Summer and holidays are here, and many of us are traveling and going to visit bjj gyms around the world. There is a few things everyone should keep in mind so that visiting is pleasant for everyone involved.
Sometimes, a jiujitero is going to be on his way to visit an another BJJ school – whether it is because he is going on a trip and is going to be away from his instructor and teammates, and does not want to miss time on the mats (big thumbs up for that!), or because he wants to drop in on an open mat session and see how he compares against others – there are specific rules to follow in order to make the stay as comfortable as possible.
1. Contact the school’s main instructor first.
Explain why you’re coming to his BJJ school and ask whether or not there is something you should do, if there is a specific rule of conduct that should be followed.
This will set you up for success immediately, since you have shown both respect and an honest interest in being the best you can possibly be towards the school’s instructor and his students.
2. Plan your transportation to the gym from your hotel well…
Check the navigator/map/bus- or train timetables before you are already 5 minutes late and have no idea where you are.
3. Stay respectful during rolls.
It is too easy to get carried away and try to prove your worth to the other side by going full speed and full power during the rolling part of training.
Even though some of the students might respect this, some of the time, beware that this could make you needless enemies; not just in the students, but in their instructor as well. Seeing somebody who is not a part of his school almost trying to hurt his students will never lead to a good first impression.
If they go 50%, go 50%. If they decide to go harder, try to do so as well and match their intensity. But, above all, try to show good spirit – remember, you are their guest and you should respect their hospitality and rules of conduct.
4. Maintain good relations.
These days, it seems that a lot of BJJ teams are on bad terms with each other. This leads to students almost never visiting other gyms, and to the feelings of being encapsulated solely into one’s own immediate team.
While feeling close to one’s own team is not a bad thing, it is never a good idea to make unnecessary enemies. Instead, try to keep good relations with the other teams on and off the mats; having good friends gets us far in life, and in the tough and sometimes very painful sport of BJJ, we need as many companions as possible.
Written by Fedja Malinovic