7 Things Your Training Partners Hate!

Some academies have a printed list of academy rules on the wall and most of them are related to martial rats etiquette (bow before stepping on the mat) and / or basic hygiene (No shoes in the mat area!).
There are lesser known and unspoken rules of the mat that are nonetheless really important.

All bjj guys will recognize these “faux pas” on the mat and wish that their training partners would stop!

On Jiu-jitsu Times A Reader Question: “I hate rolling with the class Spaz”

1) Grabbing fingers
Nobody wants to get choked, but do you have to act like a drowning man and desperately clutch at anything you can?
Grabbing fingers and twisting is not legal in any combat sport.
If you twist someone’s fingers and they get injured, maybe they miss work and can’t earn a living.


2) Grinding fists / wrist bones across the mouth and teeth
Cross facing to counter a single leg or trying to sink that choke some guys will grind knuckles right across the opponents teeth and gums.
If you are in a professional bout or life or death situation: Ok..it is you or him!
But in training, try to treat your partner as you would like to be treated.


3) Heel hooks
Want to make an enemy in class?
As soon as you find an opening, drop to a heel hook and crank it on hard and fast!
Heel hooks are notoriously dangerous to the knee and prohibited in many academies.
Find out BEFORE you roll if heel hooks are fair game.


4) Scratching / grabbing the skin through the gi and pinching
When I get home from jiu-jitsu I examine my upper arms and legs and see finger print bruises.
When some over enthusiastic opponents grab for a grip, they grab the underlying skin as well.
You may be excited, but can’t you feel that you are grabbing skin also?


5) Kicking when bodies collide
Inevitably, when pairs are rolling, bodies will collide. Many academies, the etiquette is that the higher belts get the right of way and the lower belts reset.
But some are so absorbed in their roll that they fail to feel their foot kicking something solid and gi-covered.
That is another person! Don’t you feel it?!?
You need to have some awareness of your surroundings!


6) “Let’s Go Easy Guy”
Translation: Go light on me until I get close to a submission then I will leap on it like I am hanging from a cliff!
One student I remember was infamous for this and would often be unable to make it to the end of the 5 minute round because he gassed out.
How do you gas out if you are “going easy”?


7) Unwanted coaching
Part of the bjj culture is more experienced students sharing information with an helping newer students.
But some guys with little experience will try to coach or teach during rolling.
I recall one white belt student who as soon as his guard was getting passed or in danger of submission, would stop the roll and try to coach the other guy.
He should be concentrating more on his own efforts and less on others.

What grinds your gears in bjj? email us at info@jiujitsutimes.com


  1. No heel hooks? Might as well put on your lipstick and tutu. Nothing wrong with controlled heel hooks and this article is contributing to the retardation. Also what about no underwear under gi pants?

  2. Skin pinching happens dude. It’s part of them game and separates people who are there for the art. It’s just something that happens

  3. Nothing bothers me, it’s all part of the game, except brush your teeth and clean you Gi, dealing with the headhunters only makes me better

  4. The heelhooks point is asinine. I don’t put heelhooks on anyone lower than purple belt, only because it’s not exactly fair if the person hasn’t trained it at all. But solid purple and above, you should know these things.


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