Sparring with newer white belts is an activity that I mainly get to do on Friday nights. While new white belts do not generally pose a challenge for me in a technical sense, they are still worth wrestling, since their uncontrolled aggression and unpredictable way of moving is much closer to what you would experience in a typical self defense scenario. Trained grapplers move in certain predictable ways that can lull you into a false sense of comfort, once you become used to it, and start moving that way yourself. One white belt in particular was so new, he wasn’t even wearing a gi. As it turns out, this ended up being one of the most challenging matches of the evening, because he was so slippery from sweating. It was like trying to hold on to a fish. What made it even more difficult was that he could grab onto my gi, but I could not grab onto anything of comparable value. One match in particular reminded me of something I had realized a long time ago, which is that wrestling brand new white belts can be one of the most dangerous things you do in jiu jitsu. I was going kind of light against a pretty new white belt, when all of a sudden he decided it would be a good idea to try and violently throw my legs over my head to pass my guard. I can’t blame him for trying. I’m not that heavy, and it’s not that difficult for someone to lift me up bodily if they really want to. Anyways, I did a back roll and then reestablished my guard, but not before he flopped most of his weight onto my hip while it was at an awkward angle. My hip is still sore, but I don’t think I broke anything. Still, it was a reminder that I should always be extra cautious whenever I spar with a beginner that I don’t know.

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