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On Adopting The Over Looked White Belt

On Adopting The Over Looked White Belt


Ideas on adopting the over looked white belt…

Jiu Jitsu is hard. Many people quit. In my own experience, none of the people who were white belts with me are still around. Many years have gone by. Sure, some move away. But a lot simply don’t train anymore.

I was thinking about Tom DeBlass’ rules he strives to follow for his academy this morning. We explored them here. And while I do not own a school, I have spent a considerable amount of my life training. I think any senior student can apply rules 6 and 7 on the white and blue belts.

Here are those 2 rules.

  1. Focus on all students, not just the ones that are naturally talented.
  2. Focus on the ones that show up. The ones that show up are giving you their all, give your all back.

In Jiu Jitsu, often times a large amount of focus is given to a smallest group of students; the fighters, college wrestlers and female students.  Certainly, this is understandable. Fighters have fights to get ready for. Collegiate wrestlers already have years invested in grappling. Females students can help develop female membership in Jiu Jitsu gyms; as a gym owner it makes sense to appeal to a wider market of customers. Sometimes this attention can come at the expense of other students. For example, someone with no grappling experience on the wrong side of 30 or 40 can train for years with barely getting a nod. In no ways am I trying to be critical of how people run their schools. Running a school is hard. Often instructors sacrifice a lot to teach Jiu Jitsu. I am simply making an observation on the way it is at a lot of places.

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Senior students can help foster the development of the overlooked students: the older students, the extremely out of shape students, the part timer who somehow squeezes in training between 2 jobs and a mess of kids. Most likely, these students will never compete in EBI or make it to black belt in a record amount of time. Yet they still need Jiu Jitsu.  Like all of us they sacrifice a lot to be there.

So how can senior students help foster the development?  One way is with rolling. Sure, new students need to understand that Jiu Jitsu is brutal. Yet, not every roll needs to be a death match. Give them a few pointers in the roll. “Hey man, that was a nice transition. Have you thought about…?” Let them work on their stuff while rolling.

Inevitably, Jiu Jitsu is not for everyone. Additionally, people fall through the cracks. Yet, if Jiu Jitsu is really a family or a tribe, it is up to everyone to make that group great. The responsibility does not lie solely with the instructor. Help ALL the students that show up. Not just the ones that offer an obvious gain. They will deeply appreciate it and you will make your tribe a little bit better and stronger.

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