We have all been the brand new white belt that nobody wants to roll with during our first few open mats. Yet, when we get promoted to our next belts, some of us forget where we came from and aren’t too thrilled to roll with the new batch of white belts despite the many benefits of doing so. While you are more advanced than a white belt on the mats, there are many aspects to training with a white belt that can help improve your BJJ game and simulate real-life situations that can get you out of a jam. Here are five quick benefits to rolling with a white belt.
Opens Up Your Game
When you are rolling with another upper belt, you fall back to playing your A game and going to moves and techniques that are most effective for you. While this does sharpen up your best techniques, it may make you reluctant to open up your game and test out new moves. By rolling with a white belt, you can experiment and test out new techniques with a higher success rate since white belts tend to give bigger openings for techniques and it is easier to setup and transition to dominant positions and submissions on white belts. After getting comfortable with testing and refining on techniques on white belts, you will become more open to testing and continuing to improve the techniques on upper belts.
If you are repeatedly dominating a training partner, consider just playing defense to practice your escapes and counters. Let your training partner take your back, mount you, get side control, and attempt submissions. Use your techniques to counter the positions and attacks to sharpen your defensive skills. You will likely get stuck or tapped, but who cares? Its only practice and it is all progress as long as you keep training and growing.
Practicing Your Competition Game
When we are rolling with black and brown belts, we tend to revert back to being a white belt and being very tentative, anxious, and defensive in our BJJ. In doing so, we forget our fundamentals, as we are just trying to survive. By training with white belts, we can focus on our fundamentals and practice our A game more effectively. Think of it as Floyd Mayweather sparring with a partner he knows he can handle. Sure, you should also practice the game plan against upper belts, but doing so against white belts will aid in building the muscle memory for your game plan and help increase the success rate against upper belts.
Spazzing can lead to injuries, but training with a spaz can help prepare you for a self-defense situation. With a spaz, there is less flow and technique and more aggression and chaos, which is common in a self-defense situation. While your spazzy training partner may lack control, you will be tested to maintain your composure and execute on an opponent with quick explosive bursts, tensed up muscles, and a level of aggression that comes from a trapped or nervous animal. Eating an unintentional head butt, elbow, forearm, or knee while maintaining your composure in order to sweep or submit isn’t an easy task, but it will better prepare you in the event you ever need to use our BJJ on the streets.
Dealing With Unpredictable Movements
In BJJ, we get accustomed to predictable movements by experienced training partners. Getting too comfortable in training against experienced grapplers can leave us vulnerable to the unpredictable and unorthodox movements and attacks that may occur when you go up against against a different style of grappling or a hostile person on the streets. In addition to spazzing, new white belts will have movements that may not be fundamentally sound, but may be effective at times due to our lack of time drilling to account for the awkward movements. Larger white belts will rely on their size and strength to muscle out of positions, and in doing so, it does expose flaws in our own technique and game. In addition to preparing for what we should expect from an experienced grappler, we should account for the unexpected as well.