Let’s say that you’re a white belt, drilling a move or in the midst of rolling with someone… And you see an another white belt struggling with a technique – be it your own training partner or someone else. Should you help them out?
That is: should you explain and demonstrate the move to them, if you know how to do it? Or is it disrespectful to your BJJ instructor?
There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind as you figure out this dilemma.
LET YOUR INSTRUCTOR HELP THEM FIRST
The best possible option – not just for you, but more for the white belt in trouble – is to have your instructor help them out. The reason behind this should be a no-brainer. They are much more experienced than you are, they know what to pay attention to, and they know how to explain things in an understandable way.
So, if you see a fellow white belt struggling and they ask for your help, politely decline and say that the instructor would know much better. Then, if they can’t, ask your instructor to come over and help out your teammate.
Just don’t be too hectic about it. Your instructor has to correct other people too (including yourself), so continue rolling and continue drilling. He’ll come to help them out soon enough.
LET A HIGHER BELT INSTRUCT THEM FIRST
If the instructor is too busy, then the next best bet for the struggling white belt is to ask for help from a higher belt. Be it another black, brown, purple, or even a blue belt – it will be of much better help than you helping them out.
Bear in mind that it’s not just about knowing how to do the move. We’re certain that there are some moves that you know the details to as much as that blue belt does… And that you can even execute those moves with respectable precision and effectiveness.
However, it’s much more important to know how to explain a technique when it comes to coaching others. If you can’t explain a move in a concise, direction-oriented manner, then it’s much better to leave that job to those who’ve been training for a longer time.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO HELP THEM…
Now, if your instructor is totally swamped with the number of people in the class and he can’t be of immediate help to your fellow white belt; and if the higher belts just aren’t in a position – for one reason or another – to assist… Then it’s time for you to step up to the plate and help that white belt.
Before you do, however, make sure that you truly understand what you’re going to show them. That you’ve performed the technique previously, that you’ve performed it well, and that you understand (at least some) of the ways that make it work.
If you don’t understand it and if you haven’t been successful at using it yourself, then it’s best to skip showing it.
And if you’re going to explain and demonstrate how to perform the technique properly, you need to do the following. After the training session is finished, approach your instructor and ask them if the way you explained the technique was right. This way, you’ll be certain that you haven’t made a mistake – and that your white belt teammate hasn’t learned something badly.
Oh, and one more thing. Don’t become the „know it all“ white belt. Don’t give unsolicited advice to your training partners. You’re on the very beginning of your BJJ journey, and you have a long way to go.