While usually I don’t talk about my teammates on here, one of our white belts mentioned to me that she was having difficulty being aggressive, and is worried about it when it comes to competing. Not a bully or using strength or anything, but really taking the initiative when an opportunity presents itself. And it’s adorable. Not in a condescending “oh that’s adorable, hunny.” I mean really, genuinely heart warming. Because she cares so much about the well being of her fellow teammates that she doesn’t want to do anything that would be perceived as bullying.
And of course we don’t encourage bullying in our academy, but we also don’t believe in just rolling over and letting the other person have their way; jiu jitsu really is about a back and forth, about both competitors testing their skills and wits against one another. I know I’m preaching to the choir in some regards but a chess game isn’t really fun if one of the players just lets someone else with relatively equal skill win all the time. When it’s someone much more skilled against a less skilled player, of course there are different tactics to be used: going a little slower so the less adept opponent can catch on, taking more risks than usual to leave more vulnerabilities that your opponent can possibly take advantage of, all that kind of stuff.
But anyway, back to the white belt: my response to her was not to think of it so much as being aggressive, but more of a mutual agreement you make with your opponent. Both parties basically agree that both of you will do your best to technically submit one another, and they agree to do the same. You are not promising to ‘bring the pain’ or anything like that, but you are agreeing to bring the best of whatever skills you have to the table, and again they agree to do the same, especially in competition.
And again, we can get into what sorts of ways to train on the mat, but we were talking about competition, so this is what I told her. I do honestly hope she takes my words to heart, and agrees to give the girls in her division the best she’s got.