Ever wonder why rolling sessions seem to start from the knees? Well, there has to be many different reasons. Some that immediately come to mind are:
· Sign of respect
· Structurally more sturdy
· Everyone else does it
This list can go on and on. But should YOU start every roll from your knees?
If you are a beginning student, perhaps with zero judo or wrestling experience, then maybe starting from your knees is the better choice. Especially when on the mats at your club. For the first 3-6 months of BJJ training, fighting from your knees can be a really good thing. Let’s look at some of the positive examples in a little more detail.
First, moving around on the knees can help develop a solid base. Learning how to keep your butt closer to your heels takes time to understand and perform consistently. The farther your butt travels away from your heels when on your knees, the easier it becomes to sweep you over onto your back.
Next, starting from kneeling helps develop a beginning student’s Guard-play as well. Think about it. Kneeling in base provides you a solid structure while you try to obtain the preferred grips that you like to utilize. This can be a definite plus.
Finally, if you are new to the grappling world of martial arts, and have zero takedown experience, then starting a roll from your knees is gold. No worrying about someone shooting in on you, and executing a throw or takedown, thus putting you on your back with authority.
So when should you NOT start a roll from your knees. Well, this can be very speculative, and again have multiple factors to consider. However, generally speaking, once you have two or more stripes on your white belt, or definitely a blue belt or above, you need to start thinking much differently. Outside of bowing to your opponent, GET OFF OF YOUR KNEES!
There’s practically no situation you will encounter, where you will need to start fighting from a kneeling position. Okay, maybe if you are praying…meditating…talking to a child…peeping in a keyhole…or stretching out your quads, maybe then you’ll need to break out your Kneeling Jiu-Jitsu techniques. Maybe.
Seriously though, as you gain experience, start to “change it up, by getting up” (off both of your knees). Look to start from Combat Base, from Sitting Guard, from a deep squat, or by just standing up. The more experienced grappler should be working on developing a game plan. Hopefully, that game plan doesn’t begin by always fighting off of your knees.
Learn. Drill. Roll. TRANSFORM!