That Guy You Hate To Roll With

They say in the fight game that “styles make fights”.
Some fighters have a style that matches up well with another and makes for a tough, competitive matchup.

Each fighters strengths cancel out the opponent’s strengths.

In the same way there are guys who may be at your same belt level that give you a really tough roll every time at the bjj academy.

Their style of game is pure kryptonite to your own game!

I can recall some old training partners who started training at the same time as I did who used to give me hell on the mat.
When it came time to roll and you were matched up, you would look over, slowly tie your belt and breath in deeply…”Ughh,..this is not going to be easy.”

There was one lighter blue belt who had a guard that I don’t recall ever being able to successfully pass in all of our rolls.
He was unable to sweep or submit me and our matches were these frustrating grinding affairs that tested both of us but neither could gain any significant advantage.

A 2nd training partner was almost a copy of my own game. Except he was bigger, stronger and faster.
I knew that any roll was going to test me to my limits and I would leave the academy exhausted.
Every small advantage in the roll had to be fought for and I would claw my way to the smallest of gains.

But those guys may have done the most to improve my jiu-jitsu!

They say that iron sharpens iron.
That you need to train with lions to be a lion yourself.

These quality training partners are forcing you out of your comfort zone.
They are causing you to stretch beyond your “good enough” and push you further.

If their game was a lot different than my own, it convinced me of how effective some positions could be.
I just could NOT pass that one training partner’s guard.

From that experience I started using the EXACT same guard when I had a big, strong opponent trying to pass.
I still use the same guard that he used to torment me with!

So even though you cringe at the thought of another mat war with that guy you “hate” to train with, years from now you will remember how he pushed you further than you would have gone otherwise.
Great training partners are invaluable in making us be the best we can be.

Jiu-jitsu Times – Jiu-jitsu Times – Don’t Skip The Details!


  1. I’m dying of suspense here sir; what was the unpassable guard? Haha, thanks for the article as well. Blessings from Pennsylvania, USA.


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