Its a known fact that cross training can be hugely beneficial to Jiu Jitsu practitioners. By exposing ourselves to other peoples styles we can learn what aspects of our games work against people who have different techniques in their arsenal. One thing Ive seen happen a lot is a sort of stranger danger with visitors.
For starters, if a visitor is of a higher rank, always seek them out to roll with you. Make sure to do so respectfully as to not seem like you are calling them out, but far too often Ive seen high ranking visitors come into a school and no one really seems to want to roll with them. Theres a sort of intimidation factor.
Heres the thing: if you give a visitor a good spirited roll, they may want to come back again to roll with you, and better yet, if they have their own gym elsewhere, youll now have a different place to go train where youll be welcomed.
When rolling with a visitor be aware of these rules of etiquette:
- Not everyone follows the same rules as you.
- Just because someone is of a high rank doesnt render them immune to injury.
- Talk to the person before rolling with them, maybe they want to focus on something specific. Make them feel welcome.
Some visitors may play by different rules than you are used to. I always make a habit of asking new people about their personal feelings on leg locks. If they are not comfortable with me going for them, I wont out of respect for them, if they are, I should expect them to go for reaps and heel hooks.
Another thing to remember is that you are a representation of your school to that visitor. Sometimes, a visiting person may just be passing through or they may be looking for a new place to join. If you make a positive impression, they may join your gym or recommend your gym to other people.
One thing Ive also found is that different people are used to different paces while rolling. Some visitors Ive rolled with want to roll 100%, others are looking to slowly explore different situations and positions. Let the other person dictate the pace of the roll. They may take advantage of that and wind up submitting you, but remember its not a competition.
Far too often I find that some people avoid rolling with visitors. In doing this, they lose out on potential learning experiences and on building new relationships. The next time someone visits your school, go out of your way to roll with them, and when you do so, do it on their terms.
Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer and https://instagram.com/emilfischerbjj