Professor Jay Jack, one of the toughest, most skilled guys I’ve ever trained with, on training for longevity:
When you roll with people that are significantly less skilled than you are, you are basically drilling. In Jiu Jitsu, you should ideally be doing a ton of this type of work.
If you think about the nature of rolling, it’s decision-making on the fly. It’s like Tetris. You see this piece moving and you have to figure out how it fits before it gets to this spot because if you miss the window it’s too late. That’s what rolling is. Very rarely should rolling be brutally, physically taxing.
Advanced students naturally get this idea. At most schools they’ll have 50 white belts, 20 blue belts, 10 purple belts, and a couple brown belts. So if someone gets to blue belt they are automatically better than 50% of the school. That means their training can go sub-maximal 50% of the time. Once they get to purple belt they’re better than 75% of the school, so the sub-threshold training increases even more.
That’s how you develop longevity in Jiu Jitsu, and being healthy in something you love, something you can do long-term and get really good at. But it’s because you switched most of your training from rolling to drilling, even though it’s in the form of rolling—it’s freestyle drilling.
So as a white belt, as a newer student, if you want to train in a way that is smart you’ll make the bulk of your training drilling. Don’t wait eight years for your game to inadvertently turn into that and give you the ability to train for longevity, start that type of training immediately.