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Why the Pineapple?

(Published February 15, 2022)

If you’re wondering why there’s a pineapple in my logo, you’re not alone. I’ve gone through three incarnations of my logo so far, and the pineapple has been an integral part of every one.

A lot of folks out there feel the need to put some kind of menacing animal in their logo. Others like to put swords or something reminiscent of samurai in there.

That’s always felt a little bit silly to me. I mean come on, son! Martial arts already has a nerdy reputation to begin with. If we run around pretending we’re samurai, or showing off our spirit animals, I feel like we’re just making it worse.

I suppose the pineapple is my way of poking a little fun at that whole phenomenon.

I also try not to take myself too seriously. And having that pineapple there helps me keep an even keel.

But why a pineapple? Why not a smiley face? Or hello kitty?

First of all, I like where your head's at, but those two are already taken.

More importantly, there is (ostensibly) a tradition involving the pineapple in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In the US, school children used to bring an apple for the teacher. Supposedly they have more pineapples than apples in Brazil. So it is traditional for a new student to bring a pineapple for their instructor on their first day of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.

I don’t know how true this is. Truth be told, I’m sorry to say that I did not bring a pineapple for my instructor on my first day of training. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen anyone bring a pineapple to a Jujitsu class, ever (see update below). But it’s out there on the interwebs, so it must be true! Go ahead. Look it up.

On a more personal note, our favorite TV show in the Big Mike household is Psych. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend you take a gander. It’s silly, zany, and it makes me laugh out loud. They also make a lot of 80’s references which I thoroughly enjoy (being an 80’s kid myself).

Thing is, there is a pineapple in every single episode. Sometimes cleverly hidden, but most certainly there. We watch it together as a family, and we always get excited when we find the hidden pineapple!

So between that, and the Brazilian tradition of bringing a pineapple for the teacher, it just makes sense. And the pineapple is a delicious fruit! Who doesn’t like pineapples?

Last but not least, I figure COVID will eventually end. The seas will part. The skies will clear. And the restrictions will eventually lift. And when they do, we will all start competing at tournaments again. And I love the idea that in a sea of logos with lions and tigers and bears and sharks and samurai, and all manner of uber-manly overcompensation.,, that one of those guys is going to lean over to his buddy and whisper, “Man... you just got trounced by a dude wearing a pineapple!“

That is my dream. And it makes me smile.

- Big Mike

P.S. Shawn and Gus, if you’re reading this you are welcome to come train with us any time, free of charge. And yes… I realize that Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster are in fact fictitious characters, played by actors, and that Shawn and Gus are not your real names. But if you could just let us call you Shawn and Gus, we’d really appreciate it!

P.P.S. Update: I'm pleased to report I've received my first and second pineapple from a student. We had our first kids class last night. Two of them must've read this post and decided to bring pineapples, thereby proving the tradition is real. They each brought one for me and one for my assistant coach!

You don't have to train at Big Mike's BJJ. But wherever you choose to start your Jiu-Jitsu journey, bring a pineapple for your instructor to your first lesson. I can tell you from personal experience that it'll make their day!


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