Monday, May 30, 2011

A Different Type Of BJJ Player

Student: Here comes Tom. He always skips class and just wants to roll.

Teacher: Yep.

Student: He only wants to roll, never drill or fix his mistakes.

Teacher: Yep.

Student: Even when he rolls he doesn't attack and does the same thing over and over and always wants to stop when he is losing. I don't understand why he's even training.

Teacher: Everyone has a different reason for training. Your goal is obviously to learn so someone like Tom confuses you. Tom's goals are different but aren't that unusual. He doesn't come in here wanting to learn as his primary reason for training. His primary reason for coming in is to have fun. He grappled and it's fun for him. Secondly he just wants to win, he likes that feeling, so he avoids everything else to just focus on the stuff that has a winner and a loser. Which is the sparring. He knows he's strong at cross side so he wants to start on cross side bottom to escape which he is good at. He wants to also then switch to cross side top where he is strongest and can dominate you.

Student: But he always taps when he's losing. He doesn't even wait to get submitted.

Teacher: Well for someone like Tom, because guys have surpassed him, he probably is just happy not to lose. He feels like its a moral victory. If you asked him if he is learning anything, he is going to say of course. But he is creating his own curriculum. He has learned how to make BJJ match his goals and needs. He's learned how to get the most fun out of BJJ and also to save his ego by tapping before he actually is in a position to get submitted. Now not losing is sort of unusual. But how many people come in here and obvious there goal is to either have fun or tap everyone as opposed to learning? It's not that uncommon.

Student: Where will he be in a few years?

Teacher: He will still be Tom. Coming in, doing his thing, probably not any better, but happy and having fun. That's of course if he hasn't already quit BJJ by then.


  1. Sounds like my training! I do a ton of marketing and teaching for my academy, and also work on a start-up non-profit company dedicated solely to bjj. All that and hold down a full-time job takes a lot of my time away. My instructor helped me to re-arrange my training schedule so that I could still train and progress. Fortunately I am a purple belt and have spent many years on the mats repping techniques already. I think this type of training definitely hurts in your development. Especially at the white/blue level. However, people do have lives outside the gym so sometimes there is no other choice. If they choose to operate under this schedule, then they will end up being only as good as they are allowing themselves to be.

  2. I completely agree Rollo. And at purple belt level you already have a defined game, now you are just perfecting in with training.



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