A little advice for the New GB Student

We’ve seen a number of brand new students posting on the GB Online Community board and this article is written with them in mind.
Starting your training at a Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu school is an exciting time for new students. Every class seems to bring a new technique that provides an answer to a problem that you have been having. You are meeting a lot of cool, positive people and are getting in better physical condition.
Every Gracie Barra school has a list of guidelines for how the school is run that serves to create the GB school culture and ensure the best possible and safest experience for everyone.
Have you checked out the GB Online Instagram?
There are, however, a number of unwritten rules in every jiu-jitsu school that is also very important to a smooth running BJJ class. Here are a few random tips that you may not find posted on the wall of the school, but nevertheless are important to know.
1- What is the number 1 “no-no” in the jiu-jitsu class if you polled a group of BJJ students?
By far the #1 answer is the unpopularity of the “smelly gi guy”. The student who did not wash their kimono after the previous training session and malodorous bacteria have multiplied giving the gi a pronounced and pungent aroma. Oftentimes the student themselves can not detect the foul odor…but their partner sure can!
Since jiu-jitsu is such a close contact activity, it’s impossible to avoid the discomfort if one of the training partners has a stinky gi. It is your responsibility to make certain that you have a clean, freshly washed kimono and rash guard for each class. For practical reasons, you should have a minimum of 2 gi’s so that if you haven’t had time to do laundry, you have an extra, clean gi available.
Don’t be the “smelly gi guy”!
2- Tap if you are caught in a submission. 
This one seems obvious but all too often, there is a lesser experienced student who tries to tough out being caught in a Kimura or straight foot lock and….”aarrgghh!”…they end up with a painfully strained tendon and joint. This has happened to nearly all of us jiu-jitsu students at some time or another and you learn that it is a good idea to tap sooner rather than later. A sore elbow can keep you off the mat for several classes and serves as a reminder that you are not superhuman.
Moreover, your training partners don’t want to roll with someone who refuses to tap like it’s the finals of the World Championships. No one wants to be responsible for hurting another classmate during regular training. It is your responsibility to know your physical limits and simply tap when you get caught in a position from which you can not escape.
No one wants to get trapped during a roll. But over the years of your training jiu-jitsu, recognize that you will tap hundreds of times. It’s no big deal. It’s just training and tapping is a normal part of it. Tapping doesn’t mean that you “lost” or that you aren’t any good. It just means that your training partner executed a technique well and caught you. Tap early, retie your belt, bump fists and try again!
3- Who tapped who? It is considered bad etiquette to talk about who tapped who during training.
Because it is only training. It’s not a competition (you will get your chance to compete at a tournament soon enough if you are aching to compete). During training, we try new positions that we aren’t good at and often fail. We try to correct weaknesses in our games and lose position and can get tapped.
But it’s part of good training to experiment and try different things. That purple belt who you saw tapping to the blue belt may have been trying to add a new technique to his/her game and it didn’t work that time. Instead of sticking with only their strengths, they opened up their game to try to get better.
Too much gossip about who beat who can create ill feelings among classmates and have the undesired effect of making students NOT want to try new things in rolling for fear that other students will see them having to tap.
Remember…it’s just training and the primary purpose is not to treat it as an in-class competition, but instead to have fun and learn.
See also on GB Blog: GB Student Question: “What do I look for in choosing a jiu-jitsu school?” https://graciebarra.com/gb-news/gb-student-question-what-do-i-look-for-in-choosing-a-jiu-jitsu-school/
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt