How To Challenge Yourself With Lower Belts

In some bjj gyms there are many senior belts that can provide challenging training for experienced bjj students.

But bjj in less developed areas may have few experienced guys to roll with.
Or one class a purple belt gets paired with the new student for a roll.

How does that more experienced student challenge themselves to get the best benefit from a a roll with a much less experienced partner?
Yes, they COULD decide to just use their best techniques and completely dominate the positions..but is that quality training for all involved?

A great option utilized by many black belts who have relocated to teach in a new city and had only less experienced students to train with is to handicap their training.
For example, when Roger Gracie first moved to the UK to teach bjj, he did not have an academy full of black belts to keep him sharp (like he did back home in Brazil).
Yet Roger was able to stay sharp and win multiple world titles despite not having world class training partners for much of the year.

How can you challenge yourself when training with lower experienced opponents?

1) Limit your training
Do you have a killer triangle game? Have deadly collar chokes? Do you specialize in pressure and smashing from the top?
Limit yourself by:
Prohibit yourself from attacking with the triangle and find a different submission.
Shelve the collar chokes and only attack with arm submissions.
If you play top game, start and stay on the bottom to work your guard.
Or ONLY submit with a certain submission. Once your opponent recognizes what you are trying to do, it will suddenly get much harder.

You will be less proficient outside for your “A Game” and have to work harder to get the tap.
And you will learn more about those weaker areas of your game!

2) Escaping bad positions
Start the roll with your less experienced opponent in a dominant position and work to escape.
Allow them the mount or rear mount and go.
You will learn to be efficient with your energy on the bottom and sharpen your timing for the escapes.
This is a valuable way to learn to be relaxed in bad positions and use less strength.

3) Force yourself to “southpaw”
This is my favorite method of challenging purple belts who are rolling with newer students.
I challenge them to attack only with sweeps or submissions on their weak side.
Most of us are not equal in our attacks on both sides of your body.

Maybe you have never really drilled certain sweeps to your left side?
What happens when we ask you to use your favorite guard grips from the opposite side?

Try attacking the triangle ONLY from your weaker side.
You will discover that you are a belt level or 2 lower on that weak side.

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