You LOVE your BJJ Academy! The people there, the coach(es), the way training is constructed – it all makes perfect sense for you, and you enjoy being there every second you can. However, for one reason or another, you came to a conclusion that you’d like to cross-train in other academies, too.
But does that make you a traitor ? Aren’t you being disloyal to your coach by doing this?
WHY DO YOU WANT TO CROSS-TRAIN?
The answer to the introductory question can’t be answered without YOU taking a good, hard look into the reasons why you want to cross-train. For, if your reasons for cross-training are jerkish – then you’re a jerk.
But those probably aren’t your motives. Instead, the reasons behind your decision to visit other academies are much more benign.
One of the most common reasons is the diversity of training partners. As the mat time piles up, you’re going to get pretty much used to the training partners in your academy; their techniques, setups, and their BJJ style. So, it’s sometime a good decision to mix things up a bit – to head to another academy for one or two training sessions per week.
This will allow you to become exposed to a whole range of new training partners, their techniques and setups; which will ultimately refresh and boost your own BJJ game by a whole lot.
Or, perhaps you’re just curious about how it is to train somewhere else. What’s more, maybe you’re even considering finding an another academy, where you’ll feel more at home. But that doesn’t mean that you’re a jerk! It simply means that you’re looking for your own place under the Sun; one where you’ll be able to train Jiu Jitsu in the best suitable way for yourself.
YOU’RE NOT A JERK, SO WHY ALL THE HATE ABOUT CROSS-TRAINING?
Yup, that’s a valid question. And the answer is simple enough: there’s a part of the BJJ culture, and a part of the BJJ community, that looks at these Jiujiteiros through the „creonte“ worldview. That is, they see the students that train at other academies as disloyal to their own, to their coach and teammates – which, essentially, turns them into jerks in an almost automatic fashion.
The BJJ „politics“, inter-academy rivalry has a lot to do with this as well. Seeing a student train at an academy that your own isn’t on good terms with really isn’t the most pleasant of feelings.
However, if your own motives are clean, then you have a full right to train at another academy. But how should you go about it?
TALK WITH YOUR COACH
The absolute best thing that you could do is approach your coach and tell him about your decision to cross-train at other academies. Be frank about it; tell him what your reasons are, what you expect to get from it, and why you think that this will ultimately be beneficial to your Jiu Jitsu.
If your coach is a reasonable person (and he/she probably is), then they will – after some dialogue – figure out that you don’t have any ulterior motives in visiting and training in other academies. That it is simply a way for you to upgrade your love of, and skill at, BJJ.
To conclude: no, cross-training at other BJJ academies than your own doesn’t make you a jerk. It can improve your grappling skills to a whole new level, and intensify the passion you feel for Jiu Jitsu. That is, it’s a great decision on your behalf! Just make sure that you communicate it well to your professor, and everything will be alright.