BJJ: Pissing Off Your Training Partner

Overall, I’m slow to anger in jiu jitsu. I did get angry at one guy who, despite me telling him to SLOW DOWN repeatedly during rolling, kept whipping his feet super quickly by my black eye. That made me angry. So did the guy who I felt like I had to actually FIGHT when we rolled. Two instances in four years is not a bad number!

The things that keep me sane and calm are knowing that GENERALLY my training partner doesn’t WANT to hurt me, people aren’t usually TRYING to be douchebags, and new people don’t USUALLY know they’re going too hard or too rough.

However, there are two methods of bypassing sensibleness in me and bringing forth my inner She Hulk.

I really do love She Hulk

I really do love She Hulk

1. INTENTIONALLY GET ME DIRTY

This is just bad behavior. I’m talking about women wearing makeup, people who KNOW they’re bleeding, and people who know their feet are dirty. When I get done rolling and I find your blood, makeup or feet dirt on my white gi, and I KNOW you knew about it, I get angry. I mean really – COME ONE! If you KNOW you’re bleeding, sit out – don’t KNOWINGLY get blood on me. And makeup? I mean, I understand if you oops forgot about it, but if you intentionally wear makeup to class and get it on my gi, I will be pissed. And the guy who said–right before we rolled–“Oh sorry, my feet are dirty.” REALLY?

That’s just plain rude. And gross. And you effed up my gi. Every time I see that stain, I’m going to silently curse your name. Not really. But sort of.

I promise I’ve never actually punched someone in BJJ. Okay once.
You wouldn't like me when I was angry.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Also, this green makeup WILL get all over your gi, so you are welcome to curse my name if I show up on the mats and roll with you like this.

2. ACCUSING ME OF NOT TRYING

Only once have I been accused of not trying, and I will admit I had a very over-the-top reaction of anger from that. There are some times when I really am trying hard, but it’s not working. When I feel stupid, I laugh. I sometimes (okay most of the time) am very awkward. If you try to pull a de la Riva guard on me, you WILL knock me over – and it’s a huge challenge for me to maintain my balance when we are practicing dlr moves in class.

Just because someone is doing poorly and not following your instructions and is laughing does NOT mean they are not trying. It might mean that they don’t understand. It might mean they cannot get their body to do what they are trying to get it to do.

For example, the other day in class I was paired up with the Big Guy. My instructor told me to get him in side control. I did, and then he kept saying “Get your hips down” – and it wasn’t until after that I realized I didn’t know if he meant toward the floor (he did) or toward the guy’s hip (he didn’t). I really was trying, I just didn’t understand.

Must. Control. Anger.

Must. Control. Anger.

It is nearly impossible to say that someone is not trying. Yes, we can take it to the extreme and if someone has spaghetti arms and is pulling an exasperated-teenager on you, then no, they’re not trying. Aside from that, without input from the person (Keep trying! I can’t!) it really is impossible for you to determine if someone is TRYING or not. You can make observations, but TRYING is mental and unless you have the mind-reading trait, you cannot accurately judge whether or not someone is trying.

So, say what you will about my technique – that’s something you can concretely observe and judge, but do not judge what you cannot see – my emotions, my mental condition, or how hard I am trying, or how much something means to me. That is for me to judge. If you want to know about it, ask. Don’t tell me what I do or don’t feel.

Again, THANKFULLY these incidents are few and far between – in the last four years, I have had one woman get makeup on me, two dudes try to start rolling with me while they knew they were bleeding, one dude with filthy feet, and one person accuse me of not trying. Five in four years – not a bad average. Other than that, jiu jitsu is mostly happy times and secret cries!

Yep, that's me as Shulkie!

Yep, that’s me as Shulkie! 2007.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: What things get you riled up really quickly?

  1. So happy none of the women who I train with regularly wear makeup! That would drive me crazy. Dirty feet don’t bother me so much, but blood? Come on, get a bandaid or some tape or something!

    My two biggest pet peeves are the stinky gi and the person who says “Lets go light, I have a ___ injury”, and then they slam you anyway. Everyone is allowed one “oops I thought this gi was clean” day. After that, ewww. πŸ™‚

  2. Bad drivers, Traffic for no apparent reason, Taxes, Reality TV……
    Oh, you mean in Jiujitsu. Stinky guy has to be #1. If I roll with that person more than once, & they’re new, I’ll politely let them know. If it continues, I’ll refuse to roll with them & tell them it’s because they smell like crap. #2 would be folks that bash an individual, instructor, team, or school without having trained with them, just because everyone else is doing it.

