to watch someone who is well versed in the sport they play. I love watching old Tiger clips from the Masters. Let us not forget Royce’s epic run in UFC 1-4. They were the best in their time and it is great to watch. But, as a participant, it really means nothing because the line isn’t nearly as clear.
Let me explain.
If someone were to walk into the gym I train at and ask me “who is the best?” I would say something like this:
“The best well-rounded game would be the instructor, of course. But, if you want to see a wicked deep half guard, see Eric over there? He is your guy. Closed guard something you want to work on? Look no further than Logan right here. Pressure top game, let me introduce you Jim.”
In Jiu Jitsu you can create a specialty game or broad game, that is up to you. Other sports do not allow this. I cannot go to the PGA tour and be amazing with my wedges and drive terribly. By the same token, I would not be very desirable if I could not hit a jump shot, but my lay ups were amazing. That is something that makes Jiu Jitsu stand out in regards to other sports.
Now, of course, there are some very, very good jiu jitsu players who can be broad and specialize at the same time. These are your world champions: Galvao, Garcia, etc. They are the best, from a spectators and a students perspective. But as a participant, being the best is fluid and abstract.
I may have amazing guard passing, but if I get stuck in Phil’s half guard, it’s game over for me. By the same token, if I do pass, it is game over for him. Who is the best? More importantly, does it matter?