One of the unspoken etiquettes that I learned in Karate class is that when it’s time to choose partners you should look down the line. The senior students get to do the choosing, and if none of them select you, then you pick one of your juniors. I think this is part of the reason I have such a hard time asking my seniors in Jiu-Jitsu to roll. I feel like they should get to choose first, and if they want to ask me, they will. Since they rarely do, I usually end up asking one of my juniors. I feel more comfortable asking a white belt who I don’t know than a purple who I do. So I end up rolling with a lot of new people.
When you roll with a new white belt it’s always a gamble, and you never know what you’re going to get. I’ve grappled with a lot of big, smashy, muscly, spastic, over-zealous, punch-you-in-the-face-while-trying-to-escape white belts. They are usually the most dangerous people to roll with in the dojo, and it’s a miracle I don’t get injured even more than I already do.
Once in awhile I get lucky though, like I did yesterday, and I choose one who is only masquerading as a FNG. You’d think by now I would know that just because someone is wearing a white belt that doesn’t mean they don’t know anything! It took about fifteen seconds from the start of our roll for me to figure out that Mike had done this before, and it turns out that he’s been training BJJ for about a year, and he just moved to Lincoln for school.
It was a good roll, and I’m really glad I chose that particular white belt. He pleasantly surprised me. I was completely unsuccessful in any attempt to get him in my guard (inconceivable!) and his side control was inescapable. Which is even more impressive if you consider the fact that the main reason I chose him is because he only outweighs me by about twenty pounds. I also watched him roll with another white belt who was much larger than he was, and the big dude never got out of his mount before being submitted with an arm triangle. I don’t think Mike will be wearing that white belt around here for very long.