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No Rest for the Wicked. Tips for Training While You Travel.
For those of us who can not survive without training BJJ for any extended amount of time, we may choose to visit other academies while away from home. Maybe you’re headed for summer vacation or working out of town. Whatever the case may be, you need your BJJ fix, and missing class due to travel is not an acceptable option for you.
Training at other academies can be an amazing experience. You’ll make new friends, learn new concepts, and the rolling can almost be competition esque, in that you have no idea what to expect from the new group of BJJ players you’ll encounter that day. More than likely they will all be just as interested to train with you as well.
What’s the proper way to approach training away from home? Here’s a few tips to make the experience smooth and enjoyable for both parties:
- Make sure your Professor is aware of your intentions to train out of town. More than likely he/she can assist you with finding the right place. Other than the help you’ll most likely receive, its good practice to keep your Professor in the loop. You’ll be representing your affiliation at a different academy.
- ALWAYS call first. As a school owner, I can tell you this is greatly appreciated. Schedule your training, don’t just show up and expect to jump on the mat. Always contact the academy first and give them a chance to prepare for your arrival.
- Enquire about a mat fee. Many of the schools I’ve trained at while traveling have been generous to let me train for the day without a mat fee. I believe this is the nature of many BJJ Professors, but ALWAYS offer to pay.
- Own a blank white gi. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an affiliate academy of your own school to train at. But there is of course a chance that this will not be the case. Respect their affiliation and professors by wearing a blank white gi, unless they’ve communicated to you otherwise. White is the most commonly worn and accepted gi color at BJJ academies all over the world. You can pick one up for a relatively low cost. Store it, and keep it clean for travel.
- Be aware of the academy rules. Observe the other students and ask questions if you’re not sure. Every academy is different, with varying standards, rules and expectations of their students. Do your best to align with the academy guidelines.
- Don’t be a d***. When it’s time to roll, feel things out. Communicate, match pace, start slow. There’s no quicker way to have a bad experience than acting like a fool during the first round of live training. People will be watching, and if you dole out mistreatment, or behave maliciously, expect to receive it back tenfold.
Training while traveling can be a great experience. Make sure you do everything in your power to make it a great experience for the academy you’re visiting as well. They’ll appreciate your efforts, and you’ll be welcome to visit again next time you’re in town!
Don't forget to take your laptop with you so you can access your BJJ Fanatics account. When you're not visiting an academy and training, it's always helpful to keep your mind in the game with instructional resources. No better time than on the road to check out Will Grundhauser's "Side Control Destruction: Gi and No Gi". You can get it here!