Hey guys! It's Alex again. Actually.. it's always going to be me. Milton is not the blogging type. But who knows, maybe one day, but not today!
Let's discuss academy etiquette! This can be a large and confusing subject as there are many hidden and unspoken rules. If you're deep in this game of jiu jitsu you should be familiar with many of them (but a refresher is always nice). However, if you are on the newer side of training these will help guide you through the long history of academy rules and the why's.
Wear a clean gi. Never come to class in a gi you've already worn and sweat in before. That is just flat out disgusting. Please do not leave it in your car either for an extended amount of time. This is your daily uniform- wear it with pride and honor. It reflects who and how are you are as a person.
Make sure your nails a cut and short - no one wants a toe nail scratch across the side of their face.
Remember to wear your shoes while walking around the academy- and ESPECIALLY in the bathroom. Absolutely NO BARE FEET in the bathroom. Lets think this one through shall we? Barefoot in the bathroom means your feet track the gross germs from the ground straight onto the mat that we all train on- and get our face smashed into. Would you lick the bathroom floor? I highly doubt.
Bow and/or immediately greet your professor first before doing anything else on the mat.
Greet all black belts with a handshake.
If you are late to class, come anyways. We understand you have a life and respect that work can sometimes get in the way. Please just be courteous to our class and make sure when you do come in, you're quiet and greet your professor before jumping in to training.
Picking a drilling partner is one of the best things about jiu jitsu that we didn't know existed. But remember when you're drilling you don't want to go 100% and this is not the time to show your strength. We are all learning here. Techniques should be done with ease, and at about 40% resistance. The goal with drilling techniques is to learn how the body moves and reacts. If we over power everything we won't see the purpose for detailed placements.
In your own academy it is best, as a lower belt; to be asked to roll. It's silently frowned upon if a white or blue belt asks a brown or black belt to roll. What about purple? Purple belts are floaters. In my personal opinion they can ask any belt color but black. Black belts always should ask someone to roll and will always have the priority and preference. It's been a long standing sign of respect. Every academy is different and i feel my outlook is a middle ground. I've seen some academies that are more strict than ours and some that are on the other side of the spectrum with no rules about asking others to roll. If you're ever not sure- just confirm and ask your Professor. They'll be happy to let you know their opinion.
Speaking of rolling, if your academy is tight on space or you happen to be sparring next to higher belts that are training as well; they should always get space priority. What does that mean? That means MOVE. Stop your training and move to the side to allow the higher belts to spar uninterrupted.
When lining up before and after class, most academies line up by belt level so find your spot on the mat next to your group and there will be no awkward running around and lost looks.
There are 3 main gi colors- its tradition to stick with those to play it safe. Those colors are white, blue, and black. Here's a traveling tip- If you're visiting an academy bring a white gi to train in. White is perceived as most respectful and IF there's a gi color rule; it's usually "white gi only"
Hopefully these general rules will help you feel more comfortable on the mat and if you think of any more- let me know and I'll add them to the list!