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BJJ ETIQUETTE
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BJJ ETIQUETTE

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly functional, and strategic form of grappling combat. Many of the maneuvers consist of intricate, and dynamic bjj systems. Athletes that train in the art are extremely motivated, and will spend multiple hours training on the mats. 

What this article covers:

BJJ academies have gained significant popularity over the last decade, due to the international rise of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition. These days students are lining up to become a part of the formidable BJJ community, as the widespread notoriety of the art is making headlines. Unlike other forms of Martial Arts, where the dojo may seem boisterous, and unapproachable, BJJ has quite a different feel about it. The atmosphere inside of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school is famous for its camaraderie, its integrity, its humility, and its understanding nature. There are however certain expectations that all coaches have upon their students, as the relationship between coach, and student is a give and take one. Being involved in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy means that all students must display good etiquette when they are both on, and off of the mats.

Renowned BJJ black belt Matt Arroyo has joined forces with BJJFanatics.com to bring you his complete toolbox of all things jiu jitsu.  Get your copy here!

jiu jitsu etiquette

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THE EXPECTATIONS OF A BJJ ACADEMY 

A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy is an organisation that breeds professionalism, and good all round human nature. There are many expectations that coaches will have of their students, and even though a student is a paying customer, they will still need to adhere to the guidelines of a BJJ academy. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructors have a huge emphasis on bjj hygiene, as the importance of keeping a clean facility is essential. All students are expected to come to training showered, and cleaned, this includes having all of their BJJ gear clean, especially their Gi's, and their belts. An academy owner will do their part by ensuring the mats are cleaned after every training session, and students need to reciprocate the same respect by displaying cleanliness. Wearing shoes while they are off the mats is extremely important, so they don't transport germs back onto the mats. Students will also need to make sure their fingers, and toenails are trimmed, and filed so that they don't scratch their training partners, or damage the mats. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and that can lead to infections passing between students, so it is vital to keep a high level of hygiene.

All Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies demand respect from their students, and most members will naturally show respect to all members, showing them fairness, and equality. Students that don't meet this criteria do not fit in with the ideals of an academy, and will be asked to leave. All students are expected to bring energy, and add to the jovial nature of an academy, although some students may have their own issues, this is where understanding comes into the forefront. Integrity is another expectation within a BJJ academy, as having a strong moral code is the criteria for becoming a valued member of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community. Some academies expect their students to engage the mats with a jiu jitsu bow, and even though this is not mandatory at all academies, most students of the art like to bow to the mat as a sign of respect towards the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

HOW BJJ ATHLETES SHOULD CONDUCT THEMSELVES

The conduct of a BJJ athlete is extremely important, as the way they act on and off the mats must be held in high esteem. A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy has students that range from children, all the way up to adults, so an athlete becomes a role model to many of the younger people in their academy. This means that an athlete's conduct must be integral, they must show leadership, and not showcase any form of derogatory behaviour. This is just as important toward any female members of an academy. Every student deserves to be treated respectfully, as everybody has a right to their own boundaries. Athletes must make sure they do not cross the line by putting down anyone's sexuality, spirituality, religion, beliefs, or culture. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has an extremely diverse cultural aspect that needs to be protected, which is why athletes must display respect, honour, and integrity. This is the natural bjj progression pathway towards becoming a black belt in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

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COMPETITION EXPECTATIONS 

All athletes that compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments are expected to represent their academy with honour, valour, integrity, and good sportsmanship. The competition process can be excruciating, as athletes have been known to wait hours, and hours for their matches. The painstaking process of waiting for an athlete's bjj age divisions can be tiresome. All Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructors will expect their students to show patience, and remain ready and warmed up for their competition matches, as at any moment their matches could be brought forward. Becoming a competitor is not for every student, but for the ones that do step into the middle of the mats, they have an expectation to represent. Most instructors will be encouraging, and understanding, as long as their student shows respect, gives their all, and displays great sportsmanship traits. No instructor expects their student to win every single match, instead all they really expect is for a student to try their hardest. Winning their bjj weight divisions will always be a tough task, as most divisions have upwards of ten competitors.

