Friday, April 20, 2012

I got a lecture tonight.

From a purple belt. He asked me to roll and afterward, told me I needed to start asking more lower belts. Ironically, one of the other ladies and I had just had a conversation about the lowest threshold of belt colors that is suitable for rolling. Mine was green (my school does green between white and blue). Hers was blue.

The purple explained that it was part of the learning process...part of representing your belt...part of getting better, but I'm still not sure. I explained my reluctance to play around with newbies until I'd seen them move for a while, that I get different treatment as a female (the sweetfancymosesagirlisgonnatapme freak out) and that even at blue, I really don't yet know how to deal with strength. I'm sticking to my policy of steering clear of white belts save those I know and women, but he definitely did get me thinking.

And on a completely unrelated note, I think is the first post I've written after class where I could put together more than very basic sentences. I used to lose a bit of my grasp of English for about an hour after training, leaving my blog posts to sound like a very violent version of Dick and Jane. Yays.


slideyfoot said...

Well, this purple belt agrees with you. If I have the choice, I won't roll with large white belts, as they are an injury risk until they've proven they have control.

slideyfoot said...

Well, this purple belt agrees with you. Lower belts are an injury risk until they prove otherwise, so you should never feel obligated to roll with them.

Not that I never roll with lower belts: I'd be a bit stuck if I did that, as I'm one of only three purples at my academy, plus the brown belt head coach. I just make sure they have control before I look to spar with them regularly.

When rolling with somebody for the first time, I suggest starting defensive and seeing what they do. If they go nuts and try to pull your head off, ball up and stay defensive for the rest of the round (or mount and maintain, depending on their size and strength), then don't roll with them again until they develop some control.

If you have already seen them go nuts on someone else, that saves you the trouble of testing them out first. You already know they're an injury risk, so don't roll with them until they mature.

There's something to be said for rolling with uncontrolled noobies, from a self defence perspective (Allie wrote a good article on it here), but that isn't enough for me to risk being off injured and away from the mats for several months. Also, there tend to be much better training partners available, so no need to waste your time on people who aren't ready yet.

Megan said...

Thanks Slidey,

That's one of my favorite pieces by Allie.

I think it came down to difference in reasons for training. The purple in question is an amateur fighter, so of course injury is going to be more of an acceptable risk for him. I might try picking up a white belt with a little more time on the mats and one I've had a few conversations with...the brand new ones though? Definitely off limits.

A.D. McClish said...

I agree with Slidey (and thanks for the shout out, by the way!). Rolling with new, big white belt men is kind of like playing Russian Roulette. You might get a guy who has sense enough to realize his strength and size could hurt someone, or you could get the Hulk.

I say find some lower belts who you trust. Guys who you are friends with who you know aren't going to try to rip your leg off at the knee. Strong, spazzy guys ARE good for training self-defense, but you have to be careful still!!

Triin said...

I am very careful who I choose to roll with. With the white belts I usually recommend that we both work on a specific thing (for instance I will only hunt for a specific sweep and the white belt will work a guard pass, or I start from the bottom and they can hunt for a specific submission). This usually makes the white belt less likely to roll like a mad man. Also, I have no problem, telling them to slow down and relax. It's also a time for me to try out different things I usually can't pull off against a higher rank.

Megan said...

Yeah@ Allie...very true regarding self defense.

Triin, that's a great idea...I'd never really considered setting those kinds of parameters.


Liam H Wandi said...

Well, you should be very proud of your post-grapple writing :) it's very good and you've inspired an idea for a future post too.

I'm a biggish guy. 5'10, 85kg and quite strong so when I meet a white belt who scares me, we're talking big mofos. The way I deal with them sometimes is that I ask the to start in mount and i, fully guard my neck or ii, fully commit to keeping their hips low and over my hips. If they go for a submission for a choke I work elbow-knee escape. If they go for the arm I just make sure they can't get their leg over my face and I roll with them to top (as they lay back for the armbar they find me in their closed guard).

The beautiful thing is if they get the sub on me, they don't take it as a sign of superiority (they STARTED in mount) and if I escape it's done with timing and smoothness (oh yeah). Further, if we spend the whole round in mount, I get a good round of practising escape / survival and they get a good round of practising maintenance/balance and there are hardly any jerky movements (unlike open guard vs spazzy passing) = everyone wins.

Megan said...

Nice of the blues at the gym gave me that advice for lower belts once, but I never thought of it as a safety measure. I'll give it a shot. Thanks!