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5. From Gary Coleman to Garry Kasparov October 9, 2007

Posted by Adam Adshead in BJJ, Chess, Conceptual BJJ, Kasparov, Martial Arts.
Tags: , , , ,

Garry Kasparov

Although Gary Coleman might be inspirational for some, if we’re talking BJJ – a great inspiration for me is Garry Kasparov.

Kasparov epitomises everything that a good grappler should be. His intellectual prowess, the way he played chess and his prolonged dominance over his peers – was and still is truly inspirational.

It’s not just him as a person but the game of chess on a whole which draws so much inspiration. BJJ concepts like Patience points, Tidal movement, 90% positions, Red herrings and calculated sacrifice (See the concepts page.) are all straight out of the chess arena and translate neatly into a conceptual BJJ game.

So it only seems fitting that we as BJJ aficionados take influence and reference from arguably the greatest player of all time, playing the most intellectual game ever invented.

Another reason why I muse over Kasparov is his sheer tenacity and gaul to put his money where his mouth is. We all know guys who ‘talk the talk’ but really don’t ‘walk the walk’. They wear the fight hoodies and run their mouth but when it comes down to it, we all know they’ve not got it.

Well Kasparov did the opposite when on a series of occasions he put his reputation on the line and faced off against various chess playing super computers, most famously Deep Blue of IBM fame.

Now the results over the various matches were favourable to Kasparov, an astonishing result against computers who could calculate 3 million moves a second, but the fact he challenged himself by taking risks was very gusty and something I whole heartedly admire.

I think we can all learn lessons from other areas of existence but whilst we’re athletes it seems easier to use fellow athletes as inspiration – particularly those who transcend their given sport have to be marvelled with awe. They have that ability to be the cut above the rest and it’s usually there approach to training and omniscient acumen which lures me in.

Guys like Roger Federer, Muhammad Ali and Lance Armstrong have become legends at their own sport and obviously command this kind of unwavering respect, but could you envisage them doing what Garry did with Deep Blue?

It’s near impossible to replicate or know but I’m uncertain whether they would have stepped up during their respective peaks. Although it would be interesting to see Roger take on a bionic tennis machine, Ali versus a Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em or Armstrong take on a motorbike.

Before we go off the point too much (You will get used to me doing this) what I’m basically getting at is two key things: Educate yourself with influence, ideas and inspiration from all areas of life and more importantly play BJJ like you would Chess and Chess like you should BJJ.

Remember more like Kasparov, less like Coleman.

Adam Adshead





1. Dean - January 14, 2008

I really like your thoughts on this post and on the other posts that you have made. I really try to approach my jiu jitsu with this same mentality that you describe in your posts. It is elusive as my ego often gets in the way. Thanks for the words.

Keep up the good work.

2. Adam Adshead - January 14, 2008

Thanks for the comment and kind words Dean.

I’m glad you enjoy the blog and encourage you to keep coming back.

Adam Adshead

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