JIU JITSU DOJO
The term Jiu Jitsu dojo gets thrown around from time to time, but in the modern day of combative grappling, a BJJ dojo is mainly called an academy or a school. The term dojo dates back to the ancient form of Japanese Jujitsu, and in some places around the world, BJJ academies are still called dojo's. A BJJ dojo is a place of honour, as it resembles a school of learning that is sacred to the traditional warrior. Nowadays the modern grappler embodies the heart of the traditional warrior, as they carry on the sacred meaning of the jujitsu dojo. The art has not lost its traditional values, as most practitioners still bow as they walk on and off the mats. To bow at the mats is a sign of respect, as all practitioners hold the values of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu extremely highly.
What This Article Covers:
The customs in ancient Japan are among some of the most amazing, and famous cultures in the history of the world. Japan has many different traditions when it comes to Martial Arts, one of their most iconic and traditional terms is the dojo. In Japan a dojo predates any form of Martial Arts academy, as the term dojo was reserved for Buddhist monks to meditate, and pray to their gods. The dojo was a place to go and study and learn about the nature of human existence. The meaning of dojo is broken down into two parts as the first part is Do, meaning road or pathway. The second part is Jo, meaning structure, or a great castle. The translation of dojo would be interpreted into a place where someone can go down a path of self actualisation, as this is the only way for Buddhist people to understand the nature of all human life.
The traditional Japanese dojo, was a place where students could go to embody the education of the simple practices. The training halls of a Japanese dojo were intended for students to dedicate themselves to the examination of their most inner aspirations, inspirations, desires, and delusions. Having less distractions from the outside world meant that students could focus intently on all of these innermost thoughts. The traditional Japanese warrior used these principles to improve on many of their attributes, like jiu jitsu stretches, as they looked to lose their fear of death, and condition themselves to live with physical, and psychological battle scars. These old traditions helped the Samurai rationalise their thought processes, and consolidate their nerves, making them calm and resolved. This kind of training was a spiritual, mental and physical forging process that was very similar to what a Buddhist monk would go through in their sacred temple.
The training facilities began to take on an extremely valuable significance, as many of the students began using the term dojo, which derived straight from Buddhist tradition. This term was now recognised as a place for students to come and study the path of budo, which was the way of the warrior. A dojo doesn't have to be a structure with a roof and walls, the term dojo is more spiritual in essence, as even a park can be a dojo. What makes a dojo is the people that come together, as it resembles the traits that are similar to a family. The ideology behind the dojo means to be within a pure and true heart, which has been interpreted from a famous Japanese phrase “Jikishin Kore Dojo Nari”. Every student in a Japanese dojo will practise the same techniques, but yet they all can experience different levels of learning. Students will create their own experiences by embodying the spirit of the warrior.
WHAT TO EXPECT TRAINING AT A BJJ DOJO
Training at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dojo can offer a diverse range of different learning techniques. Students can expect to train, and learn a bunch of jiu jitsu exercises that have fundamental principles, and concepts that will help them to understand movement through entirely new eyes. When a student first signs up, and joins a BJJ dojo, they can expect to sign waivers which prevents them from suing their coaches in case of any serious injury. This is an extremely important aspect, as a dojo can be extremely vulnerable if a student tries to seek any form of remuneration from incurring injuries. A BJJ dojo is all about community spirit, as it can offer something most Martial Art dojos cannot, and that is to be a part of a family.
Students will then learn a multitude of different functional warm ups, which includes jiu jitsu core workouts, strength and conditioning, mobility exercises, and technical strategy application. Many of these Jiu Jitsu warm ups include functional movements that have direct links to various concepts in the sport. Some of these movements may seem strange, or hard to execute but you can rest assured every movement has a unique function in BJJ. Once a student has done a comprehensive warm up, they can then expect to be taught 2 or 3 techniques by their instructors. Usually the instructor will show a series of moves that link together, which can be anything from stand up take down techniques, to guard passing, sweeping, positional control, transitional movement, or submission finishes. Once the instructor has detailed the technique to the class, students will then find a partner and practise the technique several times, before moving onto the next technique.
After the technique portion of the training session is done, instructors can sometimes incorporate drilling into the training. In BJJ there are specific drills that students will do to practise different aspects of the game. Some of these drills could be bjj conditioning workouts, or could be games that include sweeping and passing. This is where two students will match up in the middle of the mats, as one student has a goal to simply pass the guard, whilst the other student tries to sweep them. This kind of learning will benefit many students, as it can be a good way to practise all of these unique aspects of BJJ. To end the night instructors will usually set the clock for 5 minute rounds of rolling, which is where every student can basically pick and choose who they want to roll with, as they battle test their techniques to the submission.
