Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a crazy sport that will take over your life. It doesn’t matter if that was your goal when you started your BJJ journey; it is something that will almost certainly happen, particularly if you get to the blue/purple belt level. Plenty of things will happen along the way, and most of them are fun and will change your life. However, there read some aspects of Jiu-Jitsu that we rarely consider, and as such, are huge for everyone involved, and in particular, beginners. Namely, do you have any idea what your BJJ rights are?
Grappling rights are not something we talk about a lot. As such, they’re not really written anywhere and official but are things that are common sense and that everyone should be aware of. After all, there’s no point in embarking on a BJJ journey if you’re not going to enjoy it and get the most out of it. Knowing what you’re in for is one thing, but knowing certain things about how you should be treated is another. To that extent, let’s look at several things that everyone in Jiu-Jitsu should know they’re entitled to.
The BJJ Journey Is A Lifelong One
There’s nothing quite like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You come to a gym to give it a try, usually after watching UFC or hearing some of your BJJ nerd friends talk about it and nothing but it all day long. The thing is, you’ll quickly morph into a BJJ nerd of your own if you let Jiu-Jitsu enter your life. The BJJ journey is quite a fun one, but it is not easy,. I guess that is what makes it attractive to us all. Well, that and rolling, of course.
One thing to be aware of is that singing up for Jiu-Jitsu is going to change your life., Moreover if you really get into it, which a lot of the people that sign updo, it is going to turn into something you’ll be doing for the rest of your life. That’s a major claim, but after a decade in the sport, I can claim it to be true, given the evidence I’ve seen on the subject. Speaking of something you’ll be doing for a lifetime, it wouldn’t be near as fun if you didn’t feel awesome when doing it, right?
It is difficult enough to enjoy Jiu-Jitsu with all the chaos, discomfort, and pain that comes with training and/or competing. If at the same time you need to worry about other things, like an unsafe training environment, instructors that are not a good fit, lack of respect and hygiene, etc., it is doubtful that you’ll stay on your BJJ journey for long. This is not just to let people know that they have certain basic grappling rights, but also to keep coaches and academy owners on their toes. Providing the correct training environment will not only bring more people into BJJ, but it will also provide them with an environment they enjoy.
The Right Academy
One of the things you are entitled to is being in an academy that works for you. None of that loyalty and Creonte stuff means anything if you’re not at a place you enjoy. As I said, your BJJ journey is a lifelong one, and spending it in an environment not fit for you simply makes no sense. Despite what people might want to say, you can switch academies as many times as you want until you find the right one for you. Moreover, it doesn’t’ have to happen immediately, and changing academies as a higher belt is also not just an option, but something you should consider if it makes sense to you.
There’s really nothing I can say about safety that hasn’t been said already. Training a martial art in which people art trying to force limbs to bend in directions they’re not meant to, and try and choke people unconscious, safety is more important than in Christian Grey’s pleasure room. That said, there are different aspects of safety in a BJJ academy.
Apart from the obvious training safety concerns, there’s also the way instructors conduct, as well as students. People training Jiu-Jitsu should be safe from prejudice, sexual harassment, or discrimination of any kind. Safety extends to much more than having instructors that follow everything that’s going on and training partners that are not out to “kill you”. In fact, every aspect of feeling safe should be in compliance with your requirement, or you should simply refer to point number one and figure out an academy fit for your BJJ journey.
Instructors usually go hand in hand with academies as they set the “vibe” of a certain BJJ gym. That said, BJ Instructors usually have an approach that is aimed at making people feel safe and comfortable while also being able to teach them actual Jiu-Jitsu. If your instructor does not fit this description, you might need to look for another one. Seriously, instructors and coaches can make or break an athlete, whether they’re training recreationally or with hopes of becoming world champions. If you don’t find an instructor that fits you, you should keep looking, just like with figuring out the right BJJ Academy. And you have every right to demand to be in a class with different instructors or switch gyms completely if things are not to your liking.
The Factor Of Respect
In most Jiu-Jitsu gyms you’ll visit on your BJJ journey, respect is something held in very high regard. It is simple – you have the right to be respected by your training partners, instructors, staff, etc. There’s no need to expect you’ll be treated like a princess – if that’s the case, you’re in the wrong sport. However, people do need to respect your boundaries, your world views, and whatever else makes you, you. Furthermore, belt level has nothing to do with respecting someone, and despite the hierarchy of BJJ, a black and white belt commands the same amount of respect.
In terms of hygiene, there’s nothing that will cut a person’s BJJ journey short as fast as bad gym hygiene. It doesn’t even have to do with infections the like of staph and ringworm as much as it does with the impression of how clean or unclean an academy is. In a contact sport where you’ll be in the closest possible proximity with people, there’s no point in trading if the academy’s and training partners’ hygiene levels are not up to your requirements. As far as grappling rights go, this is one of the first things you need to consider.
Set Your Own Goals
Another thing you might run into as a BJJ beginner is goals. Most academies really do offer “Jiu-Jitsu for everyone” and will accommodate your training goals, whether they’re competitive or recreational. However, nobody has the right to make you compete, or stop you from competing, depending on what your goals are. You can go on your BJJ journey and earn a black belt without ever stepping foot in a competition. The same is true for wanting to compete. Nobody can hold you back (unless it has to do with your technical and/or mental preparedness for a tournament) and you need to be aware of this. Although this might fall under the right to find an academy that suits you, it does deserve a special mention as one of your most important grappling rights.
I guess you won’t really partake in a BJJ journey, whether it is for a lifetime or for a few months unless you’re having fun. Discipline is a big thing in martial arts and there has to be structure and hierarchy when it comes to classes. However, things should also be fun, especially in a sport like BJJ, where individuality should be encouraged. If you’re not having fun training, you have every right to consider different options, or perhaps even cutting your BJJ journey short. Despite the great sounding “Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone” slogan, the fact of the matter is that grappling is not a good fit for everybody.
Knowing your rights is a big part of today’s modern society. There are, of course, those social justice warriors that just take political correctness and everything else way too far. We haven’t been spared from instances like that in Jiu-Jitsu as well. However, the fact remains that certain grappling rights are the same for everyone and nobody can deny them to you. Simply put, make sure you are treated with basic decency and respect on your BJJ journey, and you’ll truly enjoy living the BJJ lifestyle and reaping all the benefits it brings about.