Sparring is an important part of any martial arts training.
It gives you an opportunity to practice your movements and apply what you have learned whilst also developing new skills in combat.
Each martial art has their own version of sparring.
If you are interested in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu then you might also be curious about what type of sparring they use, what it is called, and how it works.
If you are planning to start learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu then you will need to understand sparring.
We have put together this guide to tell you what you need to know. Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Sparring Called?
Sparring in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is called rolling. It is very intense and dynamic and forms a large part of the class structure.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu focuses very heavily on the practical application of the moves, as the only way to learn how to effectively grapple is to practice on an opponent.
When you first begin classes, rolling can seem very daunting.
You are likely to suffer some injuries and you might feel disheartened at how difficult it is.
This causes a lot of students to quit during the first six months.
If you persevere past the 6 month point you will begin to see a big improvement in your sparring skills and are more likely to continue with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as long term interest.
Why Is Sparring So Important In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Sparring is an important element of all martial arts training, but it is particularly important in Jiu Jitsu.
Grappling involves specific body placement which can differ depending on your opponent – you need to learn how to overpower someone else’s body and get them to the floor.
This is very difficult to practise on your own.
It is also very important because you need to learn how to turn someone’s strength and momentum into a weakness that you can use against them.
You also need to learn how to connect different movements together into fluid motions and active combat.
Sparring is not just for practice, it is also a learning opportunity.
It allows you to learn a lot about yourself as a fighter, and you can learn from the person you are rolling with by picking up on their tips and tricks and the way they choose to move their body.
Rolling helps to prepare you for real life situations where your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills could be useful.
Jiu Jitsu is one of the most effective martial arts to learn for self-defense, and there may be a time when those skills could save your life.
It will be much easier to apply those skills if you have sparring experience.
If you intend on getting into competitive Jiu Jistu then you will need to take part in regular sparring.
This gets you ready for a real fight and also allows you to learn the rules that are used in the official tournaments.
How Soon Should You Start Sparring?
There are different opinions when it comes to when you should start sparring.
Some teachers like to get students sparring straight away as it is the fastest way to learn.
It also shows them what to expect from the sport and stops them from building up too many nerves about sparring.
Other teachers think that students should spend a few lessons watching the sparring to get a better understanding of how it works before jumping straight in.
It also allows them to get to grips with some of the basic moves and feel more comfortable and confident in the class before they begin sparring.
Sparring can be dangerous, so doing it on your first lesson may be too soon.
If you are starting a Jiu Jitsu class then speak to your teacher about when they usually ask students to start sparring.
Discuss what you are comfortable with and see how you feel once you are in the class.
The classes should be challenging, but you should not be pressured into sparring if you are not ready.
Most teachers and coaches are very intuitive and know what is best for each student.
Some students will be keen to jump straight in and others prefer to take their time and learn at a slower pace.
Listen to the advice of your coach and the other students in the class, as they are all there to help and support you.
Above all, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a community.
Tips For Sparring
When you are ready to start sparring, there are some tips that you should consider to make the process smoother for you:
- Communication – It is best to tell your sparring partner that you have never rolled before. They may or may not go easy on you, but they will know that you are not experienced and that you may get some things wrong or find it overwhelming.
- Don’t put it off – Even if you are nervous about rolling, try not to put it off. You need to try it at some point, and waiting too long will make you more nervous.
- Expect to get hurt – Everyone gets hurt during rolling, it is part of the experience. You need to learn how to take defeat and how to handle pain. It teaches you resilience, so you know you get back up and try again.
- Learn from others – You have something to learn from everyone you roll with, even if they are less experienced than you. Each student is unique and will attempt things in their own way. Whether it is an inspiring attitude and perseverance or a new skill, pay attention to what you can learn from your fellow students as well as from your teacher
Sparring in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is called rolling, and it is a very important part of your training.
It might be overwhelming to begin with, but if you push through it then you will see big improvements in your skills.