Hollaback Girl

Conan recently loaned me a DVD of Roy Dean’s purple belt requirements, and I was afraid it might be over my head, but I actually know most of what’s on there! There was something I hadn’t thought about for awhile: that Jiu-Jitsu is like a language, and when we roll it’s a debate (or a rap battle!).

I ain't no hollback girl!When you’re first starting out, you’re just learning the individual words (techniques), but you don’t know anything about structuring sentences. So when you’re rolling, you’re just repeating words randomly (and new students have a tendency to shout them).


After you know enough words, and you understand how they’re supposed to work together, you start to form simple sentences. However, your argument still isn’t very persuasive, especially against someone who’s been doing it for awhile, because they’ve already heard everything you could possibly have to say.

“Your mama!”

Then your sentences will become more complex, and they won’t be so easily dismissed. This is the time when you usually start to figure out which debate tactics work best for you.

“Your mama is so fat!”

Eventually you’ll learn how to consistently get your point across. As your vocabulary continues to grow, your sentences will become longer.

“Your mama is so fat, when she jumps in the ocean, the whales start singing ‘We Are Family’!”

The final level is when you are able to create entire paragraphs, and you’ll always have a comeback. This is when you can make your opponent wish they’d never said anything at all.

“Yeah, my mama’s fat, but that’s because she has a thyroid condition, and how dare you make fun of her! I’m going to make this choke extra painful to punish you for stooping to that level.”

Knowing all of the techniques in the world won’t help you if you don’t know how to put them together so they make sense, and use them at the correct time. Sometimes it feels like white belts are just hollering at me, which can be scary, but it’s not very efficient or effective. When in doubt, remember that a debate isn’t won by the volume of your voice, but by having a clear point, and being able to back it up.

“A few times I’ve been around that track, so it’s not just gonna happen like that.
Because I ain’t no hollaback girl, I ain’t no hollaback girl.” -Gwen Stefani


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