Passive Aggressive Behavior in Jiu-Jitsu
In a previous blog, we discussed the different types of personalities that we encounter on the mat. Along the same lines as dealing with different personalities on the mat, we also encounter different types of behavior. Since Jiu-Jitsu is such a close contact martial art, it is difficult to hide certain behaviors such as being passive aggressive.
The definition of passive aggressive is of or denoting a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.
In Jiu-Jitsu, passive aggressive behavior is easily identified in many different ways, but none more blatant than when a higher belt rolls with a lower belt and submits them as many times as they can in a round. Many higher belts will admit that they have done this before, some more than others; for reasons like they had a bad experience rolling with that person before and wanted to teach them a lesson… or saw that person going HAM with someone smaller during the roll before… or they were rubbing them the wrong way in their current roll. In any case, at some point in time we are all guilty of this.
While I know I’m speaking the obvious, the reason why I bring it up is because last week I was rolling with a brand new white belt. They had only been training for a few weeks and it had been their second no-gi class. Immediately at the beginning of the roll, I get pounced on. I was totally expecting this and it was fine until… they started trying to rear naked choke me. But since they couldn’t get my neck, they started jamming their fist into my chin. After about 30 seconds of this and fighting it off for the 5th time, I had to say something. Actually, in my mind, I knew I could have done one of two things at the time: say something or not say anything and just beat the crap out of this white belt to teach them a lesson. Most people I’ve seen would choose to do the latter (whether we admit it or not is a different story).
In any case, I told the white belt to stop because: 1) they weren’t choking me and 2) trying to jam their fist into my face was making me angry. We stopped the roll, reset, and then played nicely until the rest of the round after I reminded them to practice what they just drilled tonight. After class, the white belt came up to me and thanked me for saying something. I responded by saying that had I not said anything and responded out of anger, nothing would have been learned from that. Because even if I chose to respond out of anger, not everyone gets that they did something that someone else didn’t like, and basically got their ass handed to them because of that.
I’m not saying that people shouldn’t or don’t need to be ego checked once in awhile by this kind of behavior; however, for beginner and learning purposes, I believe that positively communicating with your training partners (the good and bad ones) is very important for improvement for BOTH partners. I can’t say this enough – communication is key! Not just in your relationships outside of the gym, but on the mat as well. Having positive communication rather than not (and acting out) will help set the tone for much better training for both you and your training partners in the future.