I’ve heard of a small handful of goons who were blue belt or higher, but the goon on the mats is pretty much a white belt phenomenon. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why, either; goons get sorted out pretty quick. Either they’re straightened out by an observant higher belt, they quit all together because they tapped a few too many times or they eventually realize that “winning the training” as Hannette Staack puts it, isn’t the point, and they chill out.

I’m a bit on the small side (although in my head I’m a 270lb brick wall with arms and legs), so avoiding a goon is in my best interest more often than not. I’ll still roll with a known goon, but generally it doesn’t serve me any to potentially get hurt just to help someone inflate his or her ego. I’ve definitely been on the receiving end of a few whoopings at the hands of a less experienced but way bigger dude. The goons usually sit on me and crank away at a choke or Americana. I’m not saying this is necessarily unfair, it just isn’t the finest example of technique or sportsmanship.

Most of the goons I’ve rolled with quit before their second stripe, but some of those same guys that gooned me long ago have grown out of their goon type behavior, stop being goony and now they’re great people to roll with. I’ve heard stories of blue and purple belt goons, but I’ve never personally met or rolled with one. People realize pretty quickly that they will likely never be the king of the mat, or even crack the top half. All they can do is learn from those who have put more time in on the mats than them.

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