On What it Means to be a Third Generation Jiu-Jitsu Master
Last week, you read about Master Marcus’ jiu-jitsu lineage. This week, we take a closer look at what it means to be a third generation jiu-jitsu master.
Although Master Marcus was awarded his belt by Francisco Sá’s son, “Sazinho”, both “Sazinho” and Master Marcus are part of the same jiu-jitsu generation.
Master Marcus began learning jiu-jitsu at the age of eight at the insistence of his father, who saw the many physical and moral benefits that jiu-jitsu had to offer. Master Marcus’ father and Francisco Sá were good friends from back in their aviation days, and he trusted his friend to teach his son as well as Takeo Yano had instructed him.
Back in those days, it was common for jiu-jitsu practitioners to have their belt promotions stagnated for years at a time. It was believed that the longer a person trained under the same belt, the better they would be once they were promoted. For this reason, Master Marcus spent four years as a blue belt, and another four as a purple belt. These years were misleading later on, when people assumed that Master Marcus had been trained solely by “Sazinho”.
“Sazinho” received his black belt in 1985, while Master Marcus received his in 1995. A mere ten years apart in age, Master Marcus grew up watching “Sazinho” ascend the ranks at the Sá Academy in Fortaleza, and it is for this reason that he is considered third generation, and not fourth.
What’s interesting about being a third generation jiu-jitsu master, is that due to this, Master Marcus is an old school instructor whose martial arts style comes from a much shorter and undiluted lineage than other jiu-jitsu masters. This closeness to his martial arts roots is essential when it comes to preserving the philosophy of the gentle art.
In today’s day and age of globalization and commodification, jiu-jitsu has become a trendy sport for losing weight and a source of bragging rights for people who like to be associated with a sport that’s been touted as the perfect martial arts.
Due to this, more and more attention has been placed on competition and aggression rather than respect, control, patience, and technique. Although jiu-jitsu has an incredible way of sparking camaraderie among people, this isn’t enough to preserve the ideological lifestyle that was begun by buddhists, resuscitated by Jigoro Kano and the Butokukai, and then disseminated throughout the entire world.
I’ve heard of stories where people have accidentally sent their girlfriends to the emergency room in an effort to “show-off”, and of sparring matches that escalated into all-out brawls because someone went a step too far and didn’t respect their partner.
But having a third generation jiu-jitsu master can help put things into perspective. A positive gym culture ranks highest on Master Marcus’ list, and he guards his sparring classes vigilantly. This is the main reason why white belts are excluded from sparring sessions until Master Marcus has approved them to join. Many times, in their rush to “win”, white belts care little for their partners or for themselves, and can injure themselves and others with their blind attempts at brute force.
All in all, jiu-jitsu has remained a powerful shaping force in the minds of many, and it’s the mission of many third generation jiu-jitsu masters like Mater Marcus to pass on the torch of jiu-jitsu’s teachings without straying from its original intention.