I’ve noticed more and more these days that following a big MMA fight, there will be at least one or two brand new newbies at our academy – sometimes more. This held true for class last night, although it wasn’t as easy to spot due to my current lack of knowledge of the slightly broken in newbies. However, using my newbie spotting techniques, I feel relatively confident that I did, in fact, spot at least one. Here’s how I evaluate the species – feel free to critique or add to the list:
- The brand newbies’ plumage more often than not is thin and unprotective; they do not have a gi, or they will wear an borrowed gi top provided by the instructor.
- Brand newbies wander about in a small, confused circles at the end of class when the students line up to bow out. This random pattern is widely believed to be a defense mechanism.
- One lesser known variety of the brand newbie will line up at the front of the class with the upper belts, one of whom will have to explain that they should be at the back. Slightly broken in newbies have the lining up technique down cold.
- When the class is circled up to do situps, the brand newbie will invariably break the counting chain when it comes to his turn by sitting up, looking around, and asking which situps come next. The slightly broken in newbie will kindly help him by explaining that it doesn’t matter, just pick one and start counting, please.
- Brand newbies often start drills or rolling sessions with the phrase “I don’t know what I’m doing.” This call is echoed by the slightly broken in newbie’s warble, “What do I do from this position?”
For the sake of full disclosure, as a newbie, I was guilty of at least numbers one, three, and five. I’m still guilty of the second part of number five on occasion.
Now, as stated earlier, many newbies are flushed out by an MMA event that lures them into the academy with the temptation of octagons surrounded by crowds cheering their name. Others migrate from different martial arts or wrestling. Some make the long trip from their couch. Whatever the origin of the newbie, some just don’t stick. Some of the newbies who did stick, however, have become excellent grapplers and some of my best friends. Long live the newbie!