BJJ, Hackers, & Information Security: Attack from Defense

BJJ, Hackers, & Information Security: Attack from Defense

“Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu actually makes them better computer security people.” -Jeremiah Grossman.

I’ve said some pretty crazy things in my life and… yeah, yup they’re all crazier than that. Guess what? Turns out saying BJJ makes you better at computer security ISN’T a crazy thing to say at all. And if you don’t believe me, I have one video and 20 links to 20 articles down below that may persuade you.

Yeah, also turns out computer security experts can be rather prolific writers.

The below video was published by Jeremiah Grossman. Grossman, as his website states, is the “Founder of WhiteHat Security, a Professional Hacker, Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, an Off-Road Race Car Driver, and Maui resident.” Sounds pretty sick, right? Dude’s got a really chill life and I’m very happy for him. But moving on…

As his video explains, he began training during and after conferences he attended. This habit grew, and he eventually amassed a crew. Because BJJ is cool. And people recognize that.

What started as a simple way of decompressing during security conventions and conferences has turned into a regular event that sees computer security professionals enjoying, practicing, and celebrating the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And it truly is more than an avenue of stress relief.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Smackdown is an invite-only event where computer security professionals from all over the world get together and train Jiu-Jitsu from the pros! Thank you to SentinelOne for sponsoring this years event! Check out those awesome custom rash guards!

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is procedural and it is technical. A fight is chaotic. And the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the ability to take the “science” and technique of BJJ and find ways to creatively apply it in a chaotic situation — where solutions are not so clear. When we step back and appreciate BJJ from that perspective, it becomes apparent why computer security professionals who defend against hackers deeply value BJJ.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is problem-solving, much like writing some clean code and defending against a hacker. But don’t take my word for it. Check out this tweet of glowing adoration for BJJ, sent out by computer security expert Tim MalcomVetter:

Indeed, MalcomVetter would expound on that tweet in great detail. And I mean GREAT detail… If you think I talk a lot, well, check out Tim MalcomVetter’s 20 article long study on the parallels between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and information & computer security.

Each article is a surprisingly quick read, and they all shed light on the deep connection between jiu-jitsu and information security. I encourage you all to check out MalcomVetter’s writing when you can. His writing provides a rare insight into what someone who isn’t your typical martial artist values about the art and sciene of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

You can read Tim MalcomVetter’s entire meditation on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by clicking the links below:

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." -Walt Whitman, Song of Myself. "There may be no greater pleasure on Earth than going to sleep without having to wake up at a specific time." -Andrew Fanelli, 2012 Facebook Status.

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