Should You Give Unsolicited Advice to Your Training Partner?

EXIT BJJ / Flickr Creative Commons

We have all rolled with people who have more experience than us. They tap us out or dominate us with position, and then precede to tell us everything you did wrong.

Hey, maybe you ARE one of them.

The purpose of going to BJJ class is to learn, but many of us pay to learn from the instructor.

There is nothing wrong with helping the new guy, but for some, there is a certain line they don’t want you to go over.

I am one of those people. If I am screwing something up, I prefer to attempt to figure the problem out for myself.

Well, at first anyway.

Then I will ask someone for help if I continue to have trouble.

Problem solving is one thing that I take off of the mats with me, but it becomes difficult to hone this problem solving skill if my partner tells me the answer every time I make a mistake. 

This outlines the importance of communicating with your training partner.

Some people don’t care if you point out flaws in their game without asking. However, some would rather get tapped out 100 times, try to figure out the solution to the problem, and then ask someone.

Understanding what type of partner you have is a major key. Everyone is there to learn; some people just learn differently than others.

This especially comes in to play when you are sparring. Just because you get the best of someone on the mat doesn’t mean they want you to tell them why. If they ask you, of course you are going to tell them, but some prefer to figure it out for themselves or get advice from a coach or instructor.

Another approach you can take is to ask your partner if they want you to criticize their roll. Saying this before the roll is most effective. The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open.

Just something to think about next time you are on the mats.


  1. It only bothers me when coming from someone of the same or near the same rank, or when a sparring partner stops you in the middle of kicking their ass to nit pick the execution of the technique you were kicking their ass with. I’ll happily take advice from someone who significantly outranks me, and therefore has a legitimate reason to believe they have a better grasp of a given technique than I do. I’ll give some tips to beginning white belts while sparring rather than just destroy them over and over. I guess I just don’t want them to get demoralized and quit. That being said (or typed), I definitely wasn’t giving unsolicited advice to anyone when I was a white belt.

  2. You are probably the same person that complains about being continually tapped by certain training partners, calling them mat bullies. By the way you are most likely in a gym with competitors and part of a team. The team would like you to fix your mistakes for the sake of the team snd reputation of the gym.

  3. The only people who need advice mid-roll tend to be two-stripe white belts or below because they generally have no understanding of the basics and will make the same mistakes again and again.

    There are only so many times you can let a person suffer putting themselves in a triangle choke before you tell them, “two in, two out.”

    Unless you’re the instructor, a light touch is the best way. Then again, I gather that most academies tend to have Beginners/Basics Classes, and any academy with an “Advanced” class that features someone giving unsolicited advice is quiet possibly the most annoying human on the planet in that particularly moment


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