Today, I am going to talk about a topic that is very common in every school, and that is how to ask the higher belts to train. Should you call out higher belts to train or not?

All schools are different, some schools have rules that lower belts can never ask the higher belts to train. At Marcelo’s academy and in my opinion, it’s okay for a lower belt to invite me to train. I think everyone should roll together, that’s jiu-jitsu.

Every time someone asks me to train, I try to roll with them. However, I do believe there are certain ways that lower belts should ask the higher belts to train. If a lower belt asks a higher belt to train politely and respectfully, then I don’t see a problem with that.

It’s also okay for a higher belt to decline the offer of a lower belt to roll, even if it’s a polite offer. For example, if I am training super hard for an upcoming tournament and a blue belt asks me to roll, then I might politely decline. I tell them that I am preparing for a tournament and I am trying to roll with black belts. I also tell them we will roll another day together.

I believe we don’t need to have a big ego and that everyone is the same. Of course, there are different belts but we all want to roll, train and have fun. So, I don’t see a problem if a lower belt asks me to train, it’s a pleasure to roll with them.

One thing that I don’t like, is when I feel the lower belt is kind of challenging me. Every day he says, “Let’s roll.” When that happens, I feel he isn’t inviting me to roll, but that he is trying to compete against me as if it were a tournament.

In this above example, I think it’s okay for the higher belt to tell the lower belt that I think you are being a little disrespectful. I’m a higher belt than you and I’ll call you when I want to roll with you.

At Marcelo’s academy in New York, there are visitors that come from all over the world. Many times, they ask me to roll with them. I feel like it’s a pleasure to train with them. They have traveled all the way to New York and I enjoy meeting and training with them.

So here is the breakdown on my tips on how to ask higher belts to train:

1.     Be polite and respectful of the fact that the person you are asking to roll has a higher belt.

2.     Don’t make it a challenge, it’s training, not a competition.

3.     If a higher belt declines your polite offer to train, then you should understand that there is probably a good reason behind the higher belt’s answer. Maybe the higher belt is preparing for a competition and wants to train with brown and black belts.

4.     If the higher belt gets mad because you invited him to roll politely, then it’s not your fault, it’s probably his fault.

I respect the rules at every school. I hope this tip helps you train more with the higher belts. Oss.

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