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Is Your Fear of Live Training Holding You Back?

Is Your Fear of Live Training Holding You Back?


One of the most exciting parts of training BJJ is finally getting to roll.

Maybe your academy allowed you to roll from day one. If so, that’s cool, but some BJJ schools require that you put in a certain amount of time on the mat before they allow you to step in to a live training setting.

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Though the rules may vary, we often sometimes see those who choose not to partake in the live training time that’s offered at the school. They seem interested, they may watch for a moment, but then they quietly pack up their gear and slip out.

Why is this? Fear of injury? Ego? The absence of helpful training partners?

BJJ is the most effective self-defense art on the planet, not to mention an incredibly exciting sport that is growing larger by the minute. It’s unlike any other martial art in that it teaches us methods of total control that we can implement on another resisting body. Think about that. BJJ gives us the ability to navigate a resisting body and impose our will upon it. That’s like magic.

Now, if you have severe injuries that prevent you from live training and you take part in BJJ as part of a rehabilitation process or something to that effect, then of course it’s understandable that any amount of risk is too much, and you prefer to stay away from the unpredictability of a roll. But if you’re an able-bodied human who’s been grinding away and putting in the work on the mats, you may be doing yourself a huge disservice by skipping the live training portion of class.

I firmly believe that to harness the true power of BJJ, you must apply it in settings where the opposing party is doing their best to put a stop to your efforts. This is where the diamonds are made. You must pressure test your technique and navigate those scenarios that are absent of compliance. This doesn’t mean that every roll needs to be a deathmatch, but I will say that live training varies greatly from cooperative drilling, and there are enormous benefits to participating in both.

If the fear is injury, perhaps you don’t trust your training partners. If this is the case, you may be at the wrong academy. Every person that trains BJJ deserves the chance to enter a live training setting without the fear of being thrown to the lions right from jump. If you have the right atmosphere and a good team, you should be able to integrate into live training without the fear of threat of injury.

If it’s your ego that’s holding you back, then you must learn to let that go. Of course, you will lose, you should lose. Those that came before you have earned the right to defeat you. They’ve worked for it. But there is simply no way to improve if you never allow yourself to be vulnerable and only watch from afar. Again, if you’re part of the right team, your peers will help you quell your ego and you can begin reaping the benefits of live training.

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When it comes to self-defense, we can choreograph all the possible self defense scenarios we’d like, but if you’ve never been in an unscripted scuffle on the mat, the chances are in a real confrontation, you may be in for a bit of a surprise. For some of us live training, or some rolling with MMA gloves may be the closest we ever to a real-life physical altercation. If you’ve never truly felt another human coming after you, how do you think that will feel in the street?

These are obviously just some things to think about, and whatever your involvement is in BJJ, no matter how large or small, it will always be better than not training at all. My message here is to those who fear live training but want to take part. Stop letting superficial excuses hold you back and jump on in. You have an entire team that will welcome the extra training partner, and the opportunity to help another one of their own grow, and continuing the cycle.

Great technique from Brandon McCaghren! Check out Rubberguard: The Meathook the latest instructional from BJJ Fanatics! You can get it here!




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