There are many do’s and don’ts in the sport of BJJ. The rules in place typically get put there to insure the safety of yourself and your training partners.
There are, however, unspoken rules you won’t find hanging on the walls in your academy.
These are rules you might have noticed naturally throughout your training, or someone may have had to explain to you afterwards. Serving more as guidelines to accelerate your progress, we offer ten Unspoken Rules of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu make that will hopefully help make the experience more enjoyable for you and your training partners.
It’s not always about winning
Win or lose, we’re here to get better! Sometimes to get better at techniques we aren’t good at yet means messing up and getting our guards passed. Maybe we tried something new in a dominate position and got reversed. No one is keeping track of points when we’re training, so win or lose, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re getting better.
Go into training with a goal in mind
Why did you show up today? What are you working on? What is your goal for the day? These are important questions to ask while training because where your focus goes, energy flows. If you don’t know what want to improve, how will you get better? The answer can include simple goals such as pushing the pace to get your cardio up or working on a specific escape or sweep.
Quit trying so hard!
Trust me, the upper belts are more impressed if you’re able to flow through positions and work good technique. If you feel like an upper belt is putting it on you or getting too rough, you’re probably trying too hard, and they want to secure a position so you don’t accidently hurt them.
Take care of your training partners
Again, we’re all here to get better, and it’s totally ok to push yourself and your training partners — just make sure to check in with them as you go. Are they having fun? If not, it may be time to lay off the gas a little.
Don’t crank submissions! If you’re going for an arm lock, for example, secure the position first then apply pressure to get the tap. We want to make sure our friends can come back to class so we have someone to train with tomorrow!
We talk about this one a lot, but it’s important enough to bring up again! Always wash you Gis after each class. Dirty, stinky Gis are a good way to get avoided during class but also a breeding ground for bacteria that may cause skin infections which then get spread on the mats. Don’t be that person! Also, check your breath and nails before class!
Match the strength of smaller partners
This one is huge! You’ll have times where you end up training with someone a lot smaller than you, or maybe a teenager who’s just moved to the adult program.
Matching your strength allows them the ability to work through positions to get better, and it gives you very valuable time to focus purely on your technique. Pair this with taking care of your partner, and you will both gain from the experience.
Ask for feedback
Check in with your training partners and instructors on what you can improve. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know, and we might be making the same mistakes over and over again.
This is a good opportunity to get the feedback you need to take your game to the next level.
What goes around comes around
The type of person you show up as on the mats will define the experience you get. If you’re extremely rough and aggressive when rolling, you WILL be treated that way in return! If you can’t figure out why everyone is beating the crap out of you, that might be it.
If you come in with a positive attitude and help the newer students, you may get a little more guidance from the upper belts, and they may take it a little easier on you.
Gassed out or tired? Roll anyway! Work defense!
We have all had those days where we feel we need a break. This is where the real growth happens. If you are gassed out, keep rolling and focus on your defense and breathing.
This is where you begin to build your cardio; you have to push past this point to be able to roll harder and longer next time!
Communication is key
This is one of the most important rule! We’re all responsible for our own safety, but if you feel like your training partner is going too hard speak up.
If you’re nursing an injury, speak up before your roll so your partner knows. Similarly, if a training partner is making you feel uncomfortable, say something to your instructor. If your instructor is making you feel uncomfortable, bring it up to another instructor or someone higher up in the organization.
Our goal at Easton is to make Jiu Jitsu accessible and inclusive for everyone!