Are you looking to expand your BJJ horizons by checking out some new gyms? Or maybe you are on holiday and have got the itch to train some Jiu Jitsu? Dropping into BJJ academies can be great fun and really take your game to the next level. However, to ensure you have a positive experience you need to know the proper etiquette.
What Is The Proper Etiquette When Dropping Into A BJJ Gym?
Before dropping into a BJJ gym contact the gym, introduce yourself and ask if you can train. Arrive to class early and meet your new training partners and coach. Perform the training drills exactly as shown by your coach. When it comes to rolling, start off defensive and match the intensity of your partner.
Why You Should Contact A BJJ Gym Before Dropping In?
Contacting a BJJ gym before dropping in is common courtesy. Some instructors are very protective over their gyms and do not like people showing up unannounced. To avoid angering a BJJ coach, give them a heads up before arriving.
Also some gyms don’t allow drop ins so instead of wasting your time travelling to the gym only to find out you can’t train it is better to be told over the phone or through text.
It is also common for BJJ gyms not to have an updated schedule or gym location posted on their Facebook or website. This may seem crazy when they are trying to attract members but also explains why so many gyms fail. To stop you from turning up at the wrong location or the wrong time contact them to confirm the details beforehand.
I’m not going to lie, I have turned up at a few BJJ gyms unannounced. Most of the coaches were cool, some you could tell some were mildly annoyed and one time the gym was closed when I wanted to train.
Usually I do contact them even if it is mostly because I don’t want to get ripped off by being charged some huge drop in fee or I don’t want to waste my time showing up at a closed gym.
It is best to call or message through an app. Many gyms don’t check their email or Facebook. Make sure you ask about price too some scammy gyms will try to ask for crazy amounts.
Why You Should Arrive To Class Early When Dropping Into A BJJ Gym?
You should arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the start of a BJJ class when dropping in. This gives you ample time to check out the gym and introduce yourself to the coach and gym members.
BJJ coaches and athletes can get a little weird about random practitioners dropping in. They sometimes get paranoid and think you are there to prove a point or embarrass them.
By turning up a bit early you can diffuse any tension and just make it clear you are just there to learn and enjoy the sport. You aren’t trying to test anyone or show off.
You don’t want to be the random purple belt who shows up at a gym, doesn’t say anything to anyone and just warms up in the corner by himself. People are going to view you as strange and potentially hostile.
Why You Should Train Like Everyone Else When Dropping Into A BJJ Gym?
This one may sound self explanatory but you would be surprised over the years at the amount of people I have seen drop into my BJJ gym and try to customise the training and do their own thing.
Most people would realise this is pretty rude and likely to annoy a coach. By acting this way you are essentially saying the coach is shit and you know better.
Acting like this is a great way to get yourself green lit by the coach. Trust me when it comes time to spar and the coach starts telling the toughest guy in the room to roll with you first you are going to be regretting not following the training from A to Z.
I remember one of my old coaches would always motion to this very strong purple belt with a nasty streak whenever some random person would drop in and act like they owned the place. This purple belt would then proceed to pin them in north south position with their cheek squished against the mat and just cook them there for a while.
Would you go to a restaurant and refuse to order anything off the menu and then start pulling your own food out of your bag? Not exactly socially acceptable behaviour.
Now, I know it can be tempting to alter the BJJ training particularly if you drop into a gym that is being run by an idiot but just bite your tongue and perform the stupid warm up and drill the useless low percentage sweeps and submissions.
It is only an hour or 2 of training, just make the best out of the situation. It isn’t your place to try and run the training session.
How Should You Roll When Dropping Into A BJJ Gym?
You should start the roll off very relaxed. Start by playing defence and let your training partner dictate the pace. Don’t be a dead fish, make the roll competitive but at the same time don’t take every opportunity and try to win. Keep it fun and playful and exchange different positions.
The last thing you want to do is show up at a random BJJ gym and in the first round of rolling start trying to kill people. This is going to end in tears as you are going to piss the whole gym off and they are going to want blood.
It doesn’t matter if you are by far the best in the room someone could still take a cheap shot on you or do something illegal and seriously hurt you.
To avoid everyone in the gym hating your guts take it easy when you spar. It is best to start the round off very relaxed and smooth. Don’t take hard grips or immediately hunker down. Play an open loose game and let your opponent dictate the pace.
Start by being defensive and then start slowly opening up your game as you and your opponent start developing a rhythm that is beneficial for both of you.
Keep the roll fun by moving and willing to give up position. Don’t get a dominant position and just stall. Move around and explore different situations.
Don’t just let your opponent dominate you, take some submissions if you see some openings but don’t be super competitive and try to dominate your training partner.
If you follow these rolling tips your new training partners will enjoy sparring with you and you will be invited to train again.