How to train with Jiu-jitsu Black Belts

How to train with a Jiu-jitsu White belt if you are a Black Belt

I remember the first time I got to train with a Jiu-jitsu Black Belt. I was an 18 year old white belt and I moved to Dallas, TX to train with the legendary Carlos Machado. Every chance that I got to train with him I would try my veery hardest. And every time he would carefully shut down each of my attempts one by one, before slowly and inevitably forcing me into a submission. I continued to learn and train with him over the years, all the way up until I received my brown belt. And, although I was improving and could survive for longer periods of time, the end result was usually the same. Master Carlos would shut down my offensive efforts, and with cunning precision, slowly force me into submission. I will always appreciate the lessons learned during these training sessions. I came to appreciate how important patience, precision and sharp technique are to the art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and in all skills for that matter. What I appreciated the most was that I was allowed to give my best effort and feel every way that my attacks were countered. Sure, Carlos could have used more power speed and muscle to reach the submission goal faster. But, he trained in a way that allowed me to learn, absorb and truly appreciate what I was doing. That is how a true master spars. And I have tried to emulate this as an instructor myself. Although my ego will still drive me to force more competitive matches, I make a conscious effort to allow my students to experience the importance of proper technique and timing over physical qualities such as speed and power.


How to train with a Jiu-jitsu Black Belt if you are a White Belt

I have noticed over the years that there are countless personality types that train in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. For this post, I will focus on just 2 types: White Belts who try to kill their Black belt Instructors and White Belts who try very little as they understand their effort to be an act of futility. I was like the first example, but eventually modified my approach to better take advantage and learn from the opportunity to work with a master of the craft. I now suggest and encourage this modified approach. Trying to go all out and catch a black belt by surprise as an inexperienced Jiu-jitsu white belt will result in frustration and fatigue but it won’t result in fun. But, balling up in fear just waiting for the inevitable whooping to pass is even less productive. Instead, try your very best to win, but focus on using the techniques that you have learned. It doesn’t matter that the moves won’t win you the match yet. That shouldn’t be the goal. The goal should be to learn something new. If you try out a new guard pass and find yourself caught in a triangle choke, smile the biggest smile you can. You just learned a valuable lesson and will be better at that guard pass almost immediately. Remember, your goal is not to be the white belt that taps out all the black belts. That person doesn’t exist, and if they did then the Black Belt itself would hold little value. When you spar with a black belt, your objective should be to absorb just a bit of their mastery. If you can do that then you will be a little closer to your own mastery.