I am regularly involved on Jiu Jitsu Forums and Reddit, and the question of aggressiveness often come up. When should you be aggressive, at what point, etc. What I’ve come to realize is that rolling is a lot like speaking with others, and that aggression is like screaming. When people scream at me, I can scream back or try to respond normally – but in any case, it’s clear that it doesn’t match my conversation style, and their aggression doesn’t match my rolling style.

I’ve identified a few rolling styles – I’d love to know if I’ve left any out, and which rolling style you most often use.


Key points: Low-energy, enjoyable, not particularly challenging on either end, friendly, back and forth.


Key points: Dominates the conversation, excited to try things out, doesn’t pay attention to turn-taking, assumes that if the other person wants to say something they will.


Key points: Attempts to win in a logical manner, presents points and counterpoints, calculated, carefully assesses and addresses opponent, very focused.


Key points: Yells, uses volume if they can’t make a logical point, sometimes resorts to name calling or pushing.


Key points: Totally quiet, doesn’t respond well, afraid to speak up, afraid to be misunderstood, embarrassed when speaking.


Key points: Sets up the conversation for the other person to win or practice a key point, gives +1 level of difficulty based on what the person can handle, focuses mostly on the other person.

My personal rolling style is “coffee shop” – and several of the gyms I’ve visited are more like debate teams with a dash of (metaphoric) yelling. I recognize that if I never train debate style, I won’t be good at it, and yet at the same time, I really love rolling more conversationally and less competitively.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: Which style best describes your rolling? Did I leave any out?

Reminder: One more day for the COMMENT CONTEST! Winner gets a FREE pair of spats from OK Kimonos! Highest number of comments wins. Contest ends February 28 at midnight (end of the day!) – SEOUL time!

Note: Apologies for my lack of engagement this month. February has been really tough – losing a job, boyfriend moving away, starting a new job next week, changing gyms – it’s been a bit overwhelming and I’ve retreated into Candy Crush land to not-deal with things.