Grapplers are Born Out of their Coaches School of Thought
I think we actually forget how influential our coaches are on our jiu jitz game and overall approach to the sport. It became crystal clear to me when saw this match-up.
Both finalists can trace their lineage back to my school, Street Sports in Santa Monica, CA. One came from Bond Squad in Camarillo, CA. His coach, my teammate and also Street Sports black belt and 3-time Grapplers Quest champ, Timmy Bond, is a wrestler by training who has adapted his own brand of BJJ combined with collegiate wrestling. His style is heavily focused on takedowns, control and position, with less emphasis on submission.
The other came from Z-Force Jiu Jistu in Woodland Hills, CA. His coach, Alan Zborovsky (also my teammate for many years and one of the first Street Sports black belts), is basically a sophisticated submission specialist - well rounded, but focused on attacking and submissions.
Remarkably, each fighter resembled their coach to a tee. The Z-Force competitor was a tenacious submission machine - just like his coach! The Bond Squad competitor was a 130 lb high school national champ in wrestling. I had just reffed his last match, in which he beat a 200+ pound monster of a man with a single takedown (the only scoring in the 5-minute match).
The match played out just like I expected. The wrestler did everything he could to keep the match standing and to stay out trouble on the ground. The submission stylist was relentless in trying to make the match a jiu jitsu fight. In the end the wrestler narrowly edged out an overtime victory by scoring a single takedown.
Coaching is everything. Without realizing it, we become our coaches jiu jitsu offspring, inheriting family characteristics from our coaching heritage. Although we aren't clones and can adapt our own styles, we really do get much of our game (style, approach, process, etc.) from our coaches. It's like the old joke that people resemble their dogs (and/or vice versa)!
I love my coach. I aspire to have his skills, his composure, his effortless power, his movement. And, I hope you love your coach the same. It's essential . Besides, you fight just like him (only probably not as well).
* Chris is one of Street Sports best. He's a Pan American champion and very celebrated competitor with dozens of victories under his belt. He was the first to branch off with his own academy nearly 6 years ago!