The 7 BJJ People You Meet on the Mats: China Edition
Updated: Feb 25
The world of jiu-jitsu in China brings in different people from different walks of live. Check who you'll find on the BJJ mats in China.
Jiu-jitsu calls in all people from many walks of life, with different shapes and sizes. It’s cool to be a part of a sport that is really for anyone. That being said, there are some characters that walk into the gym that are easily recognized no matter what BJJ gym you go to. I figured since I’ve trained in China the most, I’d point out some of the people that I’ve seen while being here. But these prototypical people pop up in every gym around the world in some shape or form.
*Note* This is all for jokes and fun and is not intended to hurt people. If you feel some type of way, honestly… get over it. It ain’t that serious.
1. Cutesy/Hot New Girl
This girl is usually finds her way to the gym by way of a free trial class on dazhengdianping (almost like Chinese Groupon and Yelp combined) or by that one dude friend of hers who thinks he’s going to bang her invites her to come through. This isn’t her usual thing but she’s excited to try something new and take pictures to post for WeChat/Instagram/Douyin/TikTok.
She generally wears makeup (which ends up all over your gi) because she just has to look good and there are always potentially good-looking men everywhere. Her nails are definitely too long and ends up scratching your face or your arm. If the coach didn’t pair her up with another more experienced girl, then every dude is clamoring to partner with her.
A lot of the movements and drilling she does looks awkward but it’s not certain if its because she’s way too shy or she’s afraid of looking weird. Every move that is successfully made is accompanied by “ouches” or “groans”. After a few classes, she gets into it and with time and consistency, she evolves into the “tough chick”(see below)
2. Chinese guy that goes 100% 100% of the time
China has a no fighting policy. It not like the US where if you start a fight, you’re liable for it win or lose. There’s this funny sign that was being shared on WeChat saying: “If you win the fight, you got to jail. If you lose the fight, you go to the hospital.” OR something like this…
This has proceeded to videos of people pretending to have gotten hit hard and lying on the floor or spitting matches where no one to touch each other… *eww*.
Another angle is that China has a rich history of martial arts, which brings a lot of pride. Combining all these things, this dude is making sure that he gets all his aggression out on the mat and making sure he’s doing it well. As per a Chinese friend at the gym, “We don’t get to fight on the street, so we have to fight here.” Even when this guy is drilling, he’s pressing your face into the mat and making sure he gets every cross face and every tap. You are sure to have your work cut out for you… or your limbs broken rolling with this guy.
3. Older chill dude
This super cool guy is at a later part of his life and is not trying to roll to the death every time. He’s generally been living in China for a while and just have blended into the culture (Chinese wife, speaks Chinese, understands Chinese culture, basically Chinese without the face.) He generally has done some kind of martial art before and always has wisdom to bestow upon you about martial arts and life. Coming to the gym is his tiny escape from his life as a family man and work. If his original martial art is jiu-jitsu, he always shows you efficient BJJ that you can use during your rolls.
4. Former martial artist trying BJJ
This person came from some former martial art and after attending a jiu-jitsu demo, they
decided “sure why not?” Even though they might be a beginner in BJJ, they get most concepts quite easily. They understand concepts of respect and discipline and jiu-jitsu complements them quite well Sometimes they’re even bull strong and they get the best of you during a roll that one time we won’t talk about….
5. Tough chick
This chick refuses to be seen as soft, too girlie, and/or weak. She also normally goes 100% percent and picks the toughest dude in the gym to roll and drill with. Rolling with her is only matched by the Chinese dude that goes 100% 100% of the time. Everyone avoids making eye contact with her when it comes time for rolls.
She makes sure doesn’t miss steps when the coach teaches a new move and asks questions to make sure she understands. While the other girls are giggling and talking during their training, she’s quiet and focused. There is much respect for her and her training by everyone at the gym.
6. Random foreign dude that studies every detail and asks a lot of questions
Usually a white or blue belt, this guy takes proficient notes, calculating every detail of every class ever. He is definitely the nerd of the class, asking questions about the smallest details of each position. He is the one the tends to correct you if you miss one small detail of what the coach taught.
He owns a tattered version of Jiu-jitsu University by Saulo Ribero or some other reading materials AND knows all the names of certain positions in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese. He constantly talks about the videos he saw from Marcelo Garcia or some DVD he got passed from some guy using Baidu pan (like google drive in China). He goes to class EVERY SINGLE DAY, is frequently seen and has set up mats at his house so he can practice more all the time.
7. Nerdy BJJ Nerd
This guy is a subset of the random foreign dude, but he evolved into a purple, brown, or even black belt. He’s super cool and collected, smart about BJJ, and usually teaches. He’s super intimidating on the mats and taps everything and everyone. But off the mats, his swag factor goes to 0. He’s usually watching anime, playing Magic the gathering, or some other game/thing associated with nerdiness. If it wasn’t for the fact he could choke you to death or put you in a footlock in .5 seconds, you would be clowning him all day every day.
These are just some of the people that I’ve noticed that come into the BJJ gym. Which one are you? Who did I miss? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram!