One of the best traits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it offers an incredible platform to meet all kinds of new people. Just take a look around your gym. You’ll notice that no two people are alike, and that is true for their personality both on and off the mats. When it comes to training BJJ, people’s personalities tend to shine through their style. As such, there are countless types of Jiu-Jitsu players out there. Still, some of them are repeating all across the world, and every gym is likely to have a combination of them at any given time. Taking things further, I decided to group them according to the hierarchy of BJJ into students, instructors, and black belts. just for the fun of it.
BJJ Globetrotting is fun. In fact, it is one of the best possible things you can do to enjoy Jiu-JItsu to the fullest. Whether you’re going to camps, or simply traveling to different academies for training, you’ll end up meeting different types of Jiu-Jitsu players. They might not all suit your personality when it comes to hanging out (i doubt this) but you can certainly learn something from all of them. Recognizing them might even help you seek out the ones that are best suited for you. So, next time you’re training, be on the lookout for the most common types of Jiu_jitsu players out there.
Different Jiu-Jitsu Players And Their Defining Traits
There’s something extremely interesting about rolling with people you do not know. It is like a dialed down competition, for the most part. However, instead of just focusing on the roll itself, you might take things to a whole new different level. You can try and figure out what type of grappler you’re dealing with. This is not only fun, but it has an important lesson hidden inside. If you manage to clock your opponent at a tournament, identifying which type of Jiu-Jitsu players he falls under, you’ll gain an upper hand. This is not always easy to do, but it is not impossible.
As far as I am concerned, it is the variety of people in BJJ that makes the sport so interesting. Of course, this has lots to do with the fact that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu allows people to express themselves completely in their grappling style. In combination, this means you’ll hardly find people that roll the same, even if they’re trying to do the exact same things. That’s because even though they might follow a similar gameplan, they’re completely different types of Jiu-JItsu players.
In any given gym, at any given time you’ll see students, instructors, and black belts on the mats. Nowadays, instructors absolutely don’t have to be black belts, but they do make u pa different categories compared to people that are just students. In order to make things fun, I decided to categorize the different types of Jiu-Jitsu players in each of the three groups, instead of just talking overall personalities. This is based more or less on my personal experiences, but if you’d have any suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments.
Types Of Students
Let’s start off with the most common types of students you meet in an academy. In lieu of today’s “categorization,” students include everyone apart from black belts, excluding instructors. So, everyone white to brown that’s just coming in to train, try and figure out which one are you.
Just like the name suggests, what you see is what you get. this is the person that uses all of their strength (which they have an abundance of) in just about every possible exchange. In BJJ, these are often referred to as spazzers as well, because they tend to go hard and all tense up for a while. The keyword here is for a while because if you weather the storm, you can toy around with meatheads any way you want. They’re fun to be around, though, but not so much to be under.
The Tech Wizard
The one everyone would like to be, but can’t. There’s a physical prerequisite of those extremely technical people in every academy – size. If you take a look, you’ll notice that the smallest people, female or male, tend to have the crispest technical games. That’s down to the fact they simply have no choice. Of course, larger people can be highly skilled too, but if you want to learn technique at the highest level, try rolling with a girl or a smaller guy.
The YoutTube Know-It-All
One of the more modern types of Jiu-jitsu players out there. There are people that like to spend a lot more time searching techniques on YouTube, rather than learning on the mats. That said, Youtube is a great learning tool, when used wisely, the thing with YouTube grapplers is they think they have all the answers through some fancy new 46-second clip. You’ll notice them both trying to pull off stuff like that on people, or trying to teach the moves to others. Both rarely seem to work out for them.
Purple Belt Syndrome
Yeah, this is a category of its own. Purple belts tend to think they are done with learning, they know it all and they can go about things their own way, waiting to get promoted. As they’ll inevitably discover as they reach brown, there are loads more to learn. However, in the meantime, they’re the type of Jiu-jitsu players that will skip warm-ups, and even do their own thing during technique practice. It’s highly annoying to instructors and can be disruptive, but is the natural order of things. Still, plenty to learn from these types of students, because they do tend to watch BJJ matches more than anyone else.
