New Guy (Newbies) Instructors

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I have been wrestling with posting this for a while, but I am finally fed up. I know that you should leave your “ego at the door” when practicing BJJ, but what’s up with new guys who have never ever taken Jiu-jitsu before or only a week or two always trying to instruct more veteran guys in technique.

Last night I witnessed a new guy try to tell our instructor how to perform an armbar and he was dead wrong (in so many ways). This is after I told him where his arm placement should be. After he was corrected he then tried to instruct me on what I was doing wrong. I had to tell him why I was performing it that way. But I shouldn’t have to tell him. New guys should be sponges and seek instruction. If they don’t want to learn they should open up their own schools.

This isn’t the first time I have suffered through this. Sometimes when you pair up with a new guy to drill technique he acts so confidently that you may assume that he is a vet. Then you ask him how long he has been practicing and the answer is, “Oh, this is my first day.” Just about every time (if not 100%) I tap these guys out in a sparring session that same class and then they finally start asking questions as opposed to trying to give direction.

I don’t know why I am so preturbed about this, but it is irritating. Have any of you guys had the same problem and if so how do you deal with it?

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on!


9 thoughts on “New Guy (Newbies) Instructors

    slideyfoot said:
    September 12, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Personally, I think you can learn from anyone. I’ve learned useful things from white belts, though as I’m only a noobie blue myself, possibly not the best example.

    If somebody is giving advice that you know for a fact is bad, smile and nod, then show them the right way when they’re trying to resist (e.g., in sparring, like you mention above). Present them with the evidence and hopefully they’ll see the error of their ways.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    September 12, 2008 at 7:39 am

    I tend to agree with you Slidey and I by no means consider myself above instruction. I think because I tend to listen to the more experienced guys more than I talk (you can’t tell from the blog) I expect others to do the same.

    I’m cool, but I needed to vent…..

    Brian said:
    September 12, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Agreed. You can learn even from a new guy especially from the feedback they can provide on if the choke , lock is tight, etc.

    Know it alls are annoying, but I have a bigger problem with meatheads that think they’re tough, and they try to HeMan you.

    Mike O. said:
    September 12, 2008 at 10:00 am

    I’m a newbie myself. I’m one of those sponges, not just in jiu-jitsu but in everything I do. I don’t think people who aren’t experienced in whatever it is should try and take it over, such as you’re describing. It just doesn’t seem right to me…not natural order…or whatever heh I definitely understand your frustration.

    Jiujitsu365 said:
    September 12, 2008 at 12:46 pm


    I think the guys you describe act more out of the fear of being submitted, dominated or the unknown more than anything else. It would be sad if they were just being bullies.

    Jiujitsu365 said:
    September 12, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks Mike O,

    And no offense to anyone out there just starting out. Being new in BJJ can be intimidating.

    Bart said:
    September 22, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Maybe part of it is that when you’re new you don’t know what you don’t know. I lot of guys just like to talk and feel like they have something to add, even though they don’t. They just are oblivious what’s out there.

    365 – I agree.

    Jujitsu can be pretty brutal on the ego – people who start grappling from a very strong striking/karate background could have been good enough in their art to instruct but are mere children in BJJ.

    Plus, when you’re new, you can get tapped out 20x a night by physically weaker opponents who don’t even look like they’re sweating.

    This is just another mental challenge that beginners must face. We’ve all got our demons, I guess.

    Christopher Story said:
    October 19, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    As an instructor I have had this experience. Every so often you will have someone who will try to teach you or instruct themselves. As an instructor the best thing to do is set the tone when you roll with them.

    Beat the person a bunch of times so they know who the instructor is and who the student is, usually that will solve it quickly.

    As men we have the natural ego of we know how to do it. Adults are harder to teach because unlike kids we have preconceived ideas of how things work (more opinions).
    This takes patience with the students and is not a bad thing because they are engaging in the activity instead of being standoffish.

    At the same token no man is so good that he can not learn anything form someone else. I try to learn something form everyone.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    October 21, 2008 at 7:56 am


    I agree.

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