The pejorative term ‘Creonte’ is constantly thrown around and discussed in Jiu-Jitsu circles, but is broadly misused and misunderstood. To comprehend the true meaning of the term one must look to it’s origin.

 

“Não sou de ficar mandando letrinhas em redes sociais, mas venho ouvindo muito o termo CREONTE, o tempo vem atribuindo significado diferentes ao que meu Meste e amigos de treino usávamos: CREONTE Vem de um personagem de novela com esse nome e ele simplesmente era uma pessoa que não tinha lado, usava todos para se dar bem, era amigo só para tirar proveito e quando não precisava simplesmente o traia,
Portanto Creonte não é quem esta em uma equipe que não o satisfaz ou não lhe da suporte técnico e opta em procurar outra, isso é livre escolha. CREONTE É AQUELE QUE TE TRAI, QUE ARTICULA PELA SUAS COSTA , QUE TE CHAMA DE AMIGO E TE MANIPULA A FAVOR DELE. E SEMPRE, NÃO IMPORTA O QUE VOCÊ FAÇA, TERÁ UM EM SEU CONVÍVIO.”

“I’m not really one for writing long essays on social media, but I’m hearing the term ‘Creonte’ being used a lot, and much of the time it’s being attributed a different meaning to how my Master (Carlson Gracie) and training partners used it.

Creonte comes from a character in a soap opera with that name and he was simply a person who took no side, used everyone, was a friend as long as he was getting what he wanted and afterwards would just betray you.
So Creonte is not he who is in a team that doesn’t satisfy him or not give him the technical support he needs and so opts to look for another- that’s free choice.

The Creonte is one who betrays you, who goes behind your back, who calls you friend in order to manipulate you in his favor. And always, no matter what you do, you will have one in your midst.”

-Crezio de Souza

Crezio made this statement on his social media some time ago, clarifying the true nature of the Jiu-Jitsu slang ‘Creonte’- a term coined by his master, the late, great Carlson Gracie.

The consensus amongst those who have been around Jiu-Jitsu for a relatively short time, (and haven’t had to shoulder the responsibilities of running a team and owning an academy) is often that the term is a manipulative Brazilian invention. A means of shaming defectors, and those that wish to spread their training around various academies simultaneously, in order to ensure the students hard-earned flows into their bank account, and theirs alone. Normally the discussion includes accusations that that the instructor that forbids their students from training elsewhere is simply insecure, or greedy, and fearful that his students will see something better and pay their money to another academy. Generally those opinions soften, or harden to the contrary, should that person go on to have their own academy.

The question is essentially about loyalty, and what indeed one owes to a teacher or group. The polarising Keenan Cornelius recently invoked free market economics to make his point, and inferring that capitalism was inherently good, told his viewers that Creontage doesn’t exist. Since you’re paying for a service, loyalty does not form part of the equation. While he’s absolutely correct that everyone ought to be free to pursue the service that offers them the best value for their money, it is of course a gross oversimplification of the transactions that happen within an academy to reduce it to a matter of shekels only. Additionally, now that we’ve clarified the term, one individual simply choosing to take their business elsewhere does not fit the definition.

It’s often said that loyalty is a two way street, so when a teacher is no longer willing or able to cater to the needs of the student, moving on ought to be allowed without being tarred with the stigma of Creontage, and rightly so. Unfortunately we’re not talking about a situation of fidelity between two individuals only. Developing friendships and camaraderie between  team members is both inevitable and critical to the function of a team, where a person and their skills are actually the training tools of the other, as much as the barbell is to weightlifter. It’s inevitable that many departures will involve splitting loyalties in multiple directions, and forcing hard choices from third parties. At one time during my fighting career, the gym I was part of was fractured when one of the top fighters left to open his own gym. The schism sent a large part of the student base across town along with him, creating a rift I couldn’t navigate. Instead of choosing sides, I moved to London instead.

I often hear, or read, folks using the all too convenient get-out “I don’t do politics”, when discussing matters governmental or ideological. Of course that’s not truly possible. Whether or not one elects to ‘do politics’, we are all of us affected irrespective of our opinion, or lack thereof. What these abstainers are saying is of course that declaring their opinions openly might have some negative consequence, or have in fact failed to form a standpoint at all because of an inability or unwillingness to comprehend matters.

The same can be said of the politics of the interpersonal. Whether or not we choose to ‘do politics’, the politics, do us. It’s rarely ever possible to truly stay Swiss, as abnegation is in itself a standpoint. To excuse oneself from taking a side is to declare Creontage, to collude, however passively with the coterie of the treacherous. It is the very nature of Creontage.

Carlson Gracie, he who coined the phrase, was himself betrayed most severely, and yet I have heard with my own ears some of the foremost of the camarilla of Creonte’s call him ‘Mestre’ and describe themselves a part of his ‘Familia’. The nature of Creontage is highly complex, and far from a matter of 1’s and 0’s, it’s more often an aggregation of love and hate, or just simple ambivalence and disinterest.

To say that Creontage does not exist is to misunderstand the meaning. Whatever your occupation or pursuit in life you will encounter the perfidious, and worse, you may deliver the Judas kiss whether you intended to or not.