“Is it too soon for a three stripe white belt to be trying to learn spiderguard?
I’m told by my blackbelt it’s the hardest guard.
My regular coach advised me to stop with it entirely if I want to be ready for the next competition.
I don’t want my coach thinking I want to stand against his guidance for my growth as he sees it for my best.”
Jiu-jitsu Times: There is no set timetable as to when a student should learn certain moves.
It is however a generally regarded truth that a student should spend the majority of their early training time mastering the “basics” as opposed to specializing in advanced, sports bjj positions.
Your instructor may in fact be correct in discouraging you from spending valuable training time on certain positions right before a competition.
The black belt can likely see things in your game that are a higher priority than spider guard for you AT THIS TIME in your jiu-jitsu development.
I am a firm believer that students with less than 1 year of bjj classes should be focusing on the basic techniques – the techniques and positions that you encounter EVERY roll.
Regaining your guard, passing, escaping side control / mount etc.
Many an instructor has rolled their eyes at a very new student who wants to leap frog all of the basics and get right into the De la Riva guard sweeps and inverted guards.
To be effective at many of these advanced positions, the student must first establish a base in the fundamentals (and this goes for higher belts as well!).
You need the balance, base, body movement and awareness developed by studying the basics to be able to effectively utilize the more advanced techniques.
For example: when a student begins training muay thai, the instructor doesn’t start them out with the Ong Bak flying elbow!
Proper fighting stance, foot work, the jab and push kick are first needed before anything else.
The fancy stuff comes a little later when you have some flexibility, balance and movement to make the fancy stuff work.
Now that is not to say that beginning students should never try fancy, advanced techniques.
Experimenting with and dissecting advanced positions can start to open the student’s mind to the immense possibilities of jiu-jitsu.
And above all, jiu-jitsu training is supposed to be FUN!
So, it is okay to try some crazy, spinning techniques with your training partners. Test your limits and expand your understanding of the incredible possibilities of the art.
To get back to the original question, in preparing for the tournament follow your black belt coaches advice. He has a solid idea of what you need to be best prepared for the tournament.
At the next open mat after the tournament (hopefully with your Gold medal!) then bust out the spider guard to your heart’s content.