All students that are serious about competition have an expectation to know the rule set. There is no good competing in a tournament, and not understanding the rules, and then complaining, or acting out after getting disqualified. Students must be proactive, and research any rule structure, because different competitions have a different set of guidelines that athletes must follow. It is also a requirement of BJJ competitors to have their appropriate uniforms, this means to have a competition legal Gi, or No Gi uniform. In the IBJJF the Gi must be white, black, or royal blue, and the competitor's Gi must be up to the standards of the IBJJF, as this includes the thickness of the Gi, and the length of the sleeves. This is the same in the No Gi division, as only certain rash guards are allowed on the competition mats. Students need to understand the rules, so they can come prepared for their competition matches.

THE UNSPOKEN RULES OF BJJ

There are many unspoken rules in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that students should be following, due to common sense. Obviously if a student is late to training, they should apologise to the instructor for their lateness before they step onto the mats. Students that intentionally skip the warm ups are not only doing themselves a disservice, but it is disrespectful towards the instructor of the class. During training students must respect the tap, and this means if a student taps out another student inside the gym they must let go immediately, and show humility instead of ego. Submitting a training partner is an opportunity for that training partner to learn a lesson in BJJ, and instead of gloating, the student should be offering their advice. The same goes in reverse, if a student is stuck in a submission but refuses to tap, this can be an extremely dangerous situation. Some students will simply let go out of respect, because they do not wish to injure their training partners, but on the other side of that, students should give respect to their training partner by tapping out when they are in checkmate. These are all lessons in humility that all athletes should be learning.

There is an unspoken rule about Training with younger students, lighter students, or female students, and that is that they must all be protected. Egotistical grapplers that intentionally injure, harm, show off, bully, or use too much pressure are simply being cowardly, and need to get their egos in check. These types of incidents can see a student expelled from their academy, as these types of athletes do not fit the culture of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Students should always be aware of their surroundings, as when they are rolling on the mats they must be respectful of other pairs that may venture close to their space. Even though there is usually someone watching, and will always run in to pause two athletes from rolling, it is still a good idea to have spatial awareness. Students should also be mindful of how they grip onto their training partners, as any intentional rough play can result in their training partner's receiving unnecessary cuts, and bruises. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be an extremely rough sport, but training inside of an academy, students need to be careful, and respectful of all of their training partners.

One of the most problematic points inside of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy, is students trying to learn more technically advanced movements. If an instructor is teaching a basic foundation move, then students should be respectful, and practise the moves that have been taught, instead of trying to take on more then they are capable of at that point in time. There is a time, and a place to practise more advanced manoeuvres, and this can be during open mat periods. Another problem that arises during training sessions is white belts trying to teach other white belts moves that they think they know. This can be an extremely dangerous proposition, as a white belt may not fully understand a technique, so if they teach another beginner, then this potentially could be problematic. There is a reason why instructors are called instructors, and that is because they are the ones teaching the techniques, and facilitating the training sessions, so students should be leaving it up to the hierarchy of club, and the coaching team.

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THE APPROPRIATE ETIQUETTE OF VISITING OTHER GYMS

Nowadays cross training has become extremely important in developing athletes for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. All academies want to gain experience against other academies, before heading into competition matches. There are some things that students need to know before they attempt to cross train at other gyms. First of all, students must check with their own instructor if this is a viable option, as some instructors do not like their students cross training at all. The second important notion is to contact the gym they want to cross train at, and ask their instructor if visiting is allowed at their academy. These aspects are very important, as being kind, and courteous is extremely important for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete. Once the all clear has been given, athletes must make sure to show up on time, because rocking up during the warm ups, or after is completely disrespectful to the class they are visiting. This is why an athlete needs to be early, not just for respect, but so they have enough time to sign the waiver forms, meet the instructor of the academy, and be ready to train. 

Renowned BJJ black belt Matt Arroyo has joined forces with BJJFanatics.com to bring you his complete toolbox of all things jiu jitsu.  Get your copy here!

etiquette of jiu jitsu

It is important to know that when visiting another Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy, that students should be rolling with the proper etiquette. This means not to go into the gym and head hunt members of the academy, as they will soon find that there is a target on their back. Rolling respectful means they don't necessarily need to go in trying to win every thirty seconds of the fight, but instead enjoying the roll, and having a play. Once a student gets to know the academy well, then they can up their competitiveness, and train harder against their academy members. One of the most important aspects about visiting another BJJ academy is knowing not to teach other students. If a student is a high level practitioner, and wishes to show some techniques to the visiting academy, then they need to ask permission of the head instructor first. This is extremely important, as it can be seen as disrespectful just walking into an academy, and teaching their students techniques. At the end of the day Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a community sport, and all visiting athletes need to be kind, courteous, and respectful of the ideologies the academy they are visiting. 

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