So you just came to your new BJJ academy! Perhaps it’s your first training session ever, or you made a transfer from another academy to this one; or you may be travelling and decided to get in a few rolls while you’re abroad.
Whatever the case may be, you’re going to want to make some friends. Here are 4 tips on how to make friends fast when you’re in a new BJJ academy.
REACH OUT TO THE INSTRUCTOR
First and foremost, before you ever turn up to training, you should reach out to the instructor. Either via the Facebook or Instagram page, the website, a phone number, or anything else… Just make sure to let them know that you’re coming.
But don’t stop at: „Hey, is it okay for me to come over?“ Instead, politely ask if there are any rules that you should be aware of beforehand. For example – should you wear a Gi or No Gi? Can you wear your own Gi or do you have to take the academy’s? What’s the entry fee?
Doing this, you’ll achieve three things. First of all, you’ll show respect to the instructor, his academy, and to his students. Secondly, you’ll know if anything needs to be taken into account before training. And thirdly, the instructor is likely going to let his students know that you’re coming; which is way better than just dropping in, having to introduce yourself to everyone.
DON’T ROLL SUPER HARD
When you roll the first couple of training sessions in an another academy, no matter your belt and skill level, you should always go slow. Don’t go too hard with anyone you roll with, no matter their skill level either – instead, take it easy and try to be more on the defensive than on the offensive.
Nobody likes the guy who comes for the first time and then goes the extra mile to tap out everyone. It makes you look as an overzealous guy with an ego problem.
You’ll have time to „prove“ yourself and your skill. But, for now, defend yourself and go for the submissions lightly. You’ll be on a good foot with the new training partners.
REMEMBER NAMES OF ALL OF YOUR NEW FRIENDS
It’s going to take some time before the instructor and his students get to remember your name. But that’s none of your concern, as you cannot influence it (unless you have some sort of a rather unusual name, which would definitely help).
Instead, your focus needs to be on remembering their names.
Each and every person you approach (either before drilling or rolling with them), ask them their name. And then commit to remembering it.
Say: „Thank you, XYZ“ after the roll to reinforce your memory. And then, the next time you get to drill or roll with them, mention their name in the conversation.
When a person sees that you’ve remembered their name and when they hear their name pronounced… Those are extremely efficient (and really easy) ways to be likeable to others, and to make friends.
LEAVE YOUR BOTTLE WHERE OTHERS DO
And finally, if you want to make friends in that new BJJ academy, you shouldn’t separate yourself from the group and stand alone.
Sure, you may be more of an introvert, and that’s fine. You don’t have to start a full-blown conversation with everyone. But an easy trick you can do is to leave your water bottle where others leave theirs.
This way, you’ll have more easy-to-do opportunities to mingle and meet others, and – therefore – make a lot of new friends easily. Go ahead, do it today!