For the Jiu Jitsu Newbie Training with a Higher Belt

Good morning everyone!

A reader recently left a comment asking about my thoughts regarding someone at her level, a jiu jitsu newbie, training or drilling with higher belts, and the feeling that she was taking time away from their drilling and training.

First and foremost I would say don’t worry so much about that sort of thing: sure, there are times when a higher belt wants to work on something more advanced, or has a tournament coming up and will want to drill or train with someone at a rank closer to their own but for the most part higher belts, at least at our academy, are always willing to work with lower belts. It can be made into a beneficial situation for both partners particularly in a training situation. The higher belt can try something new that may up until that point has given them problems, a weak area in their game or something they have a low success rate with, while the lower belt has the opportunity to defend and even advance from those situations.

This may not be the case at every academy, but we higher belts (wow, that’s weird to say) do care about the white belts- we care in the sense that we want you to succeed, to stick around, to learn and grow and find your love for jiu jitsu- to become a part of the big crazy second family that will have that special place in your heart.

Also, personally I think it’s a little hypocritical for a higher belt to refuse drilling or training with a white belt, or not answering their questions. I will offer this addendum to that: if you are in a structured class and you are a white belt who may be drilling with a higher belt, ask your instructor questions if there is something you don’t understand, not your partner. We were all white belts once, stumbling through the basics, and it was through drilling, training, the guidance of our coaches and other higher ranks that we got through that beginning stage. For a higher rank it’s really sort of paying it forward, when you think about it: someone once took the time to help you drill and armbar, that choke or sweep you grew to love, and now you are just returning the favor and helping someone else discover a technique and overall their love for jiu jitsu.

Most higher ranks understand all of this when they drill or train with white belts, so for all the newbies out there- don’t fret, concentrate on the basics and enjoy yourselves. 🙂


Filed under bjj

3 responses to “For the Jiu Jitsu Newbie Training with a Higher Belt

  1. AnthonyR

    As someone who was a white belt for the better part of 6 years, I appreciate what you have to say on this matter. 🙂

  2. 🙂 As a white belt, yeah, this makes sense. Sometimes I feel like they’re just being nice by rolling with me (well, they are! and that’s okay!), but then I realize the truth: they can do things to me, an idiot white-belt, that they can’t do to anyone else. Sometimes they tell me: yeah, I’ve really been wanting to try that out on someone! or, hey cool, look what I can do to you! My favorite is, I didn’t know that could work! I feel like a nice little gi[ft]-wrapped doll… it lets the upper ranks try out ‘fun’ and complicated things they couldn’t get on each other – and I get to see/feel what they’re doing. And more often than not, go, wow, that’s awesome, how did you do that!?

    Things like that keep me from feeling too bad about it. We’re both getting something! 😀

  3. Higher belts working with a lower belt can be a great training and learning experience for both parties. As a lower belt do not try and do to much. Stick with the basics and practice those to perfection while learning from a higher belt and how they handle each situation.

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