Things you should know before you start sparring in BJJ

Sparring is considered one of the most fun things to do. Steaming off from a long day at the office and trying to apply the newly learned techniques. It can even be a creative search journey of developing and applying new techniques. “Thinking outside the box to trap somebody inside”.


However, to keep it enjoyable we will provide a safe and healthy environment during the training especially for those who are new to the sport. But, there are some things you can do in advance to emphasize the safe and enjoyable environment. 

1: Tell your partner it is your first time that you roll

Your first time you spar can be disorienting. We have all been there. First you forget the techniques you have learned a second ago, to find out that the other person is already applying some new fancy lock. The key is not to freak out and take it one step at a time. Therefore, it is important that your partner is aware you are just starting the amazing journey of jiu-jitsu, so he or she can help you.

2: Keep on moving

This is and always will be one of the hardest things to do, from white belt all the way to black and back.  If you are nerves before your first spar and feel like everything your instructor taught you has flown out the window, just relax! If you already told your partner, it is your first time and you are still unsure what to do, just keep on moving. If you guard is passed or your partner have manages some dominant position, do not just give up, bridge, shrimp, and get back on your knees until you have improved your position. The more you spar the more you will feel comfortable in being in uncomfortable positions. 

3: Be aware of your moving surrounding

When you are rolling for the time, it is natural to feel like you have no idea what to do. Because you are moving around so much, there is probably a good chance you will accidentally kick or elbow your opponent or maybe even someone else in the area. Before you start try to ensure that you and your partner are at a good distance from other students. Also, watch out for walls, they do not move at all!

4: Do not be scared to try something new

In contrary to what you may be led to believe, sparring is not a competition. It is a development process of you and your partners techniques applying in a some unpredictable situation. Sparring is the perfect time to explore new possibilities and techniques you have learned during classes. Make the most out of it, and enjoy the discovery of new possibilities.

5: Do not be scared off by some ones collar belt

Just because someone has a different collar around his waist, that does not mean you get totally folded up and put in an envelope size packets. The opposite is more likely to be true, higher belts will more often than not take it easier on white belts, especially if they know you are new to the sport. They all know what it is like to be unsure of someone else’s techniques and to be afraid to spar to an experienced partner. If a colored belt asks you to roll, do not hesitate and say yes! This is a great learning experience for the both of you.    

6: Ask questions after the roll

When you spar with a variety of partners, and we encourage you to do, it can be of great value to ask questions. You should reserve all your questions you have till after the roll. We all know that you have concerns when you lay in a triangle or some other uncomfortable position, but hold your question until after the roll, it is just 5 minutes long. Try to figure out how to get to a more comfortable or dominant position on your own, make mistakes! The best learning experience is by learning from mistakes and not asking in the middle of a roll how to move out of it. Beside, a minute or two spending on talking during the sparring is a pity because that is almost 50% of your time talking instead of learning.  If you really cannot hold on to your question, make it snappy!

7: Sparring = learning

First you should master the fundamentals before hop on to the advanced techniques. A strong foundations will help you improve by leaps and bounds. Throughout the years of experience on the highest level of competitions, we can tell you that it is of great comfort to fall back to the basics when got on in a dangerous position which can lose you the fight.


Therefore sparring is a great way to try adapting the newly learned techniques to your game. Do not start a roll feeling clueless about what you are doing – dig deep and remember what your instructor has taught you. Do not hesitate and second guess yourself. If you end up tapping out in less than a minute, that is totally normal. Acknowledge that you have probably to make another move to get out of that position. After 100 times of tapping from the same position and trying every escape there is, eventually you will stumble upon the right technique for the situation. Some might think that this is an ineffective way of developing your game. The contrary is true, every time you make a mistake you recognize the structure of the situation which give you the disadvantage in sparring. Which ends up in knowing what positions to avoid and what not to do. 

8: Do not wait for the other person to engage

Try to apply your own techniques and do not wait around until the other person goes to the position you are familiarized with. You will always be one step behind if you do, or more depending on your partner. If you see the position in which you know a technique sequence, well do it!


Another enjoyable experience is to stumble on a variety of different sparring styles. Everyone has their own weaknesses and strengths. Someone with long  legs will not be an easy job to pass, someone who is small is hard to get a grasp on because they can move through smaller spaces. Every partner can learn you there special movement to improve your owns. “every problem has a tons of solutions, you either see one or you have to create one”


Just because it is your first time to roll does not mean that you should not have a goal in mind. Try to use the earlier taught technique or try out your favorite submission (if you have one already). Work on getting out of uncomfortable situations and establish a mount or side-mount position. By setting small goals for yourself, you can encourage yourself to keep on rolling, which undoubtedly make you better at BJJ, trust me!


As we previously mentioned, sparring is not a competition. It is an extension of learning in class. Leave your ego outside the mats and embrace the learning experience. Don’t hurt your training partners and let go when they tap. Go easy on the little guys. Also, because you’re a beginner, the likelihood of you getting tapped out is quite high. Lose the ego and tap – you’ll end up hurting yourself if you don’t.


In our quest to become the best BJJ student we could be, making the decision to spar whenever we can is one way to improve and become more comfortable with BJJ. There’s no better opportunity than sparring to test your knowledge and improve your techniques. So tell us, are you ready to start sparring?



“let have some great experience, and join the family now”