Author Andrew “Major” Johnson, BJJ black belt at Gracie Barra Lexington, SC
Before you train Jiu Jitsu, know these two rules…
Only two rules? Well there are many more a new student will learn over the course of many years, but the two most important rules ensure you have good health to keep training, and that you have healthy sparring partners to train with. What are the rules you ask.
Rule number one: Don’t hurt buddy. Rule number two: Don’t hurt self. In that order.
Easy to remember, right?
Why is don’t hurt buddy first? Because a well-trained Jiu Jitsu student (let’s say blue belt and above) is capable of really hurting people if he/she wanted to. I am talking about long-lasting joint destruction, and certainly causing your buddy to lose consciousness. A couple of specific tips for taking care of your training partner include the following examples: Don’t stack buddy up on his neck to pass his guard – the neck is fragile and new fighters have no idea how weak a connection it really is, and have no idea how to defend it. Don’t put pressures on buddy’s knee that the knee wasn’t designed with withstand, such as twisting and pressure from the side.
Those guys that frequently hurt people quickly get a reputation as someone you really don’t want to roll with. Many people think that if you find you are using strength to submit or escape submissions, then you really aren’t using Jiu Jitsu anyway. We all have to go back to work or school every morning, and protecting your training partners is vital.
“Don’t hurt self” is there too, because despite what you tell yourself before class starts, that you are in “beast mode” (whatever that even means) or that you are Superman – you are NOT superman, and you have no silly “beast mode.” You are mere flesh and bones and are a mortal capable of injuring yourself and being very, very sorry for it. Despite this very clear warning, people continue to go too hard, try superman stunts, and hurt themselves. And then they even may think of quitting Jiu Jitsu, when they alone had the power to be reasonable with their bodies all along.
So when the new guys show up for class, remind them that for today – and forever – remember, don’t hurt buddy, and don’t hurt yourself.