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Protecting Yourself During Sparring

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    Excellent idea! I will try it next class.



      because, after all, if you're on one knee... he can't kick you in the head.


        Originally posted by G8
        particularly in relation to your #1, but it applies to pretty much everything: fucking relax. unless you're in a formal competition, you're rolling to practice and improve skills, both yours and your partner's, not to "win." if you're constantly clenching your hands so hard that you're losing grip strength, you're way too tense, and it's probably not just your grip. slow down, breathe, lighten up a little, and think about working your game. most of the other problems you list are typical effects of noob spazzing; whether it's you or your partner, or both, whoever's doing it needs to relax, back the fuck off, and think a little.
        G8, I have a left side rib injury this time (big surpise, given this thread, eh?) and so I was limited to conditioning and some restricted drilling last night (I started going a second class a week and after this month will up it to 3 a week). So when the class shifted, in the last half hour, to "resistance drilling" (take the moves we've been drilling and fight them out) and free rolling, I was on the sidelines watching. Without the pressure of waiting for the next roll, and lacking the fuzziness that comes with being almost gassed, I learned a lot from just watching.

        The newer white belts were on one end of the mat, the more experience white belts together with blue belts and above were at the other end.

        Guess what? The newer white belts rolled harder, more aggressively, but mostly more tensely than the more experienced group. The more experienced group could certainly move fast through a transition when they needed to, but there was a lot less teeth gritting, heaving, and "wrassling." (BTW, the "newer" white belts certainly had some technique going as well, it wasn't just "first month" spazzing, it's just that the technique was buried under a lot of muscling and thrashing around.)

        So at the end of the day, your post may be the most perceptive and important on the this thread in terms of avoiding injuries. There are undoubtedly "defensive postures" and "protective positions" that can help, but the fundamental issue seems to be one you stated.

        Aesopian also has an interesting thread that approaches the issue of rolling speeds and attitudes from the other side - when do you need to be more aggressive. In that thread he talks about the difference between being too aggressive and not aggressive enough. But he also nuances "aggressive," it's not necessarily using more muscle and speed (if I understand correctly) its more a matter of taking the initiative instead of reacting. Sorry I don't have the link! One day this forum needs to have a better way of finding the good stuff....


          I've been experiencing an annoying repeat injury myself. Not sure if anyone else here experiences this or not, but almost every class - or at least once a week I tear the skin off the bottom of my big toes (happens to either foot now and then).

          It's not linked to a specific move or set of moves, but it usually occurs when I'm pivoting my feet on the mat for some reason.

          Anyone have any ideas how to stop this?



            tape your feet (or toes or whatever). there's a 3m nexcare brown stretchy self adhesive tape that works perfectly for securing (and preventing) blisters and such.


              Originally posted by pauli
              tape your feet (or toes or whatever). there's a 3m nexcare brown stretchy self adhesive tape that works perfectly for securing (and preventing) blisters and such.
              Yeah - I've tried taping before but I find that during randori the tape comes off - closely followed by the skin. It helps a bit, but it's definately not fool proof.... :(


                then you need better tape.


                  I am a whitebelt of almost 6 months training.

                  I really like the advices given in this thread. I have many small injuries atm. Some I know were my fault, some just happened, some were other people's fault, and some I can't remember how it happened or when.

                  I had my knee pop about 2 weeks ago ( second time it's happened since starting mma ). I used to have major issues with this knee before doing MA training. But now it seems to be showing itself again. Basically, I tried to buck someone who had mount, and my knee just popped. It felt totally messed up for a minute then it felt like it popped back by itself ( so I don't think it actually dislocated ). The next few days it was very sore just walking around the house and I wore my knee guard all day to give me some support.

                  Lately it feels like it's healing, but it definitely still feels weak compared to my other knee.

                  So, there is this guy in my class who started about a month ago. When I boxed with him, I didn't know he was new, I just said hey man how's it going and we sparred. He was very aggressive with his punching. Literally trying to take my head off, and if I hadn't been at this school for a few months he probably would have succeeded. Fortunately, he was easy to counter and easy to hit, so I basically gave him a bit of a pounding ( nothing too hectic, mind you ). This happens every time we pair up during a partner switch. He never chills out. I didn't say anything because I assume he will learn his lesson when everyone keeps dullering him in the head.

                  Then a couple lessons ago this guy comes up to me while I'm rolling with my friend, and asks me about my eating plan ( he is overweight, and I was overweight but am steadily dissapearing ). I said that I just eat whatever I want, which while true, is not really the best advice I could have given him. He said he's new, told me his name, and was very nice and friendly. I felt like I shouldn't be so hard on him when we spar and maybe he's an alright guy.

                  So, Tuesday's grappling class came, and we had to roll for 4 minutes X 2 ( 30 second break ) then switch partner, then another 4 x 2 with them. I went with 2 white belts who are much better than me. So I got very tired and gassed and squashed ( but let it be said that they were both very cool to roll with despite how they dominated me ). So I'm feeling pretty damn exhausted when I see that dude from sparring looking mega tired as well. So I said, "hey man, you look like I feel" with a smile and "do you wanna roll ?". He says cool and it's all seeming like it's gonna be a light one.

