“ The best instructors not only teach submissions and sweeps, but more importantly influence the lives of their students.”
For most of the bjj students, they can’t wait to get to the school after work for class. Some of the guys never seem to leave the academy and earn the respected name “mat rat” and the envy of those who have many responsibilities and can not always come to the academy as often as they like.
Why do we love going to the bjj school so much?
Here are 4 reasons that we love going to our jiu-jitsu school:
1) Training environment
I have seen tiny academies in Brazil that could contain only two rolling pairs, all the way up to HUGE mat spaces that could easily contain 50+ students. Some gyms are simply mats in a garage – while some are part of a spanking new MMA facility with cage, weights, cross fit, muay thai and everything you could want!
The truth is, you can good even in the simplest of mat spaces. The important thing is that you have an environment where you can build your skills among supportive training partners and hopefully, solid instruction from a black belt.
Many times, while pulling on my kimono at the start of a training session, I have looked at the empty mats waiting and thought “You can train, drill, learn, build ANYTHING you want here. This is the place you can get to black belt!”
The academy is your workshop and provides all the tools you need to be the best that you can in jiu-jitsu. The rest is up to us!
2) Friends & training partners
Compared to exercise like weight training or running which are very solitary activities, in bjj your training partners are an indispensable part of your training. But more than merely a training partner, most of us are fortunate to make some of our closest friends in the academy.
The common interest of bjj is a great starting point for a friendship. In general it is easier to relate to people who have a positive “can do!” attitude in life and choose to spend their time on the mat rolling instead of the popular yet self destructive “happy hour” of alcohol and cigarettes.
Your training partners can inspire you to push through obstacles. Much of your knowledge of jiu-jitsu will come from your training partners. We need our training partners to push us past our limits and make us grow.
Most of us have a rival on the mat who taps us one class but we manage to dominate the roll the next class. These friendly rivalries are invaluable to make us achieve our potential in jiu-jitsu!
read also: 4 Ways to be a Good Partner in Bjj Class
3) Your Instructor
Most of us have been fortunate enough to meet an instructor who is not only knowledgeable about jiu-jitsu techniques, but exemplifies the jiu-jitsu lifestyle as well. The best instructors are solid leaders who have years (if not decades) of experience in jiu-jitsu and show the way for the rest of us.
Black belt professors can help you build your own individual game for your body type, help you to identify holes in your game and provide much-needed encouragement when you encounter obstacles in your training.
Some younger students of bjj may look at their instructor as a mentor:
- how to treat others in a respectful, educated manner;
- how to lead others by example;
- how to inspire and help others;
- how to treat those students who look up to them for their abilities in jiu-jitsu
The best instructors not only teach submissions and sweeps, but more importantly influence the lives of their students.
4) Sanctuary from daily worries
It was boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard who famously said: “When I train, I am free”.
And this should be your mind-set when you bow and step on the mats each time at the academy. To me the bow is symbolic not only to show respect to the art and academy, but to say to yourself “now it’s time to improve myself physically, mentally and spiritually through jiu-jitsu”.
During the class time you set aside your worries and “to do lists”. Forget about the malfunctioning air conditioner, your work politics and the Federal interest rate. This is YOUR time to take care of your body. Many people spend more time in a day brushing their teeth than exercising the entire rest of their bodies.
Some academies have rules about allowing cell phones during class time. This helps to keep the concentration on the class and free from distractions.
I asked a University Professor of Economics (who was extremely busy individual) how he found the time to continue to train martial arts given his schedule. He explained “I HAVE to! It keeps me healthy and productive in all of the other areas of my life.”
In addition to having a killer armlock or choke, bjj helps us to recharge our mental batteries and contributes to our emotional and psychological health.
Why do you love going to your bjj academy?
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia