Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What have you learned from a lower belt?

So I was rolling with this new blue yesterday. I had him in scarf hold and managed to pull off this armbar. I saw it sitting there and went for it. He locked his hands up to defend and I started pushing (carefully) to break his grip. I did it, he tapped and I got a "good job, you got that, just push higher up on the arm next time."

We'd never learned it in class, I just know that for about a week, one of the bigger kids was catching me in it left and right (and now I see why. People just seem to walk into it.)

So...what has a lower belt taught you?

I had a quick conversation with our lady black belt about all the bumps and pitfalls your run into training BJJ and this video speaks pretty directly to that. If you've got a couple minutes, check out this video. I teared up a little.


Liam H Wandi said...

Beautiful video, rubbish sound track :)

Fantastic, actually. As for your post, I still refuse to look at belts from lower / higher perspective. andy, one of our smaller white belts, pulled of a beautiful side control escape on me once where he used the edge of his feet to go from side control to spider guard! Really impressed me :)

Rollo said...

Currently I am a purple belt in my school, and I train with lower belts quite a bit. We have quite a few blue belts, and a lot of white belts. Fresh bodies are coming in and signing up daily. Like the Part Time Grappler mentioned above, I refuse to look at belts from lower to higher. What I have learned the most from training with lower belts is control and breathing. When I train with them, I always listen to how they are breathing and use it as a guide to slow my breathing done. I learn to use control and pressure a lot when I train with the lower belts because they are generally a lot more fidgety then purple, brown, or black belts. Actually I learn quite a bit from training with them, and consider them a tremendous asset to my development. Great post.

Megan said...

So true@Rollo. I'm still very new myself, but when I pay attention to complete newbies, I even see some bad habits that I still hold on to.

@PTG...you (and Rollo) I believe have inspired my next post. I don't see anything wrong with the term lower belts honestly, as long as respect is given across the board. I guess the question is if the term "lower belts" encourages a lack of respect.

Liam H Wandi said...

Yeay for being a muse! :)

I don't avoid the "lower v higher" terminology from the respect point of view. Rather, I look at "earlier vs later". I like keeping it all horizontal :) I may be wrong but I like seeing the mat as a place where we work on our perception and sensitivity to what happens when two wills collide. The more I move away from technique-more into perception-mode the more I enjoy jiu jitsu and I feel giving the belts a hierarchy locks me into my old "lets-go-out-there-and-achieve!"-mode.

Many I yap yap yap! :)

Anonymous said...

The more I'm doing it the more I feel like a belt is just a piece of cloth that holds your gi shut. I respect someone's skill and I respect someone's experience, but I don't respect the piece of cloth that holds their gi shut.

I know some people who don't respect degrees and think of them as pieces of paper that prove you attended some place but don't prove you learned anything vs people who respect degrees above anything else, including life learning.

Anyway--just an offshoot of a conversation I had and a potential blog post I have coming up. :) For the longest time I have been the brand newbie. What I've learned from the new people coming: I've come so far. I'm better than I think I am. That there is SO MUCH to learn in the first year of BJJ. That any day, someone brand new can potentially make me submit, even if I HAVE been going every week for nearly a year. That speed and a scramble are important.

Megan said...

...I really like earlier vs. later Liam. I think it's a good reflection of the journey aspect of BJJ.

...Julia! I love that "you're better than you think" concept. I always forget. Last night, I was surprised that an instructor was surprised I was messing up a technique. My first thought was "doesn't he know I suck??"

But yes...more speed, more scramble, more commitment.

Rollo said...

@Megan "doesn't he know I suck??" has me laughing pretty hard. As far as more speed, more scramble, more commitment goes I agree with some of it. Yes speed is important, however I'm approaching 38, and have suffered through some (minor) injuries doing bjj, the last one had me out for 12 weeks and I had to completely change my entire game. I prefer less speed myself, and more of a high pressure game. This works to control the scramble, which you should never seek more of. I have been teaching kids now for two years at my gym and I am on them in every class about scrambling. We actually drill scrambling a lot during class so they can get used to it. I describe it as what happens in between moves. Speed adds a lot more to the scramble in my opinion. Timing is the important thing, and that comes from tons of mat time. So if you could practice tight control and lots of pressure you will eliminate a lot of the scramble. I always tell the kids that jiu jitsu is easiest when you are the only one moving.