Understanding the Different Types of BJJ training partners

As you progress throughout your BJJ career, you’ll come to find that training partners can be broken up into a few distinct categories:

BJJ training partners in Portland
  • The oldies
  • The aggressive rollers
  • The female grapplers
  • The “by-the-book” grapplers
  • The newbies


Let’s take a look at the distinct characteristics and qualities and each of the above types of training partners.


This category includes grapplers 50 years old and above who are simply trying to have fun and stay in shape. They generally aren’t too aggressive when they spar, and tend to socialize quite a bit before and after practice. If you’re someone who wants to practice at a faster pace then don’t pair up with an oldie during practice.

Aggressive Rollers

As their name might imply, these types of grapplers tend to go too far when sparring. Aggressive rollers generally don’t know how to draw the line between a real fight and a sparring match. Because of this, they pose a risk to people who are simply trying to learn.

Female Grapplers

Female grapplers aren’t quite as concentrated as men in most BJJ gyms. You might have one or two in your class at a time, but there’s something important to remember: the female grapplers who do join a BJJ gym are generally very good!

By-The-Book Grapplers

These grapplers’ do everything “by-the-book”, meaning, they very good grapplers who have pretty much mastered the techniques they already know. They may not be the best grapplers at the gym, but they are definitely dangerous from any position. The benefit to sparring with these grapplers is that you’ll be able to work on your defense skills considering that they’ll be quite offensive while sparring.


These are people who have been practicing BJJ for a month or less. They usually aren’t very aware of their positioning on the mat, and will tap often while sparring. If you’re a veteran, make sure that you that you’re not always going 100% on a newbie while sparring. Instead, if you tap them out, take some time to teach them what they did wrong. It will go a long way towards helping them increase their skillsets.

Chances are that you’ll fall into one of these categories. As a BJJ enthusiast, categorizing the different types of grapplers can actually be a lot of fun and teach you which grapplers to avoid while practicing at your own gym.