G-Stamp's thoughtful reply (to the size disparity post) deserves its own post. My comments at the end.
"Wow. Thanks Georgette! What great responses from the wonderful BBJ/Blogger community!
Like everything in life/jiu jitsu, suppose it comes down to balance. Part of my journey is to figure out where that line id between "muscling" something and not "going easy" on someone. It's a struggle, honestly. I'm 6'0" and 220lbs. I'm not very strong (sat on my ass for the last 12 years as a policy analyst/consultant), but I'm "bigger" (er...fatter) than 80% of my classmates. Often, I'm much much bigger.
So...how do I ensure the rolls are safe and challenging, without offending someone for "going easy" and not throwing my weight around? Remember...I've only been doing this 2 months. I DON'T KNOW MUCH TECHNIQUE. Wish I did, but when I don't have technique, what are my options? Give up? Or muscle/weight to advance position?
It's something I'm struggling with now because I'm a fairly sensitive guy (pacifist at heart) taking up an aggressive sport. I want others to learn, have fun, and want to roll with me. But I don't want them to think I'm not trying either.
I guess what I take away from your post and the other comments is that there is no easy answer to this question. Finding the right balance is part of my journey. When I roll with most purple belts, all brown and black belts, I know they aren't "going easy" on me. They are testing me. There's a difference. They expose themselves on purpose to see how I'll react. They put me in difficult positions without executing the quick submission. They will set up a submission SLOWLY and allow me ample time to realize what they are doing and try to think of an escape. If I can't think of something, sure, they'll finish it off. But that's much much different than destroying me because they can.
Clearly there is a difference. A purple, brown, or black belt, no matter the size/weight differential, is not muscling or throwing weight around. But is there a difference between an upper belt dominating a novice for the fun of it and a bigger/heavier guy muscling moves? Sure...but perhaps not really.
To me...I need to think it more like an upper belt. I have a weight/size advantage. That's obvious. Just like an upper belt has an experience/technique advantage over a lower belt. I need to check my weight/size advantage to allow the smaller opponent to advance his/her game like an upper belt checks his/her game to allow me to advance my game. It doesn't mean I should give up or forgo submissions. It just means I need to learn to advance position more slowly and deliberately. My submissions need to be in complete control or I should give up and set up for the submission again to improve control. After two months, I just don't know how to get there...YET.
So you more experienced white belts or upper belts, please be patient with folks like me. If you are rolling with someone almost twice your size with little experience and they muscle something or throw their weight around, maybe they don't know any better. It may not be that they are trying to be an ass. Perhaps learning to deal with and encourage clueless big, awkward white belts like me is part of YOUR journey as much as learning the right balance when rolling with smaller individuals is part of OUR journey.
I can't say enough how much this sport is changing my life. Incredible actually... Thanks so much to the BJJ blogging community. You've really helped me progress."
And my reaction:
I LOOOOOOVE JIU JITSU! It brings together such amazing people :)
But yeah, dude, we know that. I hesitate to roll with a brand new guy (male) of any size because they don't usually have control yet, they just simply don't know what they're doing or when they're in a position where moving one inch could really hurt me. It's not because I think they're malicious, they're inadvertently not safe. So I step aside and let the bigger blues and the higher belts take on the task of educating the noobs. (Whereas I find I am often the one rolling with the brand new gals, who can be dangerous, but less so since I am fairly strong for a chick.) But I don't look down on noobs, I don't get mad at them, they're like kids. What can you do but cheer them on (at arm's length) because they're enthusiastic about this wonderful sport, just like everyone else.
I have said before that there's a sweet spot in the life of a whitebelt. It's my sweet spot, really, because for that precious month or three, they're still new enough that they make mistakes I can easily capitalize on (er, help educate them on why not to benchpress me when I'm mounted on them) but they're not so new that they're totally dangerous. It's these precious whitebelts I can practice my iffy submissions on, my sweeps in general, and work on escaping from bad positions with. So I am always trying to keep track of people as they filter in. When whitebelts get so seasoned that they're not making big mistakes any more, I still roll with them, but they're the people I can go hardest with, since my technique is still better than theirs, but they have the strength advantage, making us usually pretty fairly matched. I don't mind when those peeps muscle me, it's part of the game, though I will tell them later so I don't reinforce bad habits. I never get offended or think they're being an ass.
It's the upper level blues and above that irritate me by muscling stuff. Because they should have the technique and the know-how. :)
Keep it comin', G-Stamp and all the rest of you wonderful whitebelts. And thanks for training with us. You make us all get better as you improve.