Every sport or subculture has its specific set of rules and etiquette. When you are first introduced to the sport and art of brazilian jiu-jitsu, people will explain to you as you go.
Not knowing some of these rules of conduct will identify you as a “noob” and even worse, annoy your training partners.
Here are 10 important reminders of important bjj etiquette:
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1. Don’t walk on the mats in your street shoes. You transfer who-knows-what substances from the ground to the training area. This is important to prevent skin infections!
2. Cut your fingernails and toenails at the start of every week of training. I have seen people with toenails so long they could swoop down and snatch their dinner out of a lake! Don’t scratch your training partners while trying to get a grip on their kimono.
3. Show up with a clean smelling kimono. Trying to drill techniques with a partner with a funky gi is really nasty. You probably need more than one kimono if you are training more than once per week. You need to allow it to dry properly in between training sessions.
4. Don’t be the guy who purposely shows up late to miss warm-ups and spends an extra-long time tying his belt or taping his fingers to avoid the drills. It sets a poor example for the other students.
5. Show that you understand the technique being taught in the class before asking all of the “what if he does this?” questions. It is good to be curious about the counters and recounters, but let’s get the original technique correct first!
6. If you have the flu or a cold please stay off the mats, especially if there is a competition coming up. You run the risk of getting all of your teammates sick before an important event.
7. Don’t talk in the background when the instructor is teaching a technique. This is not the time for that hilarious one liner that just popped into your head. This is time to pay attention and allow everyone to focus on what the instructor is teaching.
8. Neither be a super stiff or a wet noodle when your partner is drilling the technique. You can drill with resistance after you have learned the basics of the move. How is it helpful if you are resisting your partner the first time they are attempting a move? Or just as bad, just flopping over limp when they try a sweep?
9. A big one many students have said to me: Don’t go into the bathroom barefoot and then track who knows what bacteria back onto the training surface.
10. Cellphones in the training area are not appreciated. The class time is an oasis way from the rest of your worldly cares. Carrying on a full volume conversation or loud ringtones breaks the atmosphere of the academy and is disrespectful to the other students.
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What are your bjj pet peeves?
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Taipei, Taiwan