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#162321 - 06/29/05 09:52 PM Open Mat policy
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
A question for Instructors/ Coaches or students.

How do you or your instructor deal with people coming in wanting to "roll" with the instructor? BJJ in particular occasionally attracts new people who wish to "test" themselves.

How would you or your instructor handle the situation of a high school wrestler coming in wanting just to "spar" with the teacher?

We have an opoen mat policy. This means that win or lose & barring injury, the instructor (me) will roll with anyone coming through the door. Win or lose. I will not hide behind my students or my rank/position. If I canoot represent my rank by performance or skill and knowledge, I will take it off.
_________________________
www.brazilianjiujitsunaples.com

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#162322 - 06/29/05 10:43 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: Fletch1]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
While I have not been a MMA instructor (as I am still a nOOb to groundfighting), when I ran the (point-type) sparring class at my AKK scholl, I had an open mat policy there. I sparred everyone that came to the class, unless I ran out of time.

I do not believe in hiding behind anyone (or myself) inso far as sparring/rolling is concerned.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#162323 - 06/30/05 01:49 AM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: Fletch1]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Fletch,

Let me preface and say I am not a good grappler and hold no rank, I like grappling, but I don't do the tournament thing though everyone else that I am acquainted with, especially the younger practioners go for it. I am just there to learn and have only recently (8 months ago) joined a specific BJJ school, though I have practiced with some good grapplers for several years in a formal setting, but outside any sanctioning body or school for BJJ. This has been with fomer students of the Machados and in particular judo for the last couple of years, but with a focus of the ground game in the BJJ format (my judo instrcutor won the heavy weight BB Pan Am BJJ games held at Domiquez Hills a couple of years back).

Becuase of the area I am in, within about a 5 mile radius you have Gracie, Machado, Quaique (probably spelled wrong), Aloisio Silva and two or three other BJJ schools that I know of.

Most of which I have visited to see which one I would join to further my understanding of this art (and find out which ones I could afford). Now having visited, watched, and finally joined a BJJ school, I have seen a few things as it relates to open mat policy:

One, usually things are very cool with newcomers, but the Brazillians are suspicions of plants and the casual practioner that passes from school to school to pick up certain "specialties" so that they are better prepared for tournaments.

The open mat generally means that if a new guy comes in and practices he generally has to go through the higher belts (meaning see how well he fares against the purples and browns) before being allowed to get on the floor with a BB.

Usually, its the goofballs that really want to test their mettle, especially if no one has ever seen them before. The very good practioners from different schools are already known by the tournaments they have entered and so would be beat down quickly without showing much of the strategies that are taught, if that is all they wanted for evening's waste of time.

The BBs and istructors usually watch how the new guys roll and then allow themselves into the field of play. However, in my limited experience, I have never seen one of the new dudes tap a BB.

Now to get to your situation....sorry for the long ramble. The open mat, in my opinion, if you are assured of the integrity of the individual, (and this is crosses all MAs borders) is usually a good thing and indicative of a good school that isn't afraid of "losing face." Which means, if a guy really wants to learn, like myself for instance, he wants to learn either something new or from someone he knows is much better than himself.

The first is easy to figure out, the latter can only be determined by watching, joining, and sparring. If the new person comes in with an attitude of wanting to learn and is not overtly agressive...just exploring techinque, great. You Fletch are doing exactly what you should do.

On the other hand, no matter how good or awful a technician a individual is, if he comes to your school to be beligerantly forceful. Now you have a problem. A problem with attitude, a problem with how this individual will deal with lower level students, a problem with potential injuries.

The same goes with how you may be teased into a situation where you want to do harm instead of just getting a superior postion. To hold a lock a little tighter and a little longer than maybe you would otherwise.

I don't know how to handle the latter situation. The old timers in the knock down karate of the early 70s and the likes of the Gracies in the 80s, would just kick the guy's ass and leave him outside. Just can't do that anymore in a law abiding society, despite wanting to.

Again, if you are assured of why a student wants to roll, go for it. Just make sure it's not for the wrong reasons.

-B

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#162324 - 06/30/05 05:34 AM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: butterfly]
MAGr Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 1147
Loc: London, home: Athens
We are not a grappling school but we have had people come and challenge the teacher.
For some reason we always get some beefed up whacko from a gym burst in the middle of class and challenge the teacher. My teacher, under those circustance declines. The guy charges at my teacher, my teacher puts him on the floor with as little damage as possible and then kicks him out.

This has happened a few times, some of them leave after being told to and other leave the hard way. But we have never had someone friendly wishing to exchange ideas.
Our teacher spars with us and that shows to me that he doesnt care about losing face and I know him as a friend as well and I know that he is not like that, but as to spar some random who wants to challenge him?

Hey, we are filming the sparring today and it will be posted on our website, I ll give you guys the link to check it out when its on there.

