Is It Bad For Lower Belts To Ask Senior Belts To Roll?

Jun 14, 2022

Wanted to make a post about this for a long time. This is kinda controversial for some people so I want to share my opinion on it, so here we go! 

Is It Bad For Lower Belts To Ask Senior Belts To Roll?

First for safety reasons this never happens in our academy… Sometimes we have new young guys with a lot of testosterone that maybe see a female higher belt and immediately want to test themselves and prove they are stronger or see if they can handle the higher belt etc etc.. Whatever the reason, I will never put any student in a situation where they don't feel safe or are at a high risk of getting injured.

Another reason this doesn’t happen in our academy is because all the classes are well structured and we don’t have people just going around looking for what to do with no direction.

That been said i think that a black belt doesn’t make you better or superior than anyone, been a higher belt doesn't mean you are a mighty master that anyone can dare to speak to you lol

But to answer the question, the short version depends!  

When I was a blue belt [young meathead] training in Brazil I was very excited to see so many black belts on the mats since the only higher belts in my hometown were blue belts including me so of course we asked each other to train and I did the same when I visited academies. I got smashed a lot because of it and got a fair amount of injuries before I understood that I probably should not do that again.

In my head i didn’t had bad intentions on doing so but also i was trying to roll as hard as i can and the problem there is that it was not a relationship, i didn’t built a relationship first and was not patience just like a kid going to Disney for the first time, excited for the rides and so much going, i think that's the best to describe. 

So i understand the feeling and for beginners or anyone i just can say to be patient if you are visiting a new school you don’t know the people yet just do the classes and wait to be invited to roll, I don’t think you go to anyone's house and just go directly to the kitchen and start eating their food right? You wait till they offer anything to drink or eat, it's just good manners.

Back in the day we had many people from other martial arts actually challenging students: 
One time some guy [an adult] got in a fight at a house party with one of the teens of the academy I trained back home. The guy was a karate black belt and our teammate was a green belt they got in a discussion about what style was best etc etc.. and the guy end up hitting the kid [he was our same size but was a young kid] so when the news came to my coach at the time he invited the adult to come to the academy and have a match with an adult, at that time when he came i was the higher belt in the academy and we had a close door fight that didn't go well for this guy… I'm getting out of topic here but the point I want to get is that before, this was more common and maybe that's the reason old school black belts will feel challenged if someone they don’t know just come and say: “what's up dude lets roll”. Is a time and place for everything.

Another thing is that instructors are there everyday all the time and maybe that day they are teaching but not training, maybe they are getting ready for a tournament and they are been careful with the people they train with, in my case i been dealing with a second neck surgery and gets very annoying to have to explain myself or say no to roll or a challenge, but now I been an instructor for many many years and I don’t justify the mistreatment of an student that is excited to ask an instructor or a black belt to roll, if you are a black belt i think you are a responsible adult and should not use that excuse to hurt or prove a point with a student, teach your academy culture and how things work in your mat period, I think 99% of the time lower belts are just excited to roll with higher belts and is nothing wrong about that.

To wrap it up!

- If you are visiting a school regardless of your belt you should be respectful and let the instructor do his thing and partner you up.

- In your home school make sure to build relationships and trust with your training partner and I don't see a reason why not to be able to ask for a higher belt to train with you if the class is that way where instructors are not partnering people up.

- Be considerate with instructors. They have feelings too hahaha. Good instructors will roll with all students so be patient. You don’t know if they are injured, tired, resting that day or maybe have more classes right after, but everyone will get their turn.

I think that's it, have and build relationships. Let me know what you think in the comments! Curious to hear from other BJJ people out there.

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