So you have decided to take the plunge. You have heard lots of your friends take about it, you have seen a few Fight 2 Win Pro’s and EBI’s, so you ask yourself What you have to lose. You call a buddy and go and try a few classes. Boom! You are hooked! You can’t believe you waited so long to start. The Jiu Jitsu bug has bitten you and now you are a slave to the mat just like the rest of us. Welcome to the club.
You are 6 months into training, you live and breath JiuJitsu. All your clothes are all BJJ related, you say OSS after everything, heck, you may even catch yourself bowing into rooms out of habit. It’s ok.. We all do it. You even managed to get a couple of stripes of your white belt, so things are looking up. Then one day it happens, the Real World come and messes with your reality. “Johnson, you and Smith are needed in Timbuktu,Arizona for the next few weeks to handle the current crisis at their office. You’re expected there Monday.” You smile and accept because that full-time sponsorship you applied for with that Huge BJJ company didn’t go thru, and you got bills to pay. Immediately, you start to think about class and how much you are going to miss out on. You just started getting down that one submission you have been working on and you don’t want to lose progress. Then it hits you, you can go train at another BJJ Academy while you are gone. Problem solved. Hmmmm not so fast. Although it seems like the answer to your BJJ problems, there are a lot of things to consider before venturing outside of your academy to train. Especially if it is going to be for an extended period of time. So let’s get right into it. I have had to continue training at other Academies from time to time for work related reasons, and through my experiences, both good and bad, I have come to discover a few things that might make your visit a little more pleasing and comfortable. Down below are a few things you may want to do or have done before you leave. Also, I have added a few more ideas and insight on what to expect while you are a guest at other Academies.
#1 TAKE CARE OF HOME FIRST
Before you get all gun ho on training else where, it might be a good idea to let your head instructor know what your plans are. Foremost out of respect for your academy and your instructor, however, they might be able to provide some insight as to where you could go. Since your head instructor probably has more years under his belt than you, he or she has probably had the opportunity to train at other academies as well. If you come from an academy that has other associations or sister schools, it may be a wise decision to go to those locations as opposed to others you are curious about. There are schools that have strict rules as to who is allowed to train where and so forth. Which brings me to the next thing on the list.
#2 DO YOUR RESEARCH
Like I stated previously, your Academy may have another association or sister academy that may be better for you to visit as opposed to going to a completely different academy. If you are visiting a sister academy go ahead and call and inform the head instructor that you will be visiting. While you are talking to him or her, you can ask about the schedule and any specifics they might have. If you happen to be visiting a different academy, you may want to take a few extra steps to ensure your visit will be enjoyable. Word of mouth is a powerful resource. Tell your friends about your decision, chances are either they know or know of someone who attends or has attended the academy in question. Other Academies may have developed a reputation for being a Comp Style academy which may be a little rougher than you are wanting. You can tell a lot about an academy based on how they treat visitors and lower ranks. Even though we would like to think all Jiu Jitsu academies are nice and welcoming, it’s just not the case. There are certain academies who frown upon their students traveling else where to cross-train with different practitioners, and even though they themselves may post an “Open Mat” type of event. It becomes nothing more than an Egotistical battle for dominance over all new-comers and visitors. Best avoid that kind of situation, unless you’re a glutton for punishment. So doing your research will surely pay off for future visits, in addition, make sure and verify what type or color of Kimono they allow in class. Some schools have become specifically a No-Gi school where you normal Gi will not be used. Make sure and note the schedule as well. Make note of any Open Mats or Drill classes they may offer. Which brings me to #3.
#3 FOLLOW THE HOUSE RULES
All academies have a set of House Rules, either written or spoken. It is a must that you ask about these. They could be as simple as always wear footwear in restrooms at all times, to as complicated as never asking higher ranks to roll, bow out procedures, and having colored days to indicate the pace or seriousness of the rolls. What it all comes down to respect. Treat others as you want to be treated. Respect the Academy, Instructors, and the students and everything will be great. We are all on the journey together. Through honor and respect, we will all continue to grow and learn from each other. Next time life comes and tries to throw you for a loop, don’t fret. Follow these easy steps and they will ensure you will have a great experience visiting other academies in the future. Until next time, see yall on the mats. Oss.