Every gym has at least one.
Ever notice that there are certain individuals who have a hard time finding people with whom they can roll? Often these people are bigger, stronger, more athletic, and maybe just a bit spazzy. Many people have legitimate fears of rolling with these mythical beasts.
I recently saw a Facebook post by Mr. Jiu Jitsu that inspired this entry:
That guy who has a reputation for hurting his training partners ,that’s the guy I wanna test myself against .
The new guy who walks in the gym and everyone wants to see him roll first to size him up , I wanna be his first roll.
The heavyweight everyone avoids like a plague ,I can’t wait to get my hands on him.
That roid head who spazs out and you’re not sure if your rolling or fighting for your life ,I live for those rolls.
That pro black belt ,I can’t wait to be fighting for the salvation of my limbs and legs as he systematically breaks me down.
Conquer the mats or die trying.
I understand avoiding these individuals. There are days that I avoid them (specifically if I am nursing an injury or don’t feel 100%.) And if you’re not a competitor and aren’t doing jiu-jitsu for “self defense,” this article isn’t aimed at you.
The reality is that I don’t get hurt very often. More often than not, the only injury I suffer is to my ego. These are not people who should be able to beat me. But they sometimes do.
Roll with the guy that no one wants to roll with, but be prepared to tap early and in unexpected positions. Understand that there is a real risk and danger to you; but also understand that, whether you do jiu-jitsu for competition or for “the street,” if you’re too chicken shit to roll with the guy who everyone’s afraid of, that’s going to be the guy who beats you badly in competition or who starts a fight with you over a parking spot.
We aren’t here to bake cookies (well maybe I am…); we are here to learn how to control another person’s movement using nothing more than leverage and the human body. Obviously if the guy is prone to not letting go on the tap, has awful hygiene, or decides to start punching people in the middle of rolling, this doesn’t apply.
But don’t view people who are intimidating as threats; view them as challenges. And if you fail to conquer the challenge, tap, restart, and try again.
Learn your own limitations.