I have this sparring partner that always avoids me in the BJJ rolling class. He is my same grade (purple belt), and same weight. But is always avoiding me, I have confronted him before and it seems that he is worried I will hurt him... This is really not the case, as I roll normally with lighter partners, lower belts, and girls, and have not injured anyone. I feal like I want to spar with him as is of my same belt/weight/height, but the constant avoidance, like when I ask him to roll with me when is rolling time and he just says to my face, no I will not roll with you. Is getting me pissed off now.

I have asked him many times to roll with me and promised I will go light and respectful, but he acts very dismissing, to the point of being rude.

I want to know if I should ask my coach to intervene as I would like to measure my self against opponents with the same level, or just continue ignoring him.

I remember that once he got mad with me in some roll and looked for a fight, I just dismissed the situation, letting him know all was fine, and there was no reason to lose control.

  • Are you better than him? Do you tap him constantly and then have to let him work? Wondering if this could be an ego thing.
    – coinbird
    Apr 17, 2018 at 14:18
  • I agree with Sardathrion's answer. But I thought my answer at the following link might also be constructive (not that I think you're bullying anyone, just a tangential comment on "going light" vs. "powering through")... martialarts.stackexchange.com/questions/6001/… Apr 17, 2018 at 15:13
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    I refused a roll with someone today. She hurt me really badly previously and I just don't want to roll with her. She also said she'd go light, but I don't want that either. It's not about rolling light, but more that she lacks control, and going lightly still doesn't give me confidence that she will be controlled. But if she kept asking me to roll after I've told her I don't want to, it would become very weird. So my advice...don't be that guy. Leave him alone. Oct 4, 2023 at 21:39

2 Answers 2


♫ Let it go ♫

You talked to him several times, you made overtures, and still he refuses. There is no point in continuing to pester him into doing something he does not want to do. And that is okay. He does not have to train with you. It is his choice, a choice you should respect.

You could tell him that you will stop pestering him but if he ever wants to, you would be honoured to train with him. Then leave it at that.

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    Yes, let it go. There is someone in my class I do not wish to spar/train with, for a very good reason, and it would be very uncomfortable for him to keep asking me again and again. Apr 17, 2018 at 9:07
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    Definitely let it go. There was a guy in my class I asked him to "take it easy", he didn't, I felt ok after training but the next day I saw my elbow was injured. I dont particularly want to say anything to him, but I avoid him from that point on. It's my right to avoid someone. If youre on the receiving end of it, you most probably have done something at some point, so just accept it and move on. Apr 17, 2018 at 9:51
  • @vikingsteve It might even be that the sparring partner is worried about their own control, and projects it onto the OP. After all, the "same grade, same weight" and "I roll normally with lighter partners and lower belts" comments put in an implication of "I can be more forceful if I'm rolling with him", but rolling with people at lower grades/weights (or higher, for opposite reasons!) carries an automatic psychological consideration of "I need to be careful here" that makes them feel more in-check. Apr 17, 2018 at 15:15

I agree with Sardathrion, let it go. I will also add:

You probably don't want to train with this guy anyway. If he wants to go light all the time he's not going to make you better. You need to push it to the limit on a regular basis with people as good as, and better than you. You're a purple belt though, so you you already know this.

A lower belt with some spunk will help you improve your game more than a wimpy purple. Just remember not to constantly smash them. If you've already tapped them a couple times in a round, let them work their stuff for the rest of the time!

  • I'm not sure you meant this, but I just want to say that "going light" is not necessarily a bad thing. That just means not using your muscle to power through techniques. On the contrary, it can impede progress to try powering through stuff. I wrote about this here: martialarts.stackexchange.com/questions/6001/… Apr 17, 2018 at 15:11
  • @SteveWeigand I agree to an extent, but it really depends what your goals are. I train at an MMA gym, so many guys are often training for fights, submission grappling tournaments, or professional submission grappling events. You can't just waltz into a competition without having pushed yourself to the limit. I can always tell in a grappling tournament the guys that are not prepared for the intensity of a live match. They get absolutely man handled.
    – coinbird
    Apr 17, 2018 at 15:44
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    That is true. You still need to train with people who are adding power to their movements. No arguments here. There are benefits to both ways of training. Apr 18, 2018 at 18:29

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