Very cool video from Keenan Cornelius (youtube channel here) where they explain 15 unwritten rules we have to know when we train BJJ:

  1. don’t do “dick moves”, like elbows pressuring on thighs, pressure points on neck, clavicle, armpits (eyes obviously…),
  2. do not grab fingers….etc. It’s not allowed and it can break them. Stick to BJJ moves only.
  3. do not SLAM your partner against the floor… very dangerous.
  4. do not even try things that could get dangerous out of the BJJ rules or out of high level championships, like crazy takedowns (slams, scisor-jump on partner’s legs, etc).
  5. while training be GENTLE. On higher levels, you can go more intense. Not on lower belts.
  6. do not explain things to your partners, call the instructor instead, it’s his job
  7. tap early and tap often, do not force the tap until damage, you will suffer injuries over time that could be avoided, and your partner will be confused. Tap the second you feel it.. Allow your partners to do the move, switch and go for your turn. At the beginning it’s no time for resistance or for experimental escapes, just tap if the move is completed.
  8. do not talk real-time to your partners while rolling about what they need to do. Just go with the flow and avoid confusion.
  9. when rolling with girls be respectful. You are not trying to beat them. Just learn from it being gentle. Do not try to overpower them. Additionally, some girls are very good and beat men regularly. It is shocking for a guy but learn from the experience, be grateful about it, do not think of it as humiliation but a case of an experienced girl doing to you a masterclass. Be ok with this reality of BJJ, some girls beat men.
  10. generally, match your strength with your partner if he/she is weaker. use technique, not strength (or weight!).
  11. as a beginner, do not be intense nor competitive, but playful. Do not deadlock. Do not ve all over the place pushing like crazy with lower or higher belts. It will create stigma against you. Be intense when your are more experienced and roll with your experienced peers. Not earlier in your journey. Be soft and playful instead.
  12. don’t let beating people go to your head. You are a white belt! Don’t forget it means nothing to be “Victorious” at white belt levels, avoid growing arrogance because of your little victories against fellow white belts or other belts. Confidence is good, but arrogance is not. Try to improve, not to win. Follow instructions, instead of “try to go the hardest”. Relax, do not kick from open guard, do not go crazy. Relax.
  13. against higher belts, you won’t have the number of techniques required to submit them, so do not spazz, do what you have been shown, try to survive, but relax. Do not try “too hard”. Match your partner’s intensity. See what they give you. Respect parity and hierarchy. Learn before wanting to win. Otherwise nobody will want to roll with you, specially higher belts, so you will be missing chances to learn.
  14. communicate injuries before rolling – so your partners know that you are in pain here or there. Be clear and make sure he understands.
  15. don’t be afraid of asking upper belts to roll with you, it’s a great opportunity to learn in a safe environment, they do better and will guide you through. SOME gyms keep the higher belts “separated” from the white belt crowd, if it is the case, respect that. Otherwise, it is fine to ask. If they decline is because they are tired or don’t know you enough, do not take it personally.
  16. Learn to say “no” to aggressive or dangerous partners, there’s no shame in declining a roll. And, also, on the flip side, learn to accept a “no” from someone else. Do not take it personally, they have powerful reasons to say it, just go to the next person and enjoy.
  17. The responsibility falls on the instructor, but he can miss some details – you are the security net and you have to learn to say “no” to a roll if you feel so.

Well, that’s it! I got 17 points while listening to the video instead of 15, but that makes 2 bonus points. I hope you like the post and here’s the video for you to enjoy.

Tap early, often, roll with proper people, and improve you BJJ in this unfinishing journey.

  • Ignacio