Jiu Jitsu Revolution by Saulo Ribeiro, released in 2004, was one of the early smash hits for BJJ instructional videos.
I don’t even remember when I saw these DVDs last time (as I don’t have them with me), but I remember Saulo says something along the line with “Don’t hurt your training partner” in one of the DVDs.
I googled, and this interview article came up.
It turns out that the interviewer’s favorite quote from Saulo’s DVDs happens to be the quote I mentioned above, and he asks Saulo about it.
Here’s Saulo’s quote from his DVDs:
You have to think that your partner, the guy that you’re training [with], has to be your best friend. So, you don’t want to hurt him, you don’t want to try to open his guard with your elbow, make him feel really pain, because jiu jitsu is not about pain.— Saulo Ribeiro
The idea behind what Saulo said is, if I understand it correctly, that your training partners help you improve, and you shouldn’t hurt them by using moves that inflict unnecessary pain on them.
I don’t think people teach it much these days, but there was a time when people taught their students to dig into their opponent’s inner thigh/s by using their elbow/s to open the closed guard.
I suppose some people still do it, but I think it’s on the garbage side of the spectrum because…
A. It probably won’t work against a highly skilled opponent and/or an opponent who has high pain tolerance.
B. You don’t need to rely on such a move if you know how to open the closed guard with proper technique.
I know I’ve been repeating this point over and over, but I believe it’s much better to sharpen your skills as much as possible so you will be able to rely on clean and effective technique instead of things that don’t work against savvy opponents or when you have no strength left.
And Saulo’s mindset might just help you focus on developing such skills.
Treat your training partners as those who help you become better at BJJ, and don’t hurt them unnecessarily.
The less pain, the better.