George Soros and the Alchemy of Jiu Jitsu
Soro’s Theory of Reflexivity explains why everybody is getting heel hooked.
From Iceland to New Zealand, the endless complexity of Jiu Jitsu attracts intellectuals. Eddie Cummings and Ryan Hall both left careers in the hard sciences to pursue grappling with dispassionate precision. John Danaher’s philosophical stoicism has produced a stable of dedicated warriors content to train and study the art day and night as long as they can afford food and shelter. The Mendez brothers seem to have access to some philosophical insights as well although I’m not exactly sure what they’re thinking as they break dance over high level black belts in their bright white room. After reading the works of Hungarian billionaire George Soros I think the next philosophical frontier is epistemology. The BJJ community would do well to incorporate Mr. Soro’s Theory of Reflexivity.
Soros used his theory to form his investment strategies. BJJ practitioners should keep the concept in mind when deciding which techniques to train.
Reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect, especially as embedded in human belief structures. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a relationship in which neither can be assigned as causes or effects. (wikipedia)
In finance reflexivity is one of the theoretical causes of “boom and bust cycles.” When an asset is growing rapidly people poor money into it causing the price to increase. If the underlying forces favor the increase in price the value of the asset will explode because the basic increase will be magnified by money from investors who expect the increase to continue. Eventually the situation will form a bubble because increase in price will be primarily driven by perceptions and expectations. When the asset become sufficiently overvalued, the perceptions will suddenly revers and the value of the asset will plummet due to the sudden removal of capital by frightened investors. The dotcom bubble is a good example but so is what happens to crypto every November through January.
BJJ and MMA also display these cycles. A technique or class of techniques is used successfully at a high level of competition. The sudden exposure causes 1000’s of martial artists to suddenly invest time in perfecting the technique. Publicity around the technique leads to confirmation bias because each successful use of the technique will receive extra attention. Eventually, fighters will invest so heavily in training the move that the success of the move will inflate due to the amount of time allocated to training it. Finally, the prevalence of the move will force everyone to become highly aware of the counter techniques, and hyper alert to the setups. High profile losses by specialists in the move will lead to claims that the move is “stupid” and “doesn’t work”. This is what happened to “closed guard” in the 90’s and it’s about to happen again with Leg-locks.
I’m calling the peak of the leg-lock bubble George Soros style. I predict that most divisions in 2019’s ADCC will be won by fighters who shut down leg locks rather that leg-lock specialist. The resulting backlash will result in a decline in the popularity of leg locks and a brief return to the fundamentals of traditional BJJ and wrestling before a new technique fad takes hold. Heel hooks will always be an important part of the NoGi submission game but the martial arts world has already hit peak leg-lock.