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#162325 - 06/30/05 07:17 AM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: MAGr]
JKogas Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
I took the approach that Fletch takes for several years. It always was fun, educational and always interesting. Then I got injured once (shoulder) during one of these Ďrollsí accidentally (hey, things happen). This injury took a LONG time to heal and isn't still fully 100% (me being 40 now, things just take a lot longer to get back where they used to be).

Also during that time, I lost several newer students. Obviously their thinking was, "if Heís going to roll with every whack job with an ego problem that comes in the door, he'll probably want ME to as well...Ē And I DID have some whack jobs to pass through gentlemen, let me TELL you.

For two years after I opened my doors, thatís how I ran the place. All I managed to keep were to tougher guys. Later on after everyone else quit and ended up down at Changís Tae Kwon Do, all weíd do was ďgo at itĒ. ALL attributes, full speed ahead. And everyone else that wasn't built like Superman or that had his attributes, ended up enrolling at Changís (fictitious name there folks) with the REST of them, lol.

The guys I DID manage to keep weren't the types that needed martial arts training ANYWAY! Most of them were wrestlers straight out of high school or college.

And for two years, we kept away everyone else away. People were too afraid to join my gym, often thinking that we viewed them as "fresh meat". Some of the guys in there probably DID think that way. Honestly, I think thatís a wrong approach, at least in my opinion.

I started thinking that maybe I should re-examine my approach. Maybe I should tone things down a little. Create a separate session for rolling/sparring so that when the nutcases DID want to come by, I could accommodate them at a scheduled time. That seemed to work a little better.

Shortly afterward, more people began coming into the gym. More importantly, they began staying. Now I have more partners, consistently, with which to train.

I think it's important to roll. I also think it's important to train smart. Letting everyone into your gym for a "test go" doesn't always mean smart training. Thatís because itís nothing but a pure contest. IMO, thatís what your established partners and competitions are for.

Personally I donít mind rolling with anyone. I look for as many opportunities to do this as I can. I look for people who will challenge me because thatís the surest path to growth as a fighter and as a person on an emotional level as well. Iíve done it and won, lost or took a draw on MANY occasions. Itís fun too, if your ego is in the right place. Getting your butt kicked for years (as happens in jiu-jitsu training) will generally diminish that ego. But, giving people the idea that you just let everyone into your gym to roll willy-nilly, doesnít always create the environment that is conducive to good training. This is something I wrestle with this all the TIME!

Finding that balanceÖthatís the hard part. Challenging yourself is important. Staying safe from idiots who enjoy putting the HURT on people is fairly important as well. One big injury for me was enough for a bit thank you.

Where do you draw the lineÖ.



-John

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#162326 - 06/30/05 11:54 AM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: JKogas]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
Good post John and there is the next question.

"Where do you draw the line?"

Although I will train with anyone, I will check my ego at the door the same as I require of my students. If I get caught or crushed, I move on. If someone is that good and wants to train with ME, I see no point in avoiding it unless have an injury I think will be aggravated.

Being a stout 6'00" 175 lbs, I try to always train deemphasizing attributes anyway.
_________________________
www.brazilianjiujitsunaples.com

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#162327 - 06/30/05 12:11 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: Fletch1]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I agree with Fletch. Barring injury or evil intent on the part of the other person, I see no reason not to.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#162328 - 06/30/05 12:40 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: Fletch1]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Don't you guys worry about liability insurance. Some guy challenges you to roll in your dojo and you just accept any hobo that walks in, the open mat policy? G'me a break, you guys are not that nieve to the laws of our modern day sue happy society are you? It would only take one guy to scream bloody murder or dislocate a shoulder and you would be out of business. You might be great fighters but your not thinking. If they joined up and signed the proper waivers and so on that's a different story.
_________________________
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#162329 - 06/30/05 01:23 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: schanne]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
schanne,

You read too much into it.

I am not talking about someone barging in and making a dojo challenge. I am talking about someone who visits as a student and wants to roll with the instructor.

I run my class in a professional manner and I don't train thugs. Anyone who steps on our mat is required first to sign a liabilty waiver. They are also advised, if they do not already know, that our facility is a school and not a boxing ring or octagon. If they are not receptive to that fact, they are given directions to the door.

I know the Gracies made this "challenge" thing very popular and unfortunately it is identified with all BJJ schools now. That is not what we nor 99% of other BJJ schools do.
_________________________
www.brazilianjiujitsunaples.com

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#162330 - 06/30/05 01:39 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: Fletch1]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
Back in the old days there was a lot of open challange unwritten policy only thing was that it was bare fisted and taken very seriously. My Instructor and I as a Senior student and as a Instructor defended the honor of the school. Sometimes against rival MA teachers and students and sometimes against street ruffins that just thought they were tough enough. Usually a pretty bloody affair very short and viciuous because even though it was accepted it was always thought disrespectful. Some of the streetfighters knew they had bitten off too much, when their insteps were stompped and while they were hopping on one leg they were hit, swept and stomped, KO'd all while trying to say I give up. If they got that out it was stopped.

