EXIT The Dragon: End of 3% and 97% Culture
Ok, lets break some of this down by calling out the obvious that everyone wants to keep skirting around so that they don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
There’s a wing of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community (led by Lloyd Irvin of “Team Lloyd Irvin”) that operate completely under the concept that they call “the 3%” or “3%ers” or “Threepers”…you get the idea. The concept, according to Lloyd himself, is that “you’re either winning or losing….In life, deciding on what you would consider success and putting yourself in a position to become successful. 97% of the population is losers and only 3% of the population is winners and you have to decide what percentage group you want to be in.” [Cite] Lloyd Irvin, himself, promotes this mentality in all aspects of life – and specifically: BJJ & Business. If you look at the success that he’s had in business (Internet Marketing, Business Coaching and School Building/Improving/Expanding) and in the BJJ Competition scenes (JT Torres, DJ Jackson & Keenan Cornelius – to name a few) – there can be no denying that Lloyd Irvin has a philosophy that has gotten him many impressive measurable results! To deny that would be what Lloyd & his ‘Threepers’ like to refer to as (often overused): Hating…. Whining…or “bitchassness”. And you know what – this time, they’d be right.
More on that in a moment….Lets flip the coin and look at the anti-movement that’s been going on:
There’s a growing community in the BJJ world that refer to themselves as “97%ers”. It’s basically an anti-movement to “3%” concept. Discussions about the morality and ‘essence’ of Martial Arts were made. Counter arguments about how focusing only on winning & losing (ala: ‘Threepin’ mentality) neglects the social & personal immeasurable developments that The Gentle Art was originally and ancestrally all about. There’s even a “Member Of The 97%” patch that’s out there for sale, with the description of “Someone once said that 97% of the people around you are losers, whiners and complainers. If you look around at your teammates, do you believe this? Is 97% of the BJJ community losers? NO. We are humans who should respect each other and recognize that we have different goals, but should always be there for each other and our community. Young, old, tired or strong, we do what we do for our own reasons and no one’s reasons are there to be judged by others. We don’t leave people behind and believe in strong values. We are the 97%.” [Cite].
2 totally different Stand Points on where this Gentle Art should be heading and how it should be taught/practiced/explored. Both also painting the perfect ‘Straw Man’ portrait of the opposition to be these extremes. Your “3%ers” are all over the message boards and social networks proclaiming all the ‘97%ers’ to be haters and doing Martial Arts to learn morals and how to be a good person, meanwhile they’re perfecting their craft. The “97%ers” are equally all over the forums and social networks claiming that the origins of Martial Arts is about personal grown that if ‘3%ers’ focus on winning/losing, you open your academy up to ego, heartless/careless people and (yes people even take it here) a ‘rape culture’.
Let me help you weed through all of this real quick: both are full of shit.
- There is no such thing as ‘rape culture’ with regard to “how you train BJJ”
- Focusing on winning/losing is something that teams/individuals of ALL competition sports have been doing for centuries!
- Martial Arts is just as important for your physical progress (measurable results) as it is for your internal growth (immeasurable results).
- Let me say that again: without INTERNAL GROWTH, you are just a tuff guy who is morally bankrupt. And we have plenty of those in this world (not saying that is an accurate portrayal of any specific team).
Here’s the real truth….take your 3% patch….or your 97% patch…rip it off, and throw that shit out. Find someone (or BE THAT SOMEONE) that is selling a “100% BJJ” patch. Because THAT is where the truth lies.If you compete…great! Be a “Medal Chaser”….but also chase internal growth (which can take many shapes/forms: spiritual, maturation, educational, sportsmanship, etc). “CHASE” to WIN TODAY…..but don’t let “winning” be so refined that it is only defined by a medal or competitive accomplishment.
WIN by learning something new today.
WIN by teaching someone today.
WIN by helping someone today.
WIN by correcting a flaw of yours today.
Many of us, as BJJ practitioners, (will or) have trained BJJ with the ultimate goal of attaining our Black Belt. But don’t think of “Black Belt” just in the Kobra Kai mentality of a Black Belt – destroying all in your path, “you’re either first or you’re last”, “put him in a body-bag, Johnny!” – But think of “Black Belt” through all factors of your life: how you train, how you compete (if you do), how you treat your teammates or another teams members, how you treat your friends and family and (honestly, one of my personal focuses) how your treat someone that can do absolutely nothing for you in return.