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Why We Should All Roll With White Belts


Often times in Jiu Jitsu, we find ourselves trying to pick the training partners who will give us the best challenging roll. However,  for upper belts, this sometimes means little to no rolling with the white belts. While it is true, a white belt normally won’t be able to play a smooth technical game with you and probably won’t be able to talk about positioning and exchange ideas as well as upper belts; there are in fact benefits to rolling with white belts. I am not saying only roll with white belts, but that you should just roll with them a little more because it benefits both parties in many ways.

First, this situation is very beneficial to the white belt. You are going to show them the true meaning and power of the art. You will show him/her how technique will beat their strength and mindless aggression. They will be put in new positions and probably ask about it later. You will show them what the etiquette is for rolling in your academy. Almost everything a newbie learns is from the upper belts.

This situation can also benefit the upper belt in so many ways. The higher belt gets to work on his/her teaching skills when asked for help during/after a roll. Just remember we all asked stupid and strange questions when we began…it’s normal, and it is our job to help the next generation as the generation before did for us. We can also work our patience while rolling with white belts. Everyone has certain things that bug them in a training partner, and white belts are generally the ones who exhibit the behavior. This can range from spazzing to uncontrolled explosiveness to improper technique and “illegal”/ frowned on moves. All these things push us to be a better and more patient individual. The white belt can also better prepare us for how someone may react on the street should the fight go to the ground. Most people will be untrained should a street altercation arise and will in many ways be just like a white belt.

As you can see, both parties benefit from training together. So to all my upper belt friends out there, go help a white belt out and roll. They will do the same in return!

-Kris Reid

About the author: Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt under Anibal Lobo and Pedro Sauer.

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