One time a teacher and his assistant Instructor that were in the military fresh back from Asia, Came by and challenged my Instructor for the school, I ended up sparring this Instructor and one of our Brown belts sparred his assistance. They had to be dragged off the mat floor, I had to stop the Brown belts assault on the Asian Black belt, because my Instructor was enjoying the bloody beating.
The Instructor apologized and joining our school.

Through this I learned never to challange a School or Instructor, especially while his class was in session. Only after meeting and there is a understanding between each other should skills be tested. Other then that its a fight for honor which can mean blood shed.

My Instructor would say, as it was in ancient times, if you challange a schools instructor, you have to fight with his choice of weapons. If his was the Katana or Kama and you bought in the Bo. Someone of sh%^ out of luck!

In grappling theres time to tap out, so its less vicious. But do you concern yourself with size in rolling with anyone that walks in.
_________________________
DBAckerson

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#162331 - 06/30/05 02:01 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: Fletch1]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Fletch and JKogas,

I don't want to subvert the thread but this touches on all MAs and is connected to your point about "drawing the line."

At my age, 40 this year, with a nod to John, I have the same problem with injuries and not wanting more of them.

I am basically a standup guy, and the style of karate that I practice emphasizes a lot of impact. Much more than some I was acquainted with...so we had several former boxers and two guys who had studied Muay Thai stay with us for several years.

However, this brought up two things: I have been sent to the hospital twice through sparring; I have accidentally sent two other people to the hospital. We have less liability issues concerning injuries since most students are Japanese and just don't sue...but I am concerned with the situation. Injuries shouldn't happen and should be reduced as much as possible.

I know of at least three incidents that have lead to surgery after the fact...including my own.

I have also known potential students to join up and leave after one class noting the structure of actually having to hit and receive hits in practice.

I have now tried to change how I would organize some of these practices to reduce potential injuries as John has noted.

However, if one considers MAs universal, then where do you draw the line on teaching someone who may need or want instruction, but just isn't mentally prepared for the physical side? Do you send that person way or try to help them?

Are MAs then universal? The sporting elements of BJJ, Judo, Boxing, and Muay Thai have some tremenous advantages on teaching timing and entrance into ranges because of competition and the actual use of techniques against resisting opponents.

However, what if someone wants to learn, but not to the same extent? And because of the competitive nature of these arts, not everyone, despite the same education, will be able to do the techniques as well as the top level atheletes. In other words, there will always be a loser...how do you accomodate the weak link? And improve his ability?

This is also, I think, part of the line.

Warmest regards,

-B

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#162332 - 06/30/05 02:12 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: Neko456]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Yeah sometimes you do have people that stop by and like to create a scene, most of them have usually been drinking or worse. In the last ten years I think we only had to escort two people out. I'll tell you something, it takes big ones or a person is half crazy to walk in a karate school and challenge someone, think about that.
_________________________
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#162333 - 06/30/05 04:58 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: schanne]
JKogas Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Actually I've had some great experiences rolling with guys. Normally it's been wrestlers and, I've always jumped at the chance to do that. Without a doubt it has helped my game EXTREMELY! Going against those guys has done more for my game (no gi) than anything else.

I should clarify myself a little to say that, "going all out" meant a roll of two-three minutes per with anyone that wanted to. I never "made" anyone roll that DIDN'T want to and it was all done (as it continues to be) in a professional manner.

-John

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#162334 - 07/01/05 01:21 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: JKogas]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I've had wrestler want to compare and roll as you say after class but not during class people are paying dues to be taught not watch the teacher learn something new or submit a stranger.

In the wrestling matches I'll wrestle them I'll show the difference they feel comfortable in the near pin, until you show them that they can be submitted from the botton, with one of your shoulders touchng the mat. Their sensitivity, balance and power is awesome, but their mind set to ride and control and pin makes them 1 tracked.

Learning in or outside the class is exciting. But it should not be a challenge match.


Edited by Neko456 (07/01/05 01:22 PM)
_________________________
DBAckerson

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#162335 - 07/01/05 02:19 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: JKogas]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Jkogas, good post and just wanted to ask you, do you find that most of your top grappling fighters at your dojo that have wrestled in school have a clear advantage over the regular Joe that is virgin to wrestling? I can tell soon as they hit the mat for their first class. If you have been wrestling for years it only take a little while to teach these guys how to change their mind set from the pin to submission style grappling. So if it means anything to you guys that want to get into grappling but are still in school take up wrestling to form a good grappling/jujitsu base...just my opinion.
_________________________
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#162336 - 07/01/05 02:50 PM Re: Open Mat policy [Re: schanne]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Schanne,

I think you are right. The buddy of mine who introduced me to my current BJJ dojo was a heavy weight high school wrestler and was one of the top guys on his squad. I believe he 21 now.

When he joined BJJ, the dude went from blue to purple in less than a year and won, I think three first places in the local BJJ tournaments at blue belt, at that time. The guy's spider guard is amazing. 2 and 1/2 years to purple is really, really good.

-B

-B

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