We must develop the ability to adjust to rolling with anyone.
Many times it’s outside our control, who we’re selected to roll with or who chooses us. Many of us get caught, intentionally or otherwise, rolling or practicing with the same few partners, with the same body types, although the class is packed with other choices. This is usually out of initial comfort and fear, followed by habit and friendship. But we should eventually be able to train with anyone.
Instead of choosing our partners based on how we want to roll, we should develop the ability to adjust ourselves to any roll. Bodybuilder, young child, opposite political party, the old and young, men and women, grinders, those who flow, guard players and pressure passers. movers and mud runners, the heavy and the nimble.
We don’t want to be the big guy that only rolls with big guys so we “don’t hurt them”….size doesn’t hurt, only misplaced size does. Relying on someone else’s fortitude to not hurt them is amatuer and reinforces slop technique. Size with grace is safe.
We don’t want to be the gumby whirlwind always rolling with similar types for the same reasons. We’ll be rewarded with terrible techniques that work “successfully” because of openness to abstract movement and flexibility outside proper planes of motion.
Size, style, experience, strategy, agreeableness…versatility in training is key. And pushing our boundaries of comfort makes us versatile.
With that, there’s something to be said for selecting a body type or style for a limited sprint to get through a particular element of the game or for specific competition preparation, or for personally specific health limitations. Or to avoid spazzes that might get us hurt, until they themselves find their own flow. There are strengths to each type, and to each person in isolation. Or maybe we’re newer and just getting comfortable with the space and training partners, and Jiujitsu itself, there’s no rush to leap into it. A steady push of exploration is key.
The meat and veggies of training, and for longevity, however, should eventually be across the wide range of teammates. If not today then eventually. If diversity is the strength of the whole, versatility is the strength of the individual, in the academy and in life.
Published: November 18, 2022