Cobrinha exclusive: “Jiu-Jitsu needs more penalties for stalling”

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Cobrinha on the attack / Photo: John Lamonica, 2010

Our GMA Rubens Charles Maciel, aka Cobrinha, returned to work at his new academy in California after scoring a bronze medal at the 2011 Worlds – his first as a black belt in the featherweight division, where he has amassed four golds and one silver.

However pleased about Alliance’s conquest of a sixth world title as a team by a large margin (127 points), the superstar also had criticism to voice and analysis to share about his matches and, of course, his 4-2 loss to Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes in the semifinal (takedown and sweep versus sweep). Rafael Mendes would triumph to become (two-time) champion.

PREPARATION:

“I felt great in my matches; I was prepared to fight anyone. And that’s what I imagine every fighter should prepare for, of course. At the same time, it brings me to ask the same question I repeat to myself at every championship, and perhaps you can answer it for me. If everyone’s training to exhaustion to face any opponent, why’s there so much stalling going on? Having motionless matches goes against the very objective and philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu itself, which is to always pursue the finish. If you take a close look, free-flowing matches were in the minority.”

THE LOSS:

“One example of a motionless match was mine with Tanquinho in the semifinals. Of course he’s an athlete who competes by using the rules in his favor. Please, I’m not trying to take any credit from him, much less complain about something that can’t be undone. But that match was a good example of it, of how the rules work against the spectacle. Furthermore, we can’t forget about the ‘influence’ on the refereeing. I feel, like a lot of good folks do, that if you don’t want to get hindered by the refereeing, you have to go for the finish. But what about when it’s impossible to achieve because your opponent falls back on evasive maneuvers? And what about when you get to a good position and he runs away to have the match restarted on the feet? Such attitudes should be penalized more severely, in my opinion.”

PENALTIES:

“I feel minor modifications can change Jiu-Jitsu in a big way, make it more attractive. I look at other fight sports, like judo and taekwondo and even MMA – the rules are frequently revised so as to improve the spectacle, which is the matches, making it more appealing to the public to watch. That hasn’t happened in Jiu-Jitsu yet. There still isn’t much by way of penalization for stalling and certain positions, like the 50/50, which aren’t shunned because some people consider them to be innovative. Nobody does anything, the matches are motionless, they’re just waiting for time to run out. I don’t believe that’s what we want for our sport, is it? How can we promote Jiu-Jitsu and get it to grow even further with situations like that? The organizers promote the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship and we, the athletes, should promote the spectacle. But that’s not what’s happening these days, unfortunately. That’s why I feel the rules should be revised to help change the athletes’ mentality, so they’ll look to have free-flowing, open matches, improving the spectacle and drawing spectators and subsequently sponsors, making Jiu-Jitsu grow. At least that’s what I hope for as a fighter, teacher, and as someone running a business in the field (of Jiu-Jitsu).”

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