I am a beginner, I am not allowed to spar yet?

Zak and Corey sparring at Leverage BJJ


I am a new student. I rolled after my first Jiu-Jitsu lesson and was completely hooked. Even though I was tapped frequently, I fell in LOVE with Jiu-Jitsu!

After that, my instructor informed me that I must wait until my first stripe to enter LIVE TRAINING. I am sad that I have to wait. How can I get my Jiu-Jitsu fix outside of regular the classes?

Unpopular decisions…

I have been fortunate enough to find Jiu-Jitsu early on and am in my 19th year of training. The time I have spent on the mats has allowed me to witness the EVOLUTION of BJJ teaching.

When I first started, you were essentially thrown to the wolves. Some survived, most didn’t. The survivors had a distinct love for Jiu-Jitsu that allowed them to persevere through anything they faced on the mats. However, training partners dwindled, schools started to close down, and people were frequently injured.

Over time, better training methods were developed. Instructors became better educated on teaching the art and helping students learn. I believe a lot of this was attributed to the fact that we finally had enough time, stats, data, and results of BJJ in America. From this data, UNPOPULAR decisions were made. It may not be the best idea for students to “roll” early on.

  • More risk of injury.
  • Bad habits developed from early mistakes.
  • Frustration = Quitting

etc, etc,etc.

If everyone was a”survivor” these UN-popular decisions wouldn’t have to be made. Unfortunately, countless injuries, pissed off students, and complaints, caused change.

Embrace the grind

I can assure you this…After you go through these classes (48,according to your instructor), your experience and rolling abilities will have such a head start. You will be thankful that you entered in rolling with knowledge, technique, strategy, and some concepts. Although that first day was fun…It become very un-fun when you continue to get crushed and feel like you will never improve. This may not be you, but for the most part it is. After 48 classes you will understand what happened during live training. You will understand how to keep yourself and not put your self in worrisome, injury prone positions.

Surprisingly, you will actually advance quicker this way. It may not seem like it now. but just realize this…


Rolling WITHOUT knowledge, will create fear. It will force you to develop habits of not “going for it.” Every time you try to, you are caught. You will begin to misinterpret strategy and not ever have the confidence to offensively attack.

Rolling WITH knowledge, will create confidence. You will trust your technique, because you have technique, and you will be able to FIX what goes wrong. It is imperative that rolling is followed by analysis. This analyzing is what allows for true improvement. In the beginning, this is impossible. In the beginning, you will have no answers. You will start to create answers and they will not be correct. It will stunt your future growth.

In the meantime

If you are “jonesing” to roll and cannot wait, here is what you do.

Buy some cheap mats. Network with a fellow student in class that you trust. Meet up and train outside of class.

Take some private lessons from a Purple or Brown Belt. They will be more inclined to grapple with you in the privates more so than the Black Belt/Professors.

Stick around to watch Intermediate/Advanced/Open Mats. Sometimes, a fellow student will be inclined to invite you in for some training.

Talk to your instructor, one on one and ask if he will take a special interest due to your eagerness. Perhaps he will. Tell him that you will go slow and train very controlled. If at any moment you over step your boundaries and start to become unsafe, he can stop you immediately.

Just remember this…We are lucky to have Jiu-Jitsu. We are lucky to live in an era where this is accessible and any moment on the sacred mats is a true blessing. Patience is a virtue. Enjoy the process and remember how lucky you are to have found the art and will now have the chance to live the best life you could’ve ever asked for, due to JIU-JITSU!


  1. Get the fuck out of here. 48 classes before you can roll! sounds like a scam to me. Just like this article. You should by own mat if you want to train what load of shit! Why wont you just take online classes until you get your blue belt huh

  2. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would really
    like to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would value your work.

    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.


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