Don’t be “that guy/girl” who always hurts people at your BJJ academy

Kroyler’s Pro-Tip on being “that guy” in the gym

So, Pauline and Kipper-doodles asked me to discuss the “that guy” …You know “that guy” the one that injures his training partners and blames his training partners for it.  We’ll be grouping them into 2 different categories although they could be striated much further…

Let's find a better term for “that guy”, for the remainder of this pro-tip well refer to them as Mr. Asshat and Mr. Bag-of-Dicks.  Although keep in mind these can also be Mrs. Asshat and Mrs. Bag-of-Dicks.

So first and foremost, let's just get it out there that Jiu-Jitsu is a combat martial art designed to deal with real life threats. With any combat martial art or sport injuries will happen, bumps, bruises and etc. are to be expected. So, this is not about that. Furthermore, this isn’t about the random freak accident that comes with the territory regardless of how damaging it may be. Freak accidents will always happen, you can slip and fall in your own bathroom and hurt yourself. No one can account for that.

Second, I want everyone to understand that your training partners are the single most important asset you have in your jiu-jitsu journey and its better to take care of them or your path will be much more difficult.

So, let's go into the 2 types of idiots we are discussing here, this is clearly not an extensive list:

1.Mr./Mrs.Bag-of-Dicks: This is the person who comes to train with the belief system that if they can make their training partners quit, ask for a break, that they are progressing and improving. Somehow signifying that they are better or that they are getting technically superior.

a.Again, the goal of jiu-jitsu is to find the most efficient way to cripple or strangle your opponent. But what we are talking about here is not the person technically submitting their training partner. This person is the person that likes to grind their elbow on their partners face, likes to yank on fingers, will face-choke, etc. etc. Meaning this is the person that is willing to forego proper techniqueand regard for their partners well-beingfor the sake of a single tap.

b.Mr./Mrs.Bag-of-Dicks generally will be mat bullies, meaning they will only roll or train with people that they can beat while avoiding everyone else. They are generally the people that say they are hurt and that we should roll light and then attack you like a bat out of hell, moreover, as soon as you get an edge on them they’ll claim they are hurt and need a break. Sometimes they even complain that you hurt them and their injured appendage. These are the guys that think they are the bad-assess of the school, but no one else really feels they are, they just feel he’s a special kind of asshole.

c.They are the people avoiding the tougher rolls not because they are afraid of being hurt but rather afraid of losing, afraid of seeming less than, afraid of having his self-delusion shattered.

d.Additionally, there is an even more special version of this individual the Mr./Mrs. Bag-of-Yeti-Dicks. These individuals are the ones that brag about beating on people that know less than them. The same few people that they only train with. The few people they are 100% sure they can beat on.  Meaning on top of being a liability they have a shitty personality on top of it.

e.This behavior will ultimately cause injuries to happen because as far as they are concerned its your problem to protect yourself and if you don’t like it then quit. If you aren’t going to quit “man-up”.  But the hypocrisy is crazy considering they avoid rolling with tougher rolls or people that can beat them.

f.Don’t ever be Mr./Mrs. Bag-of-Dicks or any variety of it.

2.Mr./Mrs. Asshat: This is the person who comes to train and may have no ill-intent towards his partners or may not feel as if its their partner’s problem like Mr./Mrs. Bag-of-Dicks. They may be the person that hurts others without meaning to. Who may even feel a little shred of guilt, but not enough to change their ways as they assume every incident is an accident and they fail to see the common trend here that they themselves may be the problem.

a.This is the person that may inadvertently hurt people with noill-intent behind the act.  Meaning they are so caught up in the moment and in succeeding that they neglect their partners well-being.

b.Mr./Mrs. Asshat may be great people with great personalities before and outside of class. Some may even have great personalities during training up until its time to roll. At which point their persona changes and they are completely unaware of that fact. They become so enticed with winning and the objective that they don’t realize that how they are rolling could potentially threaten their partners health and well-being. This too, much like Mr./Mrs. Bag-of-dicks, is fueled with the need to win, the difference is awareness of how it’s affecting them.

c.These are the people that look for the easier rolls or the people they could scalp. Meaning a Mr. Asshat blue belt may avoid rolling with other blues and roll with only white and browns. Because losing to browns its not a problem, since they are supposed to be better, and if they win they have that win over a brown belt under their belt. And they roll with white belts because it makes them feel good.

d.Additionally, there’s a special kindof asshat that is Mr./Mrs. Dirty-Asshat. That is the person that will take the easier rolls and smash them, and they’ll use excuses to avoid the tougher rolls without any shame. Much further they behave this way while remaining completely unaware of their behavior.

e.This behavior causes injuries to happen all the time because they are just completely unaware that they are the problem and that they roll with a complete disregard of their training partners well-being.

Now this is not an extensive list and there are several kinds of complete reckless morons.  Also, both Mr./Mrs. Asshat and Mr./Mrs. Bag-of-Dicks are spectrums not defined set points.  Meaning you can be a little bit of a Mr.Asshat and you could become a much larger Mr. Asshat, or you could be a Mrs. Bag-of-Dicks and evolve into a much less Mrs. Bag-of-Dicks and into a decent human being.

Let’s step back for a second and touch on the subject of the real problem with Mr. Asshat and Mr. Bag-of-Dicks:

1.They may or may not be aware of what they are doing. And if they are aware they may not care. This is a problem because if they are aware and don’t care, or if they are not aware, they won’t change their behavior. This will cause the number of injuries to rise and/or cause a rift between students as they may no longer train with them because they have now become liabilities.

