A Reader Question: “Instructor holding me back from randori because I’m not 3 stripes yet.”

“Thanks for posting that article for me.
Any articles on an instructor holding someone back from randori because they aren’t 3 stripes yet?
I was held back recently but I want to enter a tourney next month with friends of mine who are 3 stripes and above and even higher belts but was told I can’t roll yet!
How will I learn? Maybe I’m wrong. Thanks for any input.”

Jiu-jitsu Times: I can understand your frustration!

Most bjj schools allow the students to start rolling soon after training but a minority of schools have a program that does not include free rolling until the students graduate to a certain level.
If you are an enthusiastic student who can’t wait to get rolling this is incredibly frustrating!

The obvious question is: Why are the new students NOT allowed to start rolling?

The rationale behind delaying the rolling is that new students do not yet understand enough techniques to make sparring BOTH productive and safe.
If one does not know the technical escape from the mount or side control what are they going to do in rolling?
Brute force and instinct! With no technique have been learned, you are merely trying to rely on the ONLY things you have: athleticism and survival instinct.
Don’t know any technical submissions yet?
Just grab an opponent’s limb and start twisting and cranking!

This can be dangerous to your training partners and really unproductive for the new student.

If you joined a boxing or muay thai gym, the coach would not throw you into the ring for full contact sparring the first week!
You need some time to learn some fundamentals first.

That said: rolling is a SUPER important part of bjj training and the funnest part as well!
Most black belts would allow students to start rolling after they have had a sufficient orientation with the basic positions and techniques of bjj.

My personal opinion is that a 2 stripe white belt is more than experienced enough to roll (safely and productively) with training partners and enter a tournament.

Regarding the tournament, you will likely have to follow your instructors policy for under 3 stripes not entering to compete.
But I would hope that your school has an open mat session where you can start to get some rolls even if you can’t in the structured classes.

If the bjj school in general discourages live rolling, this should be a red flag.
Legitimate schools of bjj got more rolls than a day old bakery!
If your instructor is a legitimate black belt, my advice to try to be a bit more patient.
If your school feels “dodgy” to you, maybe time to look for a better place to train.

read also: 3 Good Ideas For Jiu-Jitsu Instructors


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