BJJ Pet Peeves

BJJ Pet Peeves

Training jiu-jitsu makes me happy, and generally being around jiu-jitsu people makes me happy. Of course, sometimes people do silly things, and jiu-jitsu people (present company included) are no exception. Over the years I have borne witness to and, unfortunately, done many such things, and, and when I thought about it, I was able to come up with a pretty long list. I offer them here, in a vaguely chronological order, such that the first ones are more characteristic of newer practitioners and the latter ones of more seasoned practitioners.

Of course, these are biased toward the things that give me pique, and I have a blind spot about what I do that is irritating, so if you have other ideas or pet peeves that I did not mention, post them to comments. I can start with one I am guilty of right now: self-righteousness. How many of these are you guilty of? Post your confessions to comments as well.

It is funny and sometimes annoying when jiu-jitsu people:
  • Wear a gi that doesn’t fit
  • Wear one color gi top and another color bottom to show they own multiple gis
  • Move so tensely they twang like a guitar string
  • Make it obvious they are training because they want to find a significant other
  • Tell the instructors how lucky they are because they “get to train all day”
  • Make an athlete page on Facebook
  • Ask everyone they know to like their athlete page on Facebook
  • Keep asking everyone they know to like their athlete page on Facebook
  • Call their stripes “degrees” (e.g., “I am a third-degree white belt”)
  • Say they “got” the move after drilling it five times
  • Get a tattoo of a jiu-jitsu saying, logo, or image as their gift to themselves for their 3-month training anniversary
  • Say “jits” in any context or for any reason, unless they are stopping others from doing so
  • Demonstrate that they have forgotten what it is like to be new by hesitating or complaining about having to help newer students
  • “Correct” someone else’s technique when they do not know it themselves
  • Discover the ego-inflating art of coaching their partner through a pass, sweep, or finish s/he was legitimately going to get, so they can make it look like they set it up as a learning aid
  • Refuse to move themselves and their partner out of the way of another pair, even though they are stationary and the pair they ran into are still scrambling—and even though everyone knows they know what’s up
  • Try to win the training, rather than try to learn
  • Look around to see who noticed when they hit a sweep or a finish
  • Display obvious disdain to people who do not do two-a-days after they themselves have been doing them for a whole month now
  • Believe they are the first ever to consider quitting the rest of life to focus on jiu-jitsu—and act accordingly
  • Believe the purity and intensity of their love for jiu-jitsu means they are absolved of their other life responsibilities—and act accordingly
  • Secretly wonder whether the injured guy is stalling about coming back; I mean, he had that major surgery two whole weeks ago.
  • Ask their instructor, during class, about a variation they saw on a YouTube video that “seems like it would work better”
  • Keep doing that, even after their instructor demonstrates the effectiveness of what s/he is showing and eats their lunch during live rolling
  • Take liberties, like somehow never being able to leave work in time to make the warmup, but always making it in time for training
  • Somehow manage to leave work in time to make the seminar with the big-name practitioner, when the seminar starts at the same time as all the classes they are chronically late to
  • Forget that newer students are people, not cannon fodder
  • Talk about how old they feel, especially to someone who is older than they are
  • Phone in their teaching/leadership
  • Take unfair advantage of the frequently poorly-delineated authority differential between upper and lower belts
  • Feel entitled to things that experience in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does not entitle them to
  • Emphasize to students and others the importance of leaving the ego at the door but fail to practice what they preach
  • Act like they are done learning
  • Fail to recognize that people train for myriad reasons and that there is no one-size-fits-all training regimen
  • Forget why they started training in the first place, to the point where they suck all the fun out of it for themselves and everyone else
What would you add to this list?
Valerie Worthington


Valerie Worthington

I’d say shadow boxing, bag work, basically any striking as a warm up for a bjj class. We all get it, you’re an MMA monster.

The “but that wouldn’t work on the street” person, particularly when you know that person’s most dangerous action in life was probably taking his/her own cart into the Whole Foods parking lot.

The person who rationalizes getting tapped with a litany of the current injuries that are obviously hindering their ability while at the same time reinforcing my poor telepathic abilities. Lucky me!

Fake Brazilian accents and idioms. Ossssssssssssssss!

Valerie Worthington

amazing list. My humble contribution:

Constantly reference that one time they tapped out a black belt, so they are basically ready for theirs.

Valerie Worthington

This literally made me laugh out loud. I’m guilty of the majority ?. My biggest pet peeve used to be when I was trying to work on a detail on a fundemental move and a white belt would begin to talk me through it assuming I didn’t know what I was doing ?. It doesn’t bother me anymore. Their intentions are usually good ?.

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