BJJ: Rolling With Men

11:22 AM Moo 0 Comments

A humorous response to a common question
"How do you roll with men who roll too rough?"
This is a question I've seen posted in nearly every Jiu Jitsu forum I have encountered. My response would be, the same way I roll against any other competitor that has a weight/strength advantage over me. There are men I roll much harder with and there are men who I know will require more technique. Men vastly outnumber women in Jiu Jitsu, so unless you are training in a women's only gym or at a women's seminar, most of the time men will be your partners.

There are many different types of men you will encounter. I've listed a memorable few whose acquaintance I've had the pleasure of making .

1. Conan the Barbarian
Every time you roll with this guy it's an all out war. He is hellbent on destruction and you are the target he needs to obliterate. Sometimes I find these guys refreshing, because I would like to think that in their minds this means I am an equal competitor. If I feel they are in danger of injuring me I'll stop the roll. Sometimes a friendly reminder that I am perfecting a "testicle submission" is all they need to chill out a bit on the mat.

2. Mr. Rogers the Encourager

This guy is lovely to roll with, encouraging and constantly letting you work and try different moves. They are always positive and overly cautious about coming off as an asshole on the mat.When you nail it, he'll probably be the first person to high five you. Some people hate this, but as long as it's coming from a good place I'm not bothered.

3. The Guy Who Just Can't With You....
Some men really do not enjoy rolling with women. When you two are called forward to roll  they release a huge sigh of distaste. I typically turn it up a bit on these guys, so they know it won't be an easy roll. Occasionally men will say their wives aren't comfortable with the idea of them rolling with women. While it is something I don't really understand, it is something I respect.

4. Napoleon Complex
Sometimes you will run into a guy who is smaller than most of the others in your group or gym. He may be used to being thrown around or manhandled a bit and when he sees you, you become the obvious target. I have never encountered this guy among any of my regular training partners, but when I visit others gyms to train I always seem to run into him and spend the majority of my time defending against wild arm bars,cranks and the impending concussion that his style lends itself to. It is life or death and he refuses to be bested by a woman!

5. The Guy Who Really Wants a Jiu Jitsu Girlfriend
I find these men hysterical and they can be spotted by the prevalence of their jokes about "being in your guard" or why women wearing sports bras is just so distracting and they can't focus. They sexualize Jiu Jitsu and while many women find them obnoxious I just cannot take them seriously. I like to remind them that they are no Tanquinho and I certainly am not Mackenzie Dern and they usually get the point.

6. The "Teacher" 
Unlike, Mr. Rogers these men don't have a sincere desire to teach you. If they feel you are getting to an advantageous position, they often stop the roll to "counsel" you about your technique or over correct for fear of being beaten by a woman. The men I have the pleasure of training with are genuinely wonderful teachers and not fussed about a woman getting the better of them.

There are plenty of men who don't fall into any of these categories who don't see gender as an obstacle when they roll.Again, I have the pleasure of training with some of the best men I've ever known of all shapes and sizes. The most important part is just finding a gym where you are respected and comfortable. Your training partners are invaluable. I know that I won't learn without them and won't improve without their help. These guys don't go easy on me but they also don't attempt to rip my arm out of the socket. It's a nice balance :)