What Am I Supposed To Do When I Spar (Roll) Jiu-Jitsu?

 

When you are first starting out in BJJ you will probably look to “win” every roll. It is a natural thing to do because deep down none of us want to lose. However over time you will realize that sparring is about learning. There is nothing wrong with wanting to submit your opponents, but this could lead to early frustration because you will not have the tools to do so when starting Jiu-Jitsu.

Eventually you will find yourself being amazed by the ways you “lose”, as well as what you learn from “winning”. Some great advice starting out is to have an idea or objective in mind for your daily roll session. Pick something that you want to work on and do your best to focus on that. Pick smaller mini goals that will lead you to your overall goal of being a good grappler. They say in BJJ, “Either you win, or you learn.”

Early on learn you will!

If you are constantly focused on tapping out your partners you will miss out on the brilliance of Jiu-Jitsu. How can you develop grace under pressure if you aren’t being cooked in side control ever so often? How about escapes? You need those as much as you need anything else in Jiu-Jitsu!

This doesn’t mean being a push-over or a wet noodle. Of course you are going to want and need to put forth effort. It is irritating to roll with someone who isn’t trying, so don’t fall to that extreme.

Your Jiu-Jitsu will evolve over time. The catalyst for that is mat time; winning and losing.

Generally speaking though your starting goals should be:

When on top – Open the closed guard (do not try to submit here).
Pass to half guard, knee on belly, side control or north/south.
Look to submit, OR take the back/get full mount then look to submit.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When on bottom full guard or half guard – Submit or sweep to get on top.
Repeat top game.

When on bottom side control, back mounted, or full mounted – Escape (do not try to submit from here)
Get back to half or full guard.
Repeat bottom half guard or full guard section.

Of course there are nuances and certain other things that could take place during a roll but generally speaking, this is a solid road map for the beginner to follow.

 

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