  3. My biggest pet peeve are new people who lecture you on how the technique works while you’re drilling when it’s clear it’s their third or fourth class and they have no idea what’s going on. Oh, and another thing is new guys (and it’s mostly guys) who are in their first class and make remarks like “looks like we need to do a belt-tying class” when other people’s belts are coming off during drilling or rolling.

  4. It drives me nuts when your partner won’t let you complete the technique while drilling.

    • I have had to tell more than a few new white belts that the concept behind drilling is for the person to SUCCESSFULLY practice it.

  5. When I was a purple belt, I was rolling with a white belt. He had a few stripes, and he knew a little something. I was working from the bottom of 1/2 guard.. patiently and reaches down snatches up my collars and tries a very haphazard cross choke. Not happenin’ pal, but go ahead. I decide not to correct him, but let him try. Without adjusting his grip or position, takes a deep breath and tries again.. harder. I roll my eyes, as his grip gasses out, I hear him take a couple panting breaths and Hrrrrrgghhrrhrhght He tries with everything he’s got. I just kind of lay there for a second.Thinking what in the name of Rickson is this fool doing. Does he really think that “pull harder” is an acceptable adjustment to make? Does he honestly believe he can choke me from here? I lost my temper. After he’d completely gassed, I sweep him pass and choke him in short order. Then I look down and mention the concept of “if you can’t get a choke, then adjust or let it go. If you just go reefing on collars you’re only going to piss people off.” That’s the kind of thing that irks me. Just looking for the tap, regardless of what technical proficiency you’re building. It’s just not jiu jitsu.

    • Yeah. Sometimes I will let new folks just grind my face and I’m thinking “really? REALLY?” ^_^

  6. More my general “martial arts” peeve than a strictly BJJ one, but: going too hard on someone who doesn’t knowingly consent to it. I don’t mean someone very new who doesn’t understand their own strength yet and I don’t mean when both partners mutually agree to go at 100%. I mean someone who has experience and/or skill and yet still chooses to smash smaller/weaker/less skilled partners. I have patience for the new people who simply overestimate how much strength their partner can take, but after YEARS of training, you should know what “going light” means! The consent needs to be informed too – if all someone experiences is being hulk-smashed by training partners, they may think this is what “going light” feels like. I feel that learning control is important in martial arts, and it irritates me when people have zero interest in developing it, even when their training partners get hurt. (Can you detect the voice of experience in there???)

  7. My pet peeve is people who train sick. If you are coughing, sneezing, puking or have some type of skin issue please do everyone a favor and stay home to heal-up.

  8. My pet peeve is people who talk during rolls, stop to analyze every time they get tapped, or try to “help” if you’re trying something and it’s not working. There aren’t many people my size at my gym, so I get paired with the same ones every week and there’s one who does that all the time. I swear they’re only doing it to get a break because she can’t be bothered to actually roll. It drives me mad. I can forgive people who don’t know their own strength (as long as they’re just clumsy like that, not malicious), and I’ll even cut the “people who train sick” some slack if they’re training because they have a fight or tournament coming up (not so much if they’re just training for fun, but if they’re a fighter I can understand why they may feel pressured into showing up), but wasting precious rolling time is unforgivable and makes me see red.

  9. I’ve just discovered my own pet peeve. I’ve only been training for approx. 6 months and I have never gotten irritated or angry while training. I’m having a blast while I’m at class so it’s hard to get upset. Well I’m signed up to do my first tournament in a few weeks and I am rolling hard with my husband on days that I don’t have class to increase my endurance and build some strength (he’s twice my size). This week I have been incredibly sore from going so hard in my “off” time. So when I met with a girl to do some drills, I told her I needed to go light so my muscles could recover and I didn’t want to add to my ever growing bruises. Apparently this meant green light for her to go all She Hulk on me. After nearly tossing my cookies when taking a shoulder to my already bruised sternum, I told her to slow it down a bit. I was then told that I just have a bad attitude because she is better than me now… Wow. I didn’t realize how nasty someone could be about wanting to be “better” than someone. I’m awkward and small and just trying to learn like everyone else. So bad attitudes are my new pet peeve. Everyone is on their own journey and in different places in their training.