Jiu-Jitsu Letter

White Belt Sparring, Part 2

Heath Pedigo was on the Sonny Brown Breakdown a few weeks ago and one of the interesting parts was when they discussed how to let white belts spar.

White belts don’t spar in my classes, but if I ran a competition school, I would consider it, and would probably approach it the way Pedigo does.

Here’s the audio clip and transcript.

Sonny Brown:

I heard you say that when, you know, like a new white belt comes into the gym and maybe they’re going, uh, their energies, maybe a bit frantic or that, you know, they’re, they’re a bit wild. Uh, you don’t try and curtail that or, you know, slow them down.

You try and keep that fire, uh, inside them. And. And mold that, which is a bit in terms of culture, it would be maybe counterintuitive or maybe not, not so common because part of the culture that I see more often is no, you make sure the white belts are able to. Roll roll as safe as possible, but, you know, try and try and calm them down, but it seems like you will be, you’ve take the opposite approach.

Heath Pedigo:

So, uh, you know, within reason, of course, you know, it’s like, you know, I said that on the Shoyoroll thing. And then, uh, I actually don’t have, I don’t look at any internet stuff at all, so I don’t, I don’t have any idea. So if someone said [inaudible]. And I, I would only know if that, if, like the boys showed me, you know, I’m extremely lucky. I just, I don’t, I don’t care, you know, uh, as long as it’s, you know, so that being said within reason, I mean, obviously if some fucking nut comes in and he’s slamming people down, I mean, you’re going to tell them not to do that, but I think that it’s an, I think it’s important to, uh, control their elbows and knees of course, you know, so they don’t bust everybody’s heads open obviously, but you know, why, uh, why take that fire away from, from somebody, you know, because they want to go hard.

I mean, I have several masters guys. We have a 70 year old guy, you know, not everybody at the gym is, uh, it’s. Uh, we train hard, you know what I mean?

It’s, uh, it’s hot. It’s a hundred degrees in there right now, but, uh, there are groups in our gym where, you know, the, the guys go, you know, they have to work on Monday. They’re not interested in winning the Worlds. It’s not just a team of, uh, people who are going to rip each other’s heads off. We actually have an incredible, um, incredibly high non-injury rate.

It’s like, uh, you know, you would think that the guys get hurt all the time. I think sometimes people get hurt because they’re like holding back or they’re trying not to. It’s like when you go into a match and say, I’m going to really, uh, you know, I can’t get leg locked and that’s all you thought about for a week, is your opponent being a leg locker?

And then the first thing that happens is you get leg locked because that that’s, that’s all you thought about, you know, instead of going out and not, you know, uh, you know, doing your game. You know, smashing the person the way that you do, you fell into that trap of basically them being inside your head.

And, uh, I think, uh, kinda in that manner and I just, uh, I let the guys bang when the new white belts come in, uh, I don’t always put them with the other white belts, you know, till they’re ready. I put them over with, uh, the guys and let them go hard. And, uh, you know, you almost got a break. You know that that’s kinda how I look at it.

Uh, you, uh, and you can kind of see in the first couple of weeks, how tough somebody’s going to be. And, uh, you know, it was just a competition guy, everyone who comes in now, of course, with the show on Flow, they want it to be a world champion. So if he’s like, Hey Sonny, what’s your goal, to be a world champion.

I already probably knew that if you moved halfway across the world to live in the parking lot, obviously you want to be a world champion, but, uh, you know, what else, uh, you know, th the other stuff is just as important, you know what I mean? So, um, I, I do think it’s important to not take that away. And, uh, you know, just kinda guide them, uh, you know, towards, uh, you know, being able to push the pace and, uh, uh, you know, learning the techniques and, uh, the way the guys drill in the gym, they drill hard.

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