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.