How to be a Great Jiu-Jitsu Teammate. I have trained at various Jiu-Jitsu academies around the world, Australia, North America, and Asia. There was always one constant factor between all of them. There were a few students or coaches that were great teammates. This was not only because of their skill or knowledge regarding the shared passion for BJJ, but they also possessed a few characteristics that made these jiu-jitsu students or coaches stand out. Because of this, all their counterparts were always asking them to roll and were highly regarded among their team. These 6 characteristics are are what made these teammates a valuable asset to their entire team.
Show Up to Train
Be dependable and show up for your teammates. Your jiu-jitsu teammates are your most valuable resource. You won’t be able to improve, or even practice, if your counterparts don’t show up to class. Make sure you make the time to get to class and train. The only bad workout is the one that is missed.
Make sure you and your BJJ gi is clean. This goes for your finger and toe nails well! Nobody wants to roll with the Pig-Pen or Freddy Krueger, because that is exactly how people get staph, MRSA, ringworm, or impetigo. You don’t need to smell like prom date but you NEED to be clean.
Share the Time
Since your teammates are there for you, as well as themselves, recognizing those sparring rounds are not only for your improvement but for the progression of your TEAM. There should be an ebb and flow with your bjj sessions, or the ‘hammer and nail’ aspect. If you focus on playing both rolls, you will improve faster as well as helping your team. Those who only focus on smashing or submitting everybody on each roll, are probably the students that nobody enjoys rolling with or nobody asks them to roll because it is treated like a tournament instead of training. Save that for competition training sessions.
Know Your Roll (Role)
Do not waste your teammates’ time by soliciting your own advice or opinion during class time or their sparring session. There is a time and place for that and it is during Open Mats. Coaches are present for a reason. Focus your energy on listening and being a good participant and less on what you can teach.
Having a positive jiu-jitsu training session always feels great. We all feel better and less stress afterwards, but more so when everybody is encouraging and supportive. Acknowledge the skill of your teammates who are better or more experienced when they get the better of you instead of getting upset or making excuses. Be grateful your lesser expericenced counterparts are giving you a harder time. This means they are improving, which is a good thing.
This is very important because is shows you truly appreciate and value the time, knowledge, and effort of your BJJ teammates and coaches. It also shows you understand enough to know you do not know everything.
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