Since I mainly roll with more experienced people in the advanced classes at Lincoln BJJ, sometimes it can feel like I’m not getting anywhere in my training, especially on the days when it seems like most everything I try to do fails, and I spend a lot of my time tapping. Then on the occasions when I do roll with people who are newer, it makes me realize how much I really have been learning by training with the sharks, and it’s nice to have that positive reinforcement once in awhile, which was the experience I had yesterday when I went to the beginner no-gi class.
For drilling I chose to work with Jeff, a white belt who’s been around awhile, and I’ve partnered with him before, which I’ve always enjoyed, not just because he doesn’t weigh much more than me, but because he has a great attitude, so training with him is fun. I did well against him during positional sparring from closed guard, and at one point he told me I used some “blue belt magic” when I swept him in the midst of a guard pass. He said “I thought I was doing good, and then all of the sudden, I wasn’t!”, which made me lol.
My next partner was a true newbie, and it was a surreal experience for me, because I felt as though I could’ve probably done anything that I wanted to him, and he wouldn’t have been able to stop me! Of course I did not do that, I didn’t even try to submit him, because I could tell he was overwhelmed, and he was so new that he didn’t know what “passing guard” meant, so I tried to help him understand what we were doing.
Although it can be frustrating getting my ass handed to me so often in the advanced classes, whenever I go to the beginner class and train with people who are less experienced, and I’m able to pass all the guards, or they desperately try to pass my guard or take my back or but can’t, or when someone puts all of their energy into submitting me but fails, or if I successfully use a technique on someone that has been repeatedly done to me, I give thanks to The Sharks, because training with them is a large part of the reason why I no longer suck at Jiu-Jitsu (yeah, I said it! ;). Even when it seems like all I’m doing is tapping to them, I’m still constantly improving, so it’s all good, which I believe is proof that there really is no such thing as winning or losing in BJJ, only learning.