Whether it’s your first day of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or the anniversary of your sixth year training, you will notice that your teammates and instructors adhere to rules of ettiquette at your BJJ academy. And there probably is a set of rules already posted throught the gym. But, I’d like to address some unwritten do’s and don’ts as food for thought. If you have any more, please add them to the comment section.

DO’s

DO come to class on time. On time means at least 10 minutes before the class starts. Don’t show up late because you want to skip out on the warm up, the warm up is beneficial for you prior to the live rolling for conditioning and injury prevention. If you are running late because of work, family, etc., it happens, just don’t make it a habit.

DO pratice good hygenie. Trim your nails. No one wants to roll with Wolverine. Wash your hair, wash your body, and use deodorant. No one wants to be known as the Smell Guy/Gal.

DO wash your unifrom after every use. Bacteria grows in moist dirty environment. Your gis, rashguard s, spats should be clean. Don’t expose your training partners and yourself to bacteria that can lead to contagious skin infections. If you do have a skin infection, treat it and make the instructors and staff aware.

DO ask questions. After the instructor has shown the technique of the day, it’s okay to ask questions, he or she will usually ask if you have any. My professor always says, “your questions may be someone else’s.” We are all here to learn and we don’t have all the answers.  And, your questions can lead to  more emphasis on key details of the technique(s) taught.

DO TAP. It’s okay to tap. If you are caught in a submission and feel pain or you know you have no way to escape, tap. You will only get injured if you don’t. Do you want to be able to roll the next round? Do you want to train tomorrow? Then tap. You will tap more times in jiu jitsu than you can even count and that’s perfectly normal. To tap is to learn.

DO introduce yourself to those you don’t know on the mats. BJJ is about creating a community and working together to be better on and off the mats. Treat the dojo as your sanctuary, no bad vibes, keep a positive friendly environment.

DO respect the ranks. If you are rolling near higher belts and in their path, please move.

DO take notes. Bring a journal to class. Write down what you learn as soon as you possibly can. Flag down your instructor after class if you need to and clarify the technique. You can’t possibly remember every move you learn in a week, or even a month. Think about it, if you train 5x a week, once a day, for a month, you will learn 20 – 25 moves or more! Writting down the techniques will help you remember what you learned.

DO drill. Drilling or constant repition of a technique goes hand in hand with note taking.  Make drilling a part of your practice, too. In class you may spend 15-20 minutes practicing techniques with your training partner, but that is not enough for complete mastery of the moves. If you want to get better at a particular technique, drill it over and over mindfully. Practice till you can’t get it wrong. Ask for feedback from your training partner, ‘Am I applying enough pressure?, Is my grip too high or too shallow?, etc.’

DO try new things when live rolling. If you are constantly using your ‘A’ game, people will start to catch up. Expand your jiu jitsu game. It’s okay if you try something new and end up getting tapped, you are learning what you can add to your arsenal and what you need to fix.

DO train regularly. Train as often as you can. Do you want to get better at jiu jitsu? Well, then you have to put in the mat time.

DON’Ts

DON’T BE THE SPAZZY PARTNER. Spazzing is moving with lots of energy but very litte purpose. We all have rolled with a least one spazzy partner. He or she is flailing or flopping their limbs on their partner; grabing or clawing for grips; pulling with force for phantom submissions. If you have ever rolled with a spazz, you might have been left with bruises or a black eye. Take care of your training partners or you will soon find that your teamates will avoid rolling with you. Rememeber Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is about position and control before submission.

DON’T give more resistance than you are told to. If you are drilling in class, don’t be the person who gives 100% resistance, you and your partner will not learn how to apply the movement or submission properly. Drilling is for learning movements and creating muscle memory to perform it during live rolling.

DON’T drill a variation of a technique unless told to do so. Maybe you don’t like the technique taught, still do it. You probably need fine tuning of it before jumping into something else. It can be disruptive to the class, too. If you are a higher belt, you want to set an example to the junior ranks. Focus on the techniques shown.

DON’T hold a submission after the instructor yells TIME! Let go. Don’t hold a submission after someone has already tapped. We aren’t in class to break each other’s limbs. Your team is made up of hardworking students and professionals. They need to be at work or school the next day and you also need someone willing to train with you on the mats. Be respectful to your training partners and instructors.

DON’T  come to class if you are sick. You will make your entire team and instructors sick. This is a contact sport.  Besides, how can you be at your best if you feel at your worst. REST and RECOVER.

DON’T complain about an injury, tiredness or a stomache , then explode against your training partner 100%. This behavior doesn’t help you or your training partner. Bear in mind, your training partner is looking out for your safety and modifying their game. If you ask someone to go light, be polite, train light in return. If not, just roll, no excuses.

DON’T just roll with guys and gals you can “beat”. Stroking your ego won’t help make you better at jiu jitsu. Challenge yourself. Ask yourself why you may avoid rolling with someone.

DON’T forget gratitude before and after you roll. Always slap hands and bump before the roll and say thank you when you are done. No matter the outcome of the roll, leave positively.

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