Anon White Belt
Can you avoid becoming a Spazzy White belt?
Despite what most of us macho Jiu Jiteiros may have you believe, Jiu Jitsu is in many regards similar to dancing with a partner. There’s the aspect of coordination needed to perform each move/technique and most importantly the necessity of a partner. Sure dancing is a sport that requires compliance between both partners to work, unlike Jiu Jitsu where we’re going to be FIGHTING off our partner’s submission/sweep attempts tooth and nail, we can still develop some pretty bad habits through our noncompliance. Let me explain.
You probably see this a lot in novice practitioners that are on the nervous/fearful side. Oftentimes they will disengage or stall at the slightest sign of aggression. Set up a collar tie? They’ll run away. Walking up to pass guard? They’ll scoot back to the opposite side of the room. Grab a sleeve? They’re taking off their gi and moving to another place on the mat. In their closed guard? They’ll hug you for dear life and try to stall the entire round. In their mind they think they’re being productive by not getting tapped, and sure they might get a shiny win-loss record of 0-0, but they would’ve never learned a single thing about Jiu Jitsu. Do you agree?
Jiu Jitsu, like many things in life, requires a significant time investment to yield any worthwhile result. By stalling and disengaging constantly during training, you’re robbing both yourself and your training partner of an opportunity to learn Jiu Jitsu. By holding someone in Closed Guard for an entire round without even attempting a sweep or submission, you’ve basically just thrown away precious mat time. Sweeps and submissions require a delicate sense of timing that’s fine tuned over many hours on the mat through many failures, so you might as well start now.
The way to view it should be If you open your guard and get passed? Who cares? It just means you need to work on your timing, and you wouldn’t have found out unless you tried in the first place.
Look, the training room is the place to be making these mistakes. Learn what it takes to accomplish a sweep, takedown and submission by trying and failing them. Put yourself in positions where you can lose. It’s better to learn all those in a safe environment because in a competition, you won’t have the same luxuries afforded in the training room. Even if you’re not a competitor, you’re probably wasting your money by not learning the skill you’re paying to learn, but I digress.
As well, the problem is that White belts become super spazzy once they stop stalling and start actually trying techniques (which are extremely sloppy and unrefined). We tend to hurt others more while training because we are untrained. I feel like we can reduce the amount of time we are known as spazzy by trying to engage in a more technical exchange the moment we begin free training. This also doesn't make much sense because we are limited in the amount of technique we have available to use due to how new we are as BJJ practitioners.
Either way we have to stop stalling and try something, try anything! It may be safe to assume that this has always been a problem. Some schools don't allow free training until you become a blue belt. This may in some ways make sense however most professors would say it's best to start rolling right away. The question is what is the best way to avoid white belt related injuries? When you find out let me know!
Yours Truly, Anonymous White Belt