What is Smoothflo? Origins of the Name, Brand and Culture...
Updated: May 7
“Always assume that your opponent is going to be bigger, stronger and faster than you; so that you learn to rely on technique, timing, and leverage rather than brute strength.” - Helio Gracie
Helio Gracie was, as many will know, the Godfather of modern-day Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
In this quotation he is outlining the utopian goal of the art which is, in our best words:
The ability to overcome an opponent in a physical confrontation with no unnecessary expenditure of energy.
It was through contemplating this ideal state of Jiu Jitsu that we came across the inspiration for the name Smoothflo Fightwear.
In this post, we’d like to share with you a few of the deeper ideas and concepts behind our brand name. So you can understand a little more about why we picked ‘Smoothflo’ and what it means to us…
Smoothflo and ‘The Gentle Art’
When translated from the original Japanese terminology, Jiu Jitsu means: ‘the Gentle Art’.
Now, it is not called the ‘Gentle Art’ because it is gentle to the opponent - although this is often misinterpreted.
It is called the ‘gentle art’ because, when mastered, it takes only a gentle application to achieve an often destructive result.
The goal of any Jiu-Jitsu technique is to leverage one’s body against the opponents in such a way as to favour you and hinder them.
Leverage, by definition, is the exertion of force through the use of a lever.
When you know how to use a lever, your job becomes easier and you can exert less energy to achieve the same result.
The same goes for Jiu-Jitsu and for fighting in general.
Once you get better at jiu-jitsu and harnessing the leverage within the techniques, then your combat becomes smooth and almost effortless when matched against someone with lesser ability.
In our brand name ‘Smoothflo’, we used the term ‘smooth’ in homage/respect to this reality.
Smooth as an adverb can be defined as “a way without difficulties” and in Jiu-Jitsu we can say that you are often looking for the ‘path of least resistance’...
That is to say that if two routes both lead to the same place, it makes sense to take the ‘path of least resistance’ and reserve the energy that would have otherwise been spent on the path of greater resistance.
Preserving energy is essential in a combat situation, especially in a fight for your life with no time limit.
Therefore, you should train with smoothness in mind.
Special Forces operators have a slogan for urban combat: “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”. Be smooth.
Smoothflo and the ‘Flow State’
Next, the term flow in ‘Smoothflo’ refers to two things:
Firstly, it refers to the mental state of operation in which a person achieves full immersion in whatever they are doing.
We refer to this mental state in neuroscience and psychology as the ‘Flow State’.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian-American psychologist responsible for the development of academic study into the field of ‘flow psychology’.
Mihaly described flow as:
“being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
This is the mental state which the ‘flo‘ of Smoothflo refers to. It is something that we are immensely interested in and will continue to study and relate to Jiu-Jitsu in future content.
Secondly, the ‘flo‘ in Smoothflo is also referencing the smooth transitions which exist between one movement and another in optimum Jiu-Jitsu practice.
We can define flow as a noun, as the action of moving along in a steady, continuous stream.
Ideally in Jiu Jitsu you should move from one technique to another through a steady and continuous stream until the desired result is achieved...
And in doing so, you will preserve the energy which would otherwise be spent on the clumsy and ineffective movements that come with being ‘non-smooth’.
As we’ve already emphasized; energy preservation is an essential aspect of effective combat.
Therefore, we put just as much importance on flow being an effective pattern of movements as we do to flow being a peak mental state. And both ideas have played a large role in the construction of the brand name Smoothflo.
'Smoothflo’ was picked to pay respect to the optimum state in which jiu-jitsu can and perhaps should be executed, in order to achieve the greatest possible result...
The smooth execution of the movements. The sublime flow of one technique into another. And the psychological state of full immersion into the activity. This is Smoothflo.
A big thank you to you, the reader. We appreciate you!
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