Politeness While Rolling: Getting out of the way.

The mats should be a little crowded. But who gets out of the way of whom?

At my gym, we get out of the way of upper belts. Everyone has different customs at their gym, but most have ranking systems that dictate how we interact. Upper belts are allowed more submissions, and have generally been around for a longer time. Because we all started out as lower belts, everyone has experienced being asked to get out of the way of upper ranks. When a higher ranked Black Belt comes to my gym, I get out of the way. No need to think about it.

Restarting from a precise position can help your tournament game.

Competitors should exhibit more control and maintain a strong sense of common courtesy. In a serious tournament, a referee will stop you in a precise position and make note of the precise position of each grip. You will be asked to place each grip in precisely the same place and continue on command as if nothing happened. This produces a situation that can be practiced. If you want to be a good competitor, you need to be aware of your surroundings and the clock, in addition to your own position as you try to win your match.

Be nice when asking others to move.

I try to notice when a new person is engaging in what feels like the fight of their life. I will usually set my hand on whatever is about to kick or slap me, and acknowledge that they are rolling very close to me and my training partner. “Hey, how’s it going?” Or, “What’s up guys?” Is usually enough to remind our friends that there are other people in the room, and that we can get better without stepping on our friends. I like to say, “Watch your space guys!” But I try not to say, “Get out of my way!” Or other similar things. Recognizing someone’s lack of awareness is not the time to state your importance.

Err on the side of getting back to business.

Just like tapping, yielding to a nearby set of training partners is an ego check. We acknowledge that we aren’t the greatest ever, and move on appropriately. If we need to stop and think about which pair has the right of way, we should move ourselves and get back to what we came here for. Getting better at Jiu Jitsu! If my current roll is in a lull, and I see that a couple of Blue Belts are having a good learning experience… I will stop my roll and get out of the way.

The top player will generally be the one to stop the roll.

The top player has a better field of vision. That is one of the reasons we work to be on top. When we finish a sweep or a takedown and find ourselves on top, noticing our surroundings should be a part of the momentary assessment.

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