From various sources
Including Eric York, BJJ purple belt, world traveller, and Rolled up
“Most gyms will make you feel at home and the best gyms will make you feel like part of the family. This, however, is only AFTER you have shown them that you are a true student, and that you respect their mats and them for allowing you to train. Don’t start with the wrong attitude, contact the gym first and I mean it contact the gym first. Walking in unannounced is not only poor etiquette but can be aggravating for yourself and for the instructor. What if there is a “team only” seminar going on? Besides, it’s a complete waste of your time to head to the gym only to have to leave again which brings me to number two…
This one goes on EVERY “must-do” / “top-ten” list I will ever write regarding BJJ. Do NOT…repeat, do NOT show up expecting a free session even if you are of the same lineage
Nothing says more of a persons ego ie “I think I am more important than your paying members and therefore I am entitled to a free lesson”
How can it hurt? Paying for the training experience shows that you are courteous, polite and respectful person, not a freeloader
3. Call ahead: Give the school a phone call a week before going and confirm if they will be open, class schedule, if a specific instructor will be teaching, gi policy, if there is a mat fee, and if they have showers
4. Respect the mat fee: don’t haggle about the mat fee allow enough time to pay online
5. Arrive 20-minutes early: At your home school, you know the culture and routine down pat and can stroll into the school right before classes start with no issue. While on the road, arrive 20-minutes before classes start. Arriving right before class starts could cause headaches for an instructor
6. Be Humble: Introduce yourself to your classmates. Be friendly. Don’t bring up any tournaments you have previously won or talk up how great your school and coaches are even if they really are amazing.
7. Assimilate: Each school’s cultures and routines differ. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. As a guest in their house, fall in line and do their warm-ups and drills to the best of your ability. Some drills might be foreign to you. Just try your best. Also, during instruction, the technical instruction and style might differ from what you are used to doing. Drill and execute the moves as shown and give the technique and teachings a chance.
So here, in no particular order, is my list of top things you should or shouldn’t do when visiting a new gym:
1. Contact the gym ahead of time.
Let’s face it, no matter how often people throw around the phrase “leave your ego at the door”, there’s still a lot of ego in many grappling gyms. Don’t feel that the world owes you a free session even if you are from the same group
2. Don’t show up unannounced, or call 30 mins before a class hoping to sneak in for a free class .. check your ego at the door .. what makes you so special that you don’t place any value on the training
3. A simple phone call or email telling them who you are and why you want to visit will make you much more welcome. Tell them a bit about who you train with and your rank as well.
4. Ask about their gi policy.
For some academics, anything goes. Blue jacket, white pants? No problem. For other schools, it’s white gis only. I remember walking into Saulo Ribeiro’s academy with a grey gi, to hear him say, ‘that’s the ugliest gi I’ve ever seen!’ When in doubt, a white gi is always safe
5. Ask about sparring rules.
This is probably one of the touchier subjects. Break their rules and you might find yourself making an enemy real quick! By simply asking the instructor “are there any sparring rules I should know?” you will be on track to a good rolling session.
Words: Budo Jake (edited)
6. Always wear sandals or shoes when walking around the gym. Of course, we never wear shoes (unless wrestling shoes) on the mat, but resist the urge to walk barefoot to the locker room or bathroom. This is how germs are spread. Don’t be that guy.
7. Respect the instructor’s teaching. You might have been taught a different way of doing a move than the instructor shows. That’s fine, but keep it to yourself. There are many different ways of doing things. Take the opportunity to learn and be humble.
8. Pay the mat fee. Gyms have a fee for drop-in guests. This is called a mat fee. I hope these tips help you out. I have thoroughly enjoyed training in other gyms around the world. It’s a great way to make friends in a different place, even if you don’t speak their language!
Please book online (This has been our policy since 2003)
We currently do not have any payment systems at the Academy and we don’t take cash payments (sorry no exceptions) This allows the coaches to spend more time on classes, curriculum and upgrading the service at the members it also frees the coach from tedious billing issues that can distract them from coaching
This will also save you a wasted journey as you will appreciate that we cannot stop our class to “have a chat” With the above in mind we look forward to seeing your name in the intro/guest slot and subsequently on the mat.
Booking can be done via smartphones, please allow yourself at least 2 hrs before a session of your choice to book in as there is a booking cut-off period of 30 mins before the session starts and certain sessions fill up quickly.