Another expectation of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dojo is the guidance and camaraderie that students will receive. All BJJ dojos are extremely friendly and encouraging, as they are there to offer students detailed guidance through this rigorous training system. BJJ can be an extremely long journey, so there is a necessity for instructors, and higher level training partners in a dojo, to offer guidance and understanding, this is crucial to the development of all students at a BJJ dojo. Students will also feel the exceptional atmosphere at a BJJ dojo, as this warm and welcoming place will offer friendship and camaraderie at an extremely high level. One aspect that sets BJJ apart from the rest of the Martial Arts world is their ability to bring everyone around them into the sport, this is through encouragement, understanding, and camaraderie.
There is an unspoken etiquette that students must abide by when they train at a BJJ dojo. Students must come to training with a happy and encouraging attitude, as this type of atmosphere is infectious. Training bjj 3 times a week at a dojo will help a student understand the proper etiquette that is expected. Students should not be discouraged in any way, as all students learn at different levels. This means that sometimes students may partner up with a training partner who could be significantly lower ranked, and may need extra help in order to understand even the simplest of techniques. It is important for students to identify this, and show extra understanding, and not belittle or berate anybody inside the dojo. BJJ is about inspiring other students to become better versions of themself, this includes physically, mentally and spiritually.
It is also common etiquette to come to training clean, as showering and having good hygiene is crucial to every student in the dojo. A bad practise would be to come straight from work covered in dirt, as this can only help spread germs and infections throughout the dojo. In most walks of life the unspoken rule is to show good hygiene. A BJJ dojo especially demands that all students wash their gear, and wash themselves before and after training, and make sure they are well groomed. This includes cutting their fingers and toenails to help stop any spread of infections. It is also important to remove all jewelry, or any clothing that may have zips or other issues that could cause injury to their training partners.
One of the most important factors in basic Jiu Jitsu etiquette is about students coming to training sick. It is imperative that all students stay away from the dojo if they have any sort of colds or illnesses that are contagious, as a simple cold, flu, or virus can rip through a BJJ camp, at an extremely rapid rate. It's just bad practise to pass on sickness to other members of a dojo, so students should know to stay home and get healthy before they come to training. Sometimes this is unavoidable, as a student may not realise they are sick, but for the most part they need to stay as vigilant as possible, and exercise caution when it comes to these kinds of ailments.
THE RULES INSIDE A DOJO
There are many rules inside a BJJ dojo, as rules are what will keep a bunch of students safe, and able to continue to train in such a high intensity Martial Art. Students must always wear footwear while they are off the mats in a dojo, as germs can carry from their feet onto the mats. Whilst a student steps on to the mats they must remove their shoes, as it is a cardinal sin to walk on the mats wearing shoes. Some dojo's require students to bow at their instructors, and at the mats before they enter, but this is not the same at all BJJ dojo's, as some are more relaxed than others. A lot of BJJ practitioners will just bow at the mats anyway as a sign of respect to the Brazilian art.
Students must not be reckless, or use excessive force whilst training at a BJJ dojo. Even though this Martial Art is highly intense with dynamic transitions, and dangerous submissions, students must exercise caution and not intentionally injure their training partners. This Means to be careful when they have their training partners in submissions, as any reckless, or prolonged submissions can result in serious injury, or even death. It is also extremely important for a BJJ student to identify when they are beaten and tap out, as being stubborn has no place in a BJJ dojo. Showing humility is one of the crucial aspects of becoming good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Some of the other rules include; white belts should not be attempting any kind of dangerous maneuvers like heel hooks, or neck cranks, as these techniques are reserved for the higher level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes that have the experience. Students must leave the coaching to the coaches, as what can happen at some BJJ dojo's, is that lower ranked students think they can teach their training partners extra movements. This can be detrimental to the learning of a student, as there is a reason why instructors are higher level. Students should stick to the teachings that their instructor gives them, and steer clear of trying to teach beginners. White belts can be extremely impressionable, and the concepts they learn at their early stages in BJJ can mold their game later on down the track.
One of the biggest rules in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dojo is to respect all members of the academy. Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu attracts people from all walks of life, and with a uniquely diverse cultural, and age demographic range of students, everyone has the right to feel safe, and be respected on and off the mats. Showing other members of a BJJ dojo respect, will only add to the amazing atmosphere that surrounds a BJJ dojo. Training in BJJ can be an extremely fun and rewarding combat sport, and being involved in a BJJ dojo is one of the best choices that people can make for the development of themself.
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