How hard do you spar?

This kind of goes along with the previous "hot head" thread.

I have been training BJJ for about 10 months. I just came across a guy in class I never saw before, and I asked him to spar. Real quickly I found him to be a very close match for me. He caught me first in an arm bar. I dislike tapping as much as the next guy, but if I get caught I tap. This guy ripped harder than anyone I have ever rolled with including upper belts. It was like his life depended on it. I am not a stranger to injury, and am honestly surprised my elbow didn't pop. It really got my attention, and I was able to redeem myself.

I wanted to say something to this guy about taking it easy on joints while sparring, but I felt like a pussy complaining. My question is, is it worth ripping tendons at the white belt level sparring in class? I understand competition is another story, but is there such a thing as too hard outside competition?

At my school, the general rule is "Hard for positioning, soft once you've got the sub".

Of course, it's tailored to the individual, but that's our general rule (ie if you don't say anything to me before the match, I'll feel free to grind while we roll, but if I catch a sub, I'll apply it very gradually till you tap).

It's not worth it, no. Some guys seem incapable of switching gears though, they have one speed. Full. I try not to roll with those guys.

It happens. We have drills at my school called Soft Work. It is basically mathcing each others speed, so you think about your options and try new things with good technique.

It never fails that as soon as you get into clinch range with newbies, it goes from light contact to "If your life depended on it ". It kind of defeats the purpose of the drill.

When this happens to me, I usually let out a yelp, and yell "Damn, my arm - oh crap! MAN, YOU'VE GOT NO CONTROL !!! . . . " Then, I walk off the mat and cradle my arm in my lap, sit there, grimace and rock back and forth, rubbing my are. If there's ice, I use it.

No one wants to hear that they have no control. Especially if your instructor teaches that an important part of technique is control. If your instructor is not teaching that, urge 'em to start . . .

If this doesn't work, see the post about the mentally ill in the "hot head" thread . . .

TRAIN AS YOU WOULD FIGHT IN COMPETITION!!! The general rule is if you get a submission on someone... do NOT crank it... get the position, get the sub, but then let go. But I think you should roll as hard you possibly can almost all the time. That's what gets you prepared for competition. Obviously this changes if your rolling against someone not as good as you or a lot smaller than you. This also changes if your partner agrees to have a nice easy roll.

A hurt training partner is no good to anyone , "don't roll with reckless people" royler

My rule of thumb is if they come hard at me, I go hard back. If and when I do get a submission, i crank just a little bit stronger, not more explosive so not to injure, but stronger so he knows what's up. Sometimes you just got to show the dude what's up.

If a guy is going too hard for safety, I don't mind telling him. I'll even get control and ride him a while just to weaken him and slow him down. I'm an old fart and I'm only in average shape. But, young guys repeatedly tell me I wear them out. I just go at my own speed and play control or defense letting the guy work as hard as he wants to. Then I'll take over when he's gassed.

The only time it is a big problem is with new guys who have wrestled, know a few leg locks, heel hooks, or neck cranks and are used to going balls to the wall. I'll be carefull with these types and be extra alert while getting control as soon as possible. When I sub them, I'll explain how I'm using control to avoid hurting them so they get the idea. If they get pissed, so what. Better to piss them off than to get hurt. These are the only times I have ever gotten real injuries; and, now I make the new guy show himself before I relax or loosen up.

I've been sleep walking lately through my training. Slow like a snake after he's already made the strike.

But after watching Marco Avellan, I'm gonna change this.

I spar pretty light. Even with big strong guys. Technical prescision is my main goal in BJJ.

In my gym, the NUMBER ONE principle is to avoid injuries. It comes before all else. And why the fuck not? If you think you can't do real Jiu Jitsu like that, think again. We spar hard sometimes, but were always careful. And we do have some tough motherf"#$ in our class, strong and athletic.

That's the right learning environment. You are blessed!