So, perhaps you’ve just gotten a bit of time off of work, or you passed all of your exams… Or you simply created more free time for yourself; and you’ve decided to spend it by going for a visit and a roll at some other BJJ academy. However, though, you’re second-guessing yourself. You’re thinking whether or not you should really go, if it’s a good idea to do that at all.
Let’s take that question into consideration and see what else you need to keep in mind.
YES, YOU SHOULD VISIT OTHER BJJ GYMS
First of all, it’s not only „okay“ to visit other BJJ gyms – but it’s also a „must“ in a way. Especially for those BJJ athletes that want to improve as much as possible.
Why? Well, the old saying: „You are who you surround yourself with“, it brings a lot of weight with itself. Meaning, you’re constantly training with pretty much the same people every day of the week, over and over again. With time, you get to learn how your training partners’ games look like. You figure out what they’re going for, how they’re going for it and what their movement cues are. So, with time, you stop progressing as much as you did before.
Naturally, you will still make progress. There are still people, in your academy, that are way better than you are; as well as those who you can practice your new setups on. But because you’ve gotten used to the majority of your training partners, there is scarcely any space for novelty anymore.
And novelty is a very important thing for Jiu Jitsu progress. Every time you roll against someone who you have no idea what they’re going to be setting you up with, you’re forced to adapt and learn much faster and better than with someone whose style you’re already familiar with.
Therefore, you should definitely visit other BJJ academies/gyms. It will be great for your progress!
A COUPLE OF THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
After you’ve decided that you’re definitely going to be visiting an another gym (or gyms), you need to be aware of two main things beforehand.
First, do some research about the gym you’re planning to visit. What, exactly, are you getting yourself into? Sure, the mats there may turn out to be phenomenal, with people who are almost as good as those in your home academy. But, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have a good time – what if it’s an academy where they’re much more competitive than you’re used to? Or, what if it’s the other way around; if they’re not geared towards competition at all, but are full of meatheads that want to prove themselves… And which could injure you quite badly in the process?
The scenarios similar to the ones above and their variations are plentiful. So, just keep in mind that you should do some research on the academy you want to visit first.
And secondly, be respectful. This means letting them know that you’ll come around for training in time, not just turning up one day unannounced. It also means that, when you roll, you won’t be too aggressive immediately. Rather, play a more defensive role and let them understand that you’re there to be kind, to learn and to be a good training partner. Lastly, it means that you’re going to be very polite towards everyone on the mats; showing the athletes and the coach that you’re grateful for the opportunity to train with them.
Combine these things when going for a visit – and you’re guaranteed to have a great time!