It’s important to know and fully understand all of your academy’s rules and courtesy if you expect to progress in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. These rules may vary slightly between academies and associations, but the spirit of them is the same. I will list off the rules and courtesy as a base for this article as printed in my Marcello C. Monteiro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association handbook and briefly discuss the importance of each.
1. Arrive 10-15 minutes early to class.
This is to ensure you have time to change into your GI and be on the mat before your instructor begins class. Too often people make a habit of coming in late to class, and that is unacceptable. It’s better that you show up late than not at all, and if you get delayed in traffic or something it’s not that big of a deal, just don’t make a habit of it. Plan accordingly and leave early enough to accommodate any possible delays.
2. If you arrive late to class, wait for an instructor to invite you on the floor.
This is because of tradition, respect for your instructor, and as to not disrupt the class. Stand patiently at the edge of the mats, wait for your instructor’s approval, then bow and enter the mats.
3. Remove all jewelry, watches and sharp objects.
Removing all of these things should be obvious as they may injure yourself or your partner when rolling.
4. Keep equipment in designated are ready for class.
Ask your instructor if you are unclear where to store your gear and equipment.
5. No shoes allowed on the mat, they must be kept in the proper area.
Mats are expensive, and can easily be scuffed up by shoes. Not to mention the sanitation issue of dirty shoes walking on the mats that people roll on. Store your shoes in the appropriate place and sanitize your feet before entering the mats.
6. No unsupervised sparring allowed.
Your instructor will tell specify who is allowed to supervise sparring. Usually instructors or upper belts.
7. Focus all your energy for the class you are involved in.
Don’t get distracted by conversations with your partner or any other distraction during class. It demands your full attention and focus.
8. Do not teach any techniques you learn to anyone without instructor approval.
Self explanatory. Don’t teach your friends anything to show them how cool it is, and don’t get carried away helping the new person in class that you teach them the next step in the technique. And don’t ever teach anyone anything as a white belt. Your instructor will tell you when you can start helping out lower belts, and what to teach them.
9. You should always have good hygiene when coming in to train. Your gi and workout clothes should be clean and you should keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed.
That pretty much says it all, and I’ve got more detailed information in my Previous article written for GrapplersPlanet.com Mat Hygiene.
10. You are responsible for techniques used outside the academy.
1. Line up according to belt rank or student time.
If it’s your first time at a Jiu-Jitsu class, you’ll line up at the back of the line. Don’t worry, you’ll move up the ranks before you know it.
2. Guests watching you in class should always remain quiet.
Don’t do anything that might be disruptive to the class. Talking on the phone, having loud conversations, crying children, etc. Take anything loud or disruptive outside until it’s concluded.
3. Leave your ego at the door. This is a learning environment only!
One of the most important rules. Don’t get wrapped up in tapping or not being tapped by someone else. We are all teammates. And don’t think you’re too good or not good enough to roll with someone else. We are all here to help each other grow.
4. Pick up any garbage you see and throw it away.
Treat your academy with respect, and keep it clean.
5. Remember all your belongings so don’t leave them at the school.
Be responsible for your belongings. Left behind belongings can clutter up an academy’s gear area, and can become unsanitary.
6. No gum or food allowed on the workout floor.
On or off the mats. Eat when you get home. Don’t chew gum when rolling, that’s insane. It can fall out and get on the mats or your partner, and it means you aren’t wearing a mouth-guard. The only guy I know who chewed gum when rolling ended up with expensive dental work because of an injury.
7. Bow to the classroom before entering or exiting.
Bow before entering or getting of the mats.
1. Address all instructors and staff by their preferred names.
Ask if you aren’t sure.
2. Always bow to your instructor when you see them.
This would be a little overly formal at our school, but it’s a traditional courtesy. At least greet your instructor, and shake their hand.
3. Remember to say thank you when you are offered a correction.
It shows your humility. Never argue when corrected.
4. Always demonstrate a humble attitude when in the presence of an instructor.
Never argue with your instructor, or go against them. Always demonstrate humility and loyalty.
5. When an instructor gives you directions, you should attempt to follow through with their request immediately.
In the Marines, we called this an “Implied Order”. If an Officer or NCO says you SHOULD do something, you take it as a direct order and do it immediately.
6. Keep idle talk to a minimum when in class.
A personal pet peeve of mine. I’m a gregarious enough guy outside of class, but in class I’m quiet and focused on the instructor. Remember you’re in class to learn, not to try out your stand up routine. The instructor should always be the center of attention, not you.
7. Raise your hand to ask a question.
It’s just respectful. Don’t interrupt your instructor with a question, let him get to it in his own time.
8. Your instructors are friendly but they are not your friends. Do not treat them like a “buddy”.
Very important. There is a different level of respect between instructor/student and friends, so when your instructor becomes your friend the level of respect drops, and that can lead to some dangerous scenarios. Stay respectful.
1. Do not touch any blood if an accident occurs. Ask an instructor to get cleaning supplies.
An obvious safety concern. If bleeding, get off the mats and stop the bleeding, and clean yourself up as much as possible. If there is a significant amount of blood on your GI, quit training for the day until you wash your uniform.
2. Never misuse techniques in training.
Always apply submissions with care, and release when your opponent taps. Never attempt to simply hurt or intentionally injure your opponent.
3. Develop communication with your training partner.
Poor communication is usually the cause of most training injuries. Like failure to understand your partner is tapping. Tap loudly, and verbally if possible. Use your foot if you cannot tap verbally or with your hands (it happens!).
4. Go at a level that you and your training partner can handle.
There’s no point in injuring yourself or your partner. Don’t be afraid to ask an upper belt to go light with you. You don’t have anything to prove trying to roll outside your capabilities.
5. Take your time learning a new technique.
Cranking on a submission you don’t understand is a good way to injure your partner. Don’t rush when you’re learning a new technique, practice it frequently, and be gentle when applying it in a roll.
6. Go only as far as your body will let you.
Always challenge yourself to reach new levels, but don’t do anything you aren’t capable of. Only you know your limits.
7. Know where the first aid kit is located, in case of a minor accident.
This is something your instructor should show you your first day. Ask if you don’t know where it’s located.
So there you have it, all of the rules and courtesy listed in my association handbook. It’s important that you not only know these rules, but live by them. Too often WE see them ignored, and that always leads to negative consequences. Stay humble, follow the rules, work hard, and We’ll see you on the mats!
LEAVE EGO AT THE DOOR!!! IT HAS NO SPACE ON THE MATS!!!