2.On an instructors/owners standpoint it becomes tough because they are liabilities to the business now. This isself-explanatory.

3.On a school/dojo/academy this creates a big issue, because that liability needs to be dealt with, because as cliché as it may be, one rotten apple spoils the bunch. There are often ways to deal with the problem cleanly where the entire pack continues to move forward together. But more commonly and depending on how far into the spectrum of Mr. Asshat and Mr. Bag-of-Dicks more often than not by the time they are dealt with several parties have been affected and the pack will undoubtedly lose 1 if not more members. 1 is a guarantee as the liability may need to be kicked out, and others may leave as they may have been hurt by them and can’t train or the liability may have ruined jiu-jitsu for them.

4.There are more reasons, but these are the big ones.

Now let’s go back to discussing them…

So, if it’s a spectrum and people can move further into and further out of that spectrum, the big question is how should we deal with them?

1.First its important to understand the root of the behavior.  This list is also not extensive and there are many more ways one can be a fucktard. Also keep in mind more often than not there are more than a single reason to explain behavior.

a.Is it someone that is a bigot, they think man are superior to women, and their training reflects that.  Why could that be? Is it something that they truly believe in, or is it something that they want to believe because it feeds their ego?

b.Is itsomeone is simply plainly a bully, they just enjoy beating on people that can’t defend themselves.  Is that because they grew up in a poor environment? Or is it that they don’t give a fuck and they feel they pay for combat training and anyone that can’t hash it should quit?

c.Is it someone who is completely unware of their behavior or doesn’t understand their size and strength and how it affects others?

d.Is it someone who is so focused on winning that in the heat of the moment forgets to care for their training partner?

2.Now even if you identify the issue it must be remembered that knowing the reason does not exonerate them and their behavior. There are reasons and not excuse for piss poor knowledge.

3.So then why is it important to identify the issue? Because how you go about fixing the issue is very heavily dependent on the root problem.

a.Example (these are real examplesthat I have come across): Same issue 2 different people

i.Issue:2 Newcomers are overly aggressive and are training in a way that is reckless and putting others at risk.

ii.Root of the problem:

1.Newcomer A: Is completely unaware of how he is training and how its affecting others, he simply has always practiced sports in this manner.

2.Newcomer B: behaves that way on purpose because his gigantic ego doesn’t want to believe he sucks at a sport that is unlike anything he has ever done before. Losing means he’s somehow less.

iii.How I dealt with them:

1.Newcomer A: I approached him several times and explained that I had noticed he was rolling too aggressively and because he was a more explosive bigger guy that was putting others at risk. I asked him to slow down. He said sorry and then we moved forward. Later he continued to behave the same way.  So, I talked to him again and once again he apologized.  However, he failed to understand his aggression as for him he wasn’t being aggressive.  So, I rolled with him and I showed him how he was making others feel. I asked him how fun that was, he said it wasn’t. I said imagine if every time a certain person rolled with you they were always rolling like that? He said fuck that. I said that is exactly what you are doing. He eventually got it. And he became a purple belt under me and since then he still rolls hard but he isn’t careless and reckless, and he doesn’t jeopardize the well-being of his training partners.

2.Newcomer B: I approached him and told him its okay to lose, and that going harder won’t cause him to win it’ll only cause the higher belts to have to go harder too. And in that race, he would lose every time. I explained to him that whether he believed it or not that even the scrawny blue belts could beat him easily if they wanted to.  They were simply letting him try things. And that it was a dick move to try and crank hard on anything given to him or that he would hurt someone if he kept that up. He didn’t believe me, said whatever.  So, I took newcomer B, who was 6’+ and 250lbs+ muscular, and had him roll with one of my blue belts who was 5’6 and 150lbs. The blue belt rolled gently with him, while he tried to rampage his way through the roll, the blue belt eventually sunk a triangle on this big goon. The goon couldn’t get out and tapped. They rolled again and the goon was rolling even more aggressive.  So, the blue belt triangle him again, and the goon decided to try and stick his thumb in the blue belts eye. The blue belt choked him again. At which point I pulled Newcomer B and told him he wasn’t welcomed back.

iiii.Purpose of the example:

1.Same issue 2 different people, with 2 or more different root causes. 1 had an ego problem, 1 was just unaware.

2.One became a purple belt by understanding that he needs to take care of his training partners and grow alongside them, the other quit because losing to a lesser smaller man was earth shattering, and it justified that it’s better to put them at risk or try and hurt them than to grow alongside them.

4.Now, it’s imperative that we understand that sometimes someone people’s belief system is so engrained in them whether it’s: that losing makes you less, that women somehow are not as good as men (this one pisses me off), that people in the gym are punching bags for you, that being a mat bully makes you somehow better, or whatever-the-fuck-else is your pathetic excuse to behave like a fucking idiot and justifies being a liability to training partners. That sometimes that behavior simply can’t be corrected.

How do you know if you are that person? Askyour teammates or professor.

And if you are:

Don’tbe a fucktard, don’t be Mr. Bag-of-dicks, don’t be Mr. Asshat, don’t be a fucking idiot,or any combination of them.

Moral of the story:

Your training partners are exceptional resources to your jiu-jitsu journey. They are invaluable, and they are largely responsible for your growth. Putting them at risk makes you a liability to their health, their growth, their jiu-jitsu, and that is unacceptable. A good instructor/owner will not allow that to go on as it hurts their business, as it puts his livelihood at risk, and more importantly they shouldn’t allow for a person or people to jeopardize the well-being and the progress of his students. Respect everyone that shares the mats with you, if you can’t do that you shouldn’t be on the mats. 

Kip Dice