“Lessons From Lower Belts!”

A lot of people who have trained in Jiu Jitsu for any length of time (myself included occasionally) often get disheartened when they aren’t able to train with higher belt ranks as much as they would like to! Particularly as you advance in the art, the challenge of testing your skills against the higher belts and learning from them becomes more and more appealing. And for those of you that don’t have that opportunity or rarely get that opportunity it is easy to become frustrated and feel like you are not learning while just rolling with people of the same or lower rank…

But let me tell you this is a MISTAKE! In fact it is often the case that some of your biggest breakthroughs will come while training with less experienced training partners as you are able to relax and apply your techniques more easily! The trick is one to maximising your training and learning experience has a lot to do with your attitude. Firstly you have to be open-minded and truly believe that you can and WILL learn training with anyone! Even if it is just how to set up a certain attack, countering a particular technique/movement or improving your timing!

One of the things that you learn while training Jiu Jitsu is that it is extremely important to train with as wide a variety of training partners as possible because we all move and respond differently and we all bring different gifts and tricks to the mat!

Sometimes a raw beginner will be more difficult for you to catch or roll smoothly with than a seasoned blue or purple belt because they are so unorthodox that you can’t predict and anticipate their movements as effectively. This can pose an interesting challenge and often frustrates a lot of people. And the best way to combat this is to train and roll with as many different bodies as you can. All shapes, sizes and strengths… Now that doesn’t mean you can be reckless or not choose your training partners wisely, but it means sometimes it is great to pair up with different people even if it is just to drill technique.


Some of the greatest Jiu Jitsu practitioners of all time such as Rickson Gracie, Marcelo Garcia or Roger Gracie advocate training with their students and never really seek out advanced training partners to prepare for their fights! And if training with lower level opponents is good enough for them to sharpen their skills and learn, then you better believe that it is good enough for us!!!

On a personal level I know I have learnt a tremendous amount while rolling with my students at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom and much to their surprise they have taught me as much if not more about Jiu Jitsu than I have ever taught them! Not that they believe me when I tell them that!  I truly believe that to get good at Jiu Jitsu you need to train with people who are better than you to work your defenses just as much as you need to work with lower level opponents to sharpen your attacks and movement skills! So next time you are partnered with a lower belt make a conscious effort to learn something from the roll, strive to always improve some technique/movement and thank them for helping you develop your game!


Good Luck with Your Training and Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom



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