Some people believe that the only way to improve their BJJ game is by training with higher belts and getting smashed. While it is important to roll with more experienced students (especially as a newer practitioner), you can also benefit from rolling students of different levels and skills.
In fact, for optimal training you need 3 types of training partners:
- Training partners who are lower level than you.
Lower level training partners will allow you to control the roll and work your offence. Against the higher belts, you are unlikely to be able to get any dominant positions and have any chance at all to try your attacks.
TIP: Pick an attack that you would like to improve in your game and limit your attack to ONLY that submission against your less experienced opponent. This will give you a focus for your training. Secondly, when your opponent catches on to your tactics, they will defend strongly and challenge your skill in setting it up.
2. Training partners who are of a similar level to you.
These training partners will provide the best workout for your rolls. Since you are so evenly matched, neither person will be able to maintain a dominant position for long. There will be many exchanges of positions.
Top and bottom, attacking and escaping, these rolls are a dog fight for every inch or advantage. Unless your technique is precise, they will counter and you are back fighting for position. These rolls will tax your cardio and grip strength!
3. Training partners who have a higher level than you
You are going to be on the defensive for much of the roll. Your reaction time will have to be much faster. You will have to rely on your counters and knowledge and escapes.
Your brain will have to identify situations much more quickly. Rolling with a higher belt is akin to learning to speak a new language and the other person is speaking rapidly. Got brain struggles to keep up.
Being tested in this way will make you sharper, but more concentrated on the defensive aspects.