In reality, sparring is not always about who is better or who is tougher. Sparring is a great way to learn and get better at BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU. Sparring is something many schools will offer from the start. However, some schools may make you learn a certain set of skills before you spar. Developmental skills programs are slowly becoming the trend; you may in fact choose a school that makes you take a beginner course before you engage in sparring. Sparring should always be at your instructor’s discretion.
Here is what an instructor wrote on a forum: “My approach, and the choice I was given, was to be ‘thrown into the fire’ from the beginning. What I mean by this is that I sparred with everyone, no matter what rank or level they were at. I enjoyed this approach because I am competitive by nature, but I understand it is not for everyone and it can be dangerous. Some may feel discouraged when getting tapped or beaten from the outset. Discouragement from the outset can be detrimental to a student and they may quit. This is a common mistake I made when I started teaching: I did not introduce BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU to people properly, and I did not explain it well enough to make them understand how difficult it was to just come in off the street and be good at it.”
Like anything else, it takes time and effort to develop your skills. No matter which approach you take or what approach is thrown upon you, do take sparring seriously because a lot of learning can take place during sparring if you are not just using thoughtless energy.
I also advise you to try something called “flow rolling.” Flow rolling is going about 50-70% while actually sparring. It is a smooth way to train without putting your ego on the line in terms of who submits whom or who dominates which positions.
Sparring is a time to learn, not always to compete. When you spar with the goal of increasing technical awareness, you will often learn more long-term, and that is the focus: to get better technically and to be more efficient for when you do have to go 100%. Don’t always overcompensate for your lack of technique by using strength. It happens; just make it happen less—your body will be thankful.
Again, I am not suggesting that being strong or athletic is inherently negative in sparring or for any aspect of BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU. In fact, it can obviously be a huge advantage. Anyone can get stronger, but to get better technically happens in BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU class and that takes a long time. Basically, you are learning BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU to learn BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU; many of the movements are not strength-based.
Come down to Arashi Do Edmonton North and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14. All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL! What are you waiting for? Call or text us at 780-220-5425 or email us at myackulic@ArashiDo.com