Monday, August 31, 2009

Anybelt don'ts [originally titled Bluebelt don'ts.]

Some of these are things I pondered after my lunchtime open mat, some are things I've pondered in the past.

Don't forget gratitude when a whitebelt gets you. It's a diagnostic of a hole in your game and one you're likely to pay a lot more attention to, compared to when a higher belt gets you-- losing to an upper belt is more or less inevitable but is a blinking red light when it's to a whitebelt.

Don't forget to thank your opponent for rolling-- every minute on the mat is a minute of learning.

Don't use your greater or lesser weight, strength, flexibility or fatigue level as an excuse for poor technique.

Don't feel like you have to roll with every whitebelt who asks you. Trust your instincts. There's no shame in asking to go lightly.

Don't hesitate to tap. Avoid injury. Injury bad.

Don't get so caught up in competition-mode that you lose sight of impending doom. Example: let go of the armbar the moment you leave the ground.. it's better to abandon the sub with a 1" fall than to risk having it stripped from your grip and falling a foot or more onto your cervical spine.

If you're substantially smaller and/or weaker than your opponent, don't beat yourself up for failing to outpace them or out-technique them unless you have at least a two-year training advantage.

If you're substantially smaller and/or weaker, don't go balls to the wall with your technique and humiliatingly wax your opponent unless it's a tournament. There are always those who will get mad and use their strength against you in a moment of bad judgment. Inevitably they will feel really, really sorry and they might even send you flowers while you recover from surgery.. but you're still the one in surgery.

Don't let fear of injury from spazzism stop you from rolling with whitebelts-- you will never get to practice your offense or new stuff if you only roll with your betters.

Don't let snarky attitude from anyone at your school keep you from doing your best to help others. You may be able to give important feedback or constructive criticism that helps someone else.

Don't be that know-it-all bluebelt who really knows just a smidge more than a whitebelt. Discretion is the better part of valor, etc. etc. It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it.

Any others? Please comment with your dos and don'ts.


leslie said...

I think this is what Tim is driving me toward -- not just finding the list of "do/don'ts" for the spazzy white belt boys (which I'm very good at doing), but also the list of "do/don'ts" for me when rolling with them.

Anonymous said...

I am leaving this anonymous. Partly because I don't want to sound like I am tooting my own horn -- but mostly so I don't get smashed tomorrow.

I am a purple belt. Today I caught a black belt -- for the second time. He is big, and smashes people regardless of their size or belt. Nice guy off the mat, but most people are scared to roll with him.

I expected him to extra-smash me, like he did the first time I caught him, but you know what he did, he bowed slightly and said, "You are a worthy adversary, I hope you are training tomorrow."

I was blown away. I still am blown away. This is a guy that doesn't go light, and people groan when he shows up for class.

I don't really know why I'm relating this anecdote, maybe the first one of your don'ts struck a chord. Or maybe I do want to gloat, and tell someone without fear of retribution. Haha, I don't know. I suppose I should meditate on that. (How would I feel if I was a black belt and a purple belt caught me and then posted it on someone else's blog? )

Oh, and if I can add a couple of don'ts that I notice all the time.

Don't complain about an injury, or a full stomach, or high blood pressure and explode against me 100%. If you are telling me you have a problem, if you need to complain about it, I will go light on you, it's only polite for you to go light in return. Otherwise, just suck it up and roll without whining.

Don't belittle someone or their technique if they catch you.

Don't be afraid to teach people how to kill your game. It will help you to improve it. Guarding the secrets of passing your guard will only make you complacent.

Georgette said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I agree fully.

And don't belittle yourself-- I have heard many black belts say that the real difference between a purple and a black is timing and smoothness. You have the moves, obviously, and sounds like you can catch black belts on occasion. You're doing the right thing!

Congrats ;)

HomeImprovementNinja said...

I will second this one: Don't say you want to roll light because of injury, then go all out on your opponent. We used to have a guy who was famous for that.

Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. If you couldn't tap someone with that choke, it's okay to ask after the roll what you were doing wrong (arm not deep enough, squeeze more, hold it for longer, turn to the side etc.).

Don't use illegal moves. If you're a white or blue belt, some moves like toe holds aren't legal at your level in tournament (and neck cranks are never legal). So don't waste your time and risk injuring your opponent by doing them.

Don't use pain moves. They only work on noobs and if you do them to me, I won't like it and will do will them back...

Georgette said...

Agree with all of that except the neck crank thing... we do a lot of NAGA comps here in Texas. NAGA allows an inordinate number of normally-illegal subs especially in nogi.

But I also like to emphasize that some schools prohibit certain moves from whitebelts like kneebars, twisting footlocks, etc.

IMHO anyone who throws heelhooks (not just catch-and-release but actually puts them on) deserves really bad karma.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Georgette! "Don't belittle yourself" is a good one, but I don't want to cross the line to "Don't puff-up your ego."

@HomeImprovementNinja: "Don't use pain moves" is a great one!
Having someone do the guard opening with the point of the elbow in the thigh is the perfect way for me to clamp my guard solidly shut and try to tap them from guard.
Using that opening is just rude.

Jeff said...

Perhaps it's too specific, and I'm only a white belt so not sure I should be commenting at all, but don't use the can-opener if you can't pass guard.

Georgette said...

Jeff-- couldn't agree more. It's a valid technique but one that is overused... illegal at some competitions as a cervical crank... and silly because it opens you up to being armbarred.

BTW whitebelts are always welcome to have opinions here :)