                  This guy proceeds to go seriously spazzy and giving it every bit of strength he has. I swept him and got side control and went for an armbar. I almost got it but he managed to get out at the last minute. I ended up in his side control, so I think, yea let me just relax and let him gas. So I play possum. Man, this guy tried with all his might to put on a keylock on my arm, which I imagine if he'd known how to do it properly he would have pulled my arm out it's socket. Then he passes to mount, so I figure, lemme work some mount escapes. So as I reach out for his knee to do a shrimp, he tries what I think was meant to be an Ezekiel Choke, but he basically just tried to sandwich my neck between his two forearms and just tries to jerk his arms tighter onto my throat ( on the front of my throat I might add ). So I grabbed his arm to stop the pressure on my throat and just held it away till he stopped trying to murder me ( which was some time ). At this point my friend says that our lift is on the way, so I just said I'm done and left.

                  Man, I didn't think it would mess with my head like it did. I know it's my ego getting the better of me, but all I could think of was how I wanna school this guy now. He could have hurt me, my knee almost popped again. How dare this guy ?? etc. This is how I felt until I woke up today.
                  Now I'm feeling much less of a aggro asshole. It's not my right or place to regulate this dude ( nor do I have the experience or understanding ). So, I'm gonna be nice to him, spar nice, roll nice, because I don't want to be that dick that injures people.

                  Anyways. Cool thread.


                    Originally posted by Alasaurus View Post
                    Or, how about rolling with newer, bigger folks, going from knees who just
                    charge and bowl you over. This sucks because sometimes I can't pull
                    guard fast enought and my knees stay bent under me as they roll me on
                    my back.

                    My right knee is a bit tricky after popping a few months ago. This of course
                    happens when I am allowing newer white belts try techniques, instead of
                    me trying to dominate. Ouch...
                    I had this problem when I first started. I adopted just sitting on my butt the moment the round started. So I'm on my knees, the coach starts the timer, and I plop on my butt with my legs in front of me.

                    Sure it's easier for them to pass, but who cares I'd rather work on escapes and sweeps anyway.


                      interesting thread. when i was a spazzy white belt, i wondered why i was so sore all the time. more precisely, i've wondered recently why i'm not sore anymore, even though i train 5-6 days a week. maybe i've gotten used to it, but realistically i was probably physically accustomed to the routine by 3 or 4 months, right? maybe. so yesterday i roll with a new white in our school. alas, he's a total spaz. like touching a live wire. in self defense, i totally maul him, trying to keep him from hurting me. 'sides that, he fucking pissed me off with his flying elbows and knees. it was that unpleasant. session ended when his ear ripped pretty good as he tried to slam his way out of a triangle. did he know why i beat him mercilessly? i doubt it. but now i really understand why others beat me mercilessly. and i used to think they were just bastards.

                      memo to spazzy white belts: higher belts will let you work and teach you stuff if you ask questions and remain calm. if you spaz, they won't like you. if they don't like you, it will hurt. and then they won't train with you, which will hurt most of all.


                        You could just tell them to chill out? It's just rolling/sparring, not the mundials/title match?


                          to be honest, i told the guy twice to relax and try to think his way out of trouble. i always let other people work when it's clear they're outmatched. but there was no way i was going to let this guy into a position to hurt me, and i sure wasn't gonna teach him anything. this is the first time i've ever just flogged someone. it was an enlightening moment.


                            Give these guys an inch and they take a mile. Just dominate him and explain non-stop how you will follow his aggression. If he rolls nice and cool - so will you. He'll eventually get the idea or get frustrated and quit.


                              As a recently enlightened white belt spazzer I have to say that patience from the higher ranking students has really helped me WAY more than being dominated by them. The ones who will say "let's focus on _____ today" really inspire me to work on that part of my game. I respect the fact that they've been in my position, have the experience to know what I need, and are willing to help me work on the holes in my game. game is mostly holes, but nevermind that.

                              But to be honest, it's not just us white belts who go all out. There are definitely some guys at all levels who just want to school new guys rather than teach/learn.

                              ...there's no need to dominate a guy who doesn't understand how to relax. Just don't roll with him. Or tell him "dude, I'll roll, but you have to relax the aggression or this will be the last time I work with you".

                              I mean why not take the opportunity to make the guy calmer and better instead of squashing him and making him (possibly) even MORE aggressive?


                                I've done this for many years now. I always take the "go easy" approach, but tell them I will follow their level. Usually that means domination cause most of them don't get it until later.

                                Most spazzers I've worked with eventually get it and slow down a bit - and then I match their speed.

                                The important thing is that I dominate to protact ME... I've had too many times where I've said "let's go light" to have them go all out and hurt / injure me but being a spaz. I'd rather protect myself by being a dick than injure myself by being nice.



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