Monday, August 31, 2009

Whitebelt Don'ts

Some suggestions for whitebelts...

Don't strut around in a brand-new Lucky gi when you haven't been training over 3 months.

Don't announce that you're doing jiu jitsu because you keep getting jumped by at least 3, up to 6 people. It makes you sound like you ask for it on a regular basis even if you don't.

Don't try to submit people from inside their guard. Yes, even if it's a girl who weighs 60 lbs less than you. Even if it's physically possible for you to get her arm into position for an americana. Even if she's nice by not armbarring you first and explaining later-- she's not lying to you when she tells you someone else won't hold back.

Don't nod and say okay when offered advice by a higher belt, then proceed to ignore it and shamelessly do the same thing again. [Note: not talking about repeating mistakes out of inattention or ignorance; that's understandable.] Then, when you're being armbarred as a result, don't pick them up and drop them onto the mat on the back of their neck as you strip your arm free. It might hurt them.

Don't grab onto submissions and yank them. When your opponent is talking you through how to execute the technique correctly, they're trying to help you, so it's a good idea to listen, because it means the "competitive" part of your rolling is temporarily paused so they can actually be on "your side" for a minute. If they say something like "whoa, slow down, be gentle" that means you're going too fast or grabbing and yanking. If you continue to do that, you will end up hurting someone and no one will be happy to roll with you. Or, you might get pwned by some higher belts for a while till you learn manners and control.

Don't play rude jiu jitsu when you're just training; save it for a tournament if you absolutely insist. Example: when you're doing knee on belly, it's okay for training to put your knee across their hips instead of hunting around for the solar plexus, especially if your opponent weighs 60 lbs less than you do. Especially if you also have collar and knee grips and are bowing them up into you. And, if they ask you how much you weigh, it might be a hint to move on from the position, or take a little weight off.

Don't ignore it when training partners tell you up front about injuries they're training with.

Don't reach back with one hand to break open guard. Don't complain about getting triangled when you do.

Don't go a million miles an hour or use every possible opportunity to explode out of positions.

When you have someone on your back with hooks in and one on one grips on both your arms, don't do a fast forward roll when you're closer than 4' to a wall. While bashing your opponent into the wall will probably get them off your back, it might be bad for their face and neck.

Yes, this was my lunch open mat. All in about 10 minutes.


Unknown said...

I agree with your sentiments.


Anonymous said...

Well said!

So, on the flip side, what did you learn about yourself from the "roll with the devil?" I think I'd like to hear that as much as I enjoyed the rules of the road you laid out for white belts.

Again, well said!

Paraguay Mike

Unknown said...

Why does the gi someone trains in matter at all? I understand the 'strutting around' comment but that goes for anyone wearing any gi. The Lucky Gi knocks seem to continue across many blogs and forums, frankly someone new beginning BJJ that invests $275 on a gi seems to be the kind of person we want to keep in BJJ, someone who can afford to buy the gear and pay the fees to train.

Love your BloG - SuMi

Georgette said...

That's a totally reasonable question. I didn't mean to imply the whitebelt involved should be run out of the sport at all! Or that there's anything wrong with wearing a Lucky. I have one, which I lucked into on ebay for $67, and one of the most respected blackbelts I know and train with has a Lucky.

Here's my thought on it... A Lucky gi is a substantial financial commitment and usually signifies someone who has dedicated themselves to this art/sport. There are plenty of quality gis out there for under $100. When there is a juxtaposition of rash, uncontrolled and possibly dangerous flailing with the Lucky gi, it seems contradictory and illogical. Plus, when you're a young person and a beginner in a particular activity, there's a possibility you'll decide that hobby isn't for you. Much like a parent won't buy a piano but will instead rent one till Junior demonstrates a lasting commitment to piano lessons, most people won't dive into a Lucky gi at the start of their jits career. If they do, it might tell you something about them.

Anyone can buy all the latest and greatest equipment and accoutrements of any sport and give the appearance of belonging to that genre (witness all the fools wearing Tapout and Affliction gear in bars across America)... but when they step onto the playing field, the track, the mat etc. then it becomes obvious whether they're just a clotheshorse.

Another word for it is "poser."

Not saying that person was a poser. I do hope he stays in the activity. I suspect his parents were the ones affording the gi, and the lessons, but more power to him. I just thought it was funny to see someone at that stage of development yet willing to put down that kind of change for a gi he could have gotten for half the price.

Thanks :)

John said...

Good list. I need to pass it to the big guy who squashed my son last week.

Georgette said...

John, enjoyed your blog. Looking forward to reading more of it! Nice clear analysis of salient points and big picture perspectives.

Kudoes to you and your son for training together. :)

Meerkatsu said...

TRegarding the expensive gi for newbie thing:

Broadly I agree with Georgette, newbies just wanna get the gear and if they can afford it, fair enough but don't be too surprised if the rest of the classm put in an extra 10percent when rolling with you!
At our club, my coach has a spare gi for complete newcomers - it is a bright RED Koral. Man this gi stands out like a , um, red rag. It's an amazing (if expensive)way to initiate someone into the club!

when I ran a japanese JJ club, a newcomer came and he seemed real enthusiastic. He asked about uniforms and I said we offer plain white gis, but you can buy your own if you can find cheaper - but it has to be WHITE. He rocked up following week with an ALL BLACK gi. He also never turned up again after that. The mind boggles!