Rules Of Thumb For Visiting A Foreign Jiu-JItsu Academy

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The fact that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a worldwide phenomenon, makes training it that more fun. While everyone enjoys training at their resident Jiu-Jitsu academy, people do tend to grow accustomed to their training partners. This is particularly true in the case of smaller schools, where training partners completely know each other’s game after years of training together. While local rivalries usually prevent people from training over at other nearby schools, there’s no problem with training outside the boundaries of your city or country. The global character of Jiu-Jitsu means that people from other cities/countries are eventually going to end up in your school, adding a bit of variety to every day grappling. More importantly, everywhere you go, whether it is for work, vacation or specifically to train, you can visit a Jiu-Jitsu academy. Most schools are very open to guest grapplers jumping in for a training session or two.

Whenever you are traveling, make it a habit to include some research on the local Jiu-Jitsu scene during the planning phase of your travels. A visit to a Jiu-Jitsu academy in another country can be a very pleasant experience. The beauty of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it is so widespread around the globe that you can easily find out how many clubs there are and which ones might best suit your needs. However, there are some factors you need to consider when selecting a school to visit. You should have clear criteria as to what you’re looking for and be aware of “rules for Jiu-Jitsu visitors”.

Academy Selection Criteria

One great way to locate Jiu-Jitsu academies around the globe is to post a question on Facebook. Maybe a friend will be able to refer you or knows someone else who can. Facebook groups can connect you to grapplers all around the world. If that doesn’t lead you to any answers, you can try a Google search or post the question on Sherdog or Reddit. For the simplest option, just type Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the spot you’re visiting on Google. You can go into more extensive research based on those results.

Once you’ve narrowed down a few options, you can read reviews for the clubs on YELP and look up their websites.  It is also preferable that you contact them to find out about schedules and pricing. It’s always better to confirm the details before showing up to a club, just in case operations have changed, but the website hasn’t.

Each Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy is different and when you visit a new one, it’s best to adapt to their system for the duration of your stay. For example, do they clap when breaking away from the instructor to learn technique? Do they bow before stepping on or off the mats? Can students ask higher-ranked belts to roll or do they wait to be asked? How do they begin a match? How do they line up after class? Do they have any club rules? Is there a particular Gi color required?

Jiu-JItsu Academy Visitor

A Few Rules OF Thumb For Visitors

Sometimes you can figure out the answers to the above questions just by looking at photo galleries on a club’s website. Some schools even have their rules posted online. The following rules of thumb are usually in effect in every academy in the world. As a visitor, you need to make sure you adhere to them.

Showing up a little early is always advisable. In the case of schools that have paperwork included, this gives you enough time to take care of it. While there, make sure you ask the instructor if any submissions are prohibited. Plenty of Gi only academies frown upon certain leg locks and neck cranks, even in training.

During class, do not speak or interrupt the instructor as he or she is teaching. You should already know this one, as it is a cardinal rule of martial arts. Not using foul language is another given one. If you plan on going a Jiu-Jitsu academy more than once, bring enough Gis to ensure you have a clean one for each class. Alternatively, find out where you can wash your Gi between classes. Have a Gi that is free of rips or tears. As far as hygiene goes, all the basics apply here. Ensure you have fresh breath and no body odor. Wear deodorant and have your fingernails and toenails trimmed. Also, make it a point to remove all transferable cosmetics and jewelry.

During training, do not be overly aggressive when rolling with other students and do not wait too long to tap. After all, you’re visiting, and as such might be a “prize” for the young guns. Also, do not forget to pack a mouth guard and wear it while rolling.

Remember The Unwritten Rules Of Jiu-Jitsu And You Can’t Go Wrong:

Jiu-JItsu Academy Visiting Rules

Rolling In A New Jiu-JItsu Academy

A good approach to rolling with people you don’t know, especially during a visit to a foreign academy, is to roll cautiously. Big white belts should be on your “do not roll” list due to the high likeliness of you getting hurt as a result of clumsiness, aggression, or unknown tactics. We’ve all missed time on the mats because of various injuries so staying healthy is a priority for everyone involved in BJJ. Although it can feel bad to say no to rolls, it’s gonna keep you safe and ultimately that’s what matters.

Remember when you do roll, your partner will reflect your intensity. If you come on hard and fast, your partner may do the same. If you ease into the roll, your partner will usually do so, as well. Once you get a feel for your new rolling partner, you may be able to have a normal roll, but a feeling-out process is highly recommended.

Also, it’s not a tournament. It’s just a class. If you find your BJJ is at a higher level than your partner, it’s probably not polite to tap him or her seven times in five minutes. It’s kinder to allow the person to work on their game, too. Remember: you’re not only representing yourself – you’re also representing your team and your home academy. It’s best to not be an asshole, if possible. If you’re the one getting tapped seven times in five minutes, it sucks – but hey, it was only five minutes out of your life. And hopefully, you learned a thing or two.

Do Not Be An Annoying Rolling Partner:

Just do your homework before picking a club, mind your manners and their rules, and you’ll do just fine.

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