The Hidden Superstar
This is a type of BJJ persona that I found through teaching Jiu-Jitsu. You might argue that they’re the same as people with great talent, but that’s not all. Certina people that walk in and get obsessed with BJJ just have something inside them that sets them apart. Instructors have to make sure they recognize these people as early as possible because with the correct guidance they can be the next big name in BJJ. They could even be at your gym now, and you have no idea. Wait a few years…
Types Of BJJ Instructors
Out of all the Jiu_Jitsu players out there, instructors have the most crucial role in the art. Their actions can literally make or break a grappler. That’s a huge responsibility to bear, particularly when the same rule applies for instructors – there are as many different types as there are different personalities. As a student, you must make sure you’re making the most out of your relationship with your instructor.
The Drill Sergeant
This is a type of instructor that likes to get things done. Class works pretty much like the military, with everything set to happen at an exact time. Not really a format BJJ people prefer, but still very effective. These are the instructors that won’t tolerate people being lat, want quiet during class, and like rolls to happen with a purpose. Just like their style, they’ll get things done, but there won’t be a lot of fun along the way.
Professional Gym Owner
This is the type of instructor that can be on one of two extremes. Either it is all about the students, the curriculum, classes, etc, or all about the business. If you’re lucky enough to run into the first type, you’ll get some of the best possible instructions on every possible subject. If it is the second one that’s in charge of your classes, you might want to really consider how that will work out long term. They both have knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu, that’s undeniable. However, the way they appraoch teaching couldn’t be more different.
The Laid Back Brazilian
These types of Jiu-Jitsu players do not actually have to be Brazilian. They’re just laid back as most Brazilians tend to be. With these types of instructors, everything seems to happen on a whim, without much pre-planning. But that’s just how things appear. People that are laid back tend to be able to convey much more knowledge than those who like to run a tight ship. having the chance to learn from one usually means you have a gold mine of grappling knowledge at your disposal. you just have to prod it a bit too from time to time to get things going.
The Thinker Monkey
Lately, there are many more of these coming out. These are the type of Jiu-Jitsu players that like to analyze things down to the most fundamental moments. Their style is all about trying to teach people how things work, rather than just show the steps for a leg lock. They’re usually fun to listen to, but do tend to talk way too much. if not for that, they’d probably be the type I’d like to learn from the most.
Type Of Black Belt Jiu-Jitsu Players
Finally, we reach the black belts. Rare beasts that are in a category of their own. All black belts are not instructors or teachers, though, which makes them different from everyone else. They also tend to have a personality influenced game, but can also be masters at masking it. Just like they do with everything else during rolling.
Black belt competitors are the creme of the crop, really. Particularly when they also teach in addition to competing at the highest levels. These types of Jiu-Jitsu players tend to be humble, always listen, will talk to anyone about anything and don’t mind rolling with everybody. In fact, they thrive in rolling, particularly competitive rolls. It might be hard for people like that to teach due to the amount of travel they do, but if you can catch them at a seminar or class, make sure you’re there!
Just like with every other belt, or every personality, for that matter, there are BJJ black belts out there that are not as quite big time as they think they are. Certainly, legit black belts, these types of Jiu-Jitsu players tend to overestimate themselves and can come off a bit stuck up. In certain situations, they might even have the right to be like that, but that is rare. While you can still learn a lot from black belts like this, interaction can be tough, particularly for lower belts.
The One-Team-For-Life Black Belt
These are the types of black belts that re die-hard members of a BJJ team or affiliation. For them, the team/affiliation comes before them, or anyone else. They’ll be trying to convey the team’s message far more than their own, and actually are the only type that doesn’t let their own personality shine through as much as it should. It is definitely impressive for someone to show such loyalty, but in an art as diverse and vast as BJJ, affiliations might just be more of a problem than an answer. Easy to recognize, always wearing the colors of their affiliation, as well as never acting/talking about of bound of the codex they represent.
Just A BJJ Black Belt
Finally, there are black belts out there that are just black belts. Plain and simple. They tend to have their own teaching and rolling style and are not really bothered by much. They might not complete, or even teach, but are on the mats as much as they can, doing what they do best. you’ll see them not really exposing themselves in any academy, abut always approachable for a roll or a chat. What a black belt should be all about, in my opinion.
As I said previously different types of JIu-Jitsu players thave to offer different things you can learn from them .regardlessif ti is a white belt student, purple belt instructor or a black belt, there’s always something to learn. And it is not just about the technical things or the taps. You can learn how different types of people behave when they roll or train and that will help you immensely in trying to figure out the never-ending puzzle that is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.