Even though Jiujitsu is the “gentle art”, we know it sometimes feels like rolling down a mountain tied to bricks. Usually this is with the lesser experienced players, but certainly not always. Your objective to navigate the path of least resistance is met with raw and aggressive disregard for safety from your partner. These ragers put “winning” over learning, and it’s not necessarily their fault….yet. It’s usually all they know, and need to be re-educated. It’s certainly not your fault either, but there IS a way to make it worse.
Thankfully most teachers discourage this behavior, as they should. They understand that learning is stunted in this environment, fun is lost, and safety is in jeopardy. Intentions from the top are usually solid.
Whether you’re the teacher, a teacher’s “enforcer” (implicitly or explicitly), or someone taking it upon themself to teach the aggressor a lesson, there’s 2 common strategies to address it. And both strategies have (or should have) the end goal of teaching this grappler a lesson.
The first is the breakdown “this guys needs to be checked” Their aggression doesn’t work here, and we’ll show why. They wanna get crazy? Wwe’ll show them crazy, we have a damn black belt in crazy. The idea is to smash them down so they will eventually understand that there is always someone bigger and stronger and tougher. They crossface? We’ll crossface harder, and more often. Wanna play rough? We can make this hurt too. The hope is the aggressor is opened up to the idea that they’ll need something more to continue evolving, and begins to embrace the technical side.
The second is the “fall back”. Protecting ourselves (and the aggressor) throughout the roll, and doing it intentionally in the most calmest of mind. Let them fall upon nothing, squeeze water, and bench press the air. The idea is to SHOW them how the gentle way weathers all storms, including their’s. It tests their ability to adapt, and tests OUR ego. Like any other test, it’s futile to expect results if we haven’t done the homework, so we make sure we have the tools to keep our ego in check with this strategy.
The first strategy sucks. Even if the aggressor “learns their lesson” we have also taught all others watching another lesson. Even though it requires a solid skill set to smash them, seeing smash beat smash is a joke. It tells them that pre-workout, bigger bench press or daddy issues can beat flow. It’s simplistic and base. And it’s discouraging for those interested in the “long game” of personal evolution, especially in their beginnings. This endangers the others, and the crime of mismanaged aggression returns to the teacher, most often at their student’s expense.
Side note: Reserve either strategic attempt to calm the beast to those that have some considerable mat time already. Regardless of our chosen strategy, it’ll require a skill set based on solid fundamentals. If we are a newer player, tap hard and fast and often if stuck in a roll with these types, and avoid rolling with them until they are broken in, or they quit. Also make a mental note not to judge them, most will be embarrassed about it later anyway. Additionally, make sure to observe the different strategies of the more experienced players as they navigate the aggressor, there’s a ton to be learned this way.
Feel free to comment on what you are doing to stay positive and focused on your training and/or in your life. And if you’re a Neutral Ground member, join the Facebook group!