Mat Etiquette

 Hansen Hit Squad at the infamous House of Pain North

Hansen Hit Squad at the infamous House of Pain North


You've taken the plunge and started training Jiu-Jitsu, but what are those unwritten rules that you really need to be aware of? Here are 10 jiu jitsu etiquette rules every BJJ newcomer should know.  This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a great start.

1 – Don’t walk on the mats in your shoes or flip flops.

The gym mats are expensive and anything caught in your shoes could potentially rip or tear them. This then leads to the inevitability that it will need replacing as the tear grows and gets worse, this would not make you popular with your coach.  The other side of this is all the nasty stuff that ends up on the sidewalk potentially is on the soles of your shoes.  You walk on the mat in your shoes, nasty stuff transfers to the mat, which we then train on.

2 – Please wear flip flops or shoes when you go to the toilet.

Accidents and splashes do happen guys, what you don’t want to do is walk through the result of the accident. Then walking it back in onto the mat.  Itis not a pleasant thought that I may end up with my face in this.  Oh and remember to always wash your hands afterwards. There are community sandals positioned outside both restrooms, so there is no need to retrieve yours from the entrance.

3 – If you have any cuts tape them up.

You may end up using duct tape so it sticks, but your training partners will mind this far less than you bleeding onto them.  Especially if they have a white gi.

4 – Don’t forget to cut your nails.

It’s so easy to scrape or claw someone when your nails are only a little bit long, with all the grips and escapes going on.  Plus these annoying little cuts seem to take forever to heal up properly. AND you have to tape them up every time you train to protect and stop them bleeding.

5 – Wash your uniform after every use.

Getting your face stuck in the stinky armpit of an unwashed gi or rash guard is really nasty. You will not get people rushing to partner with you if you don’t wash your stuff. Also, there is the potential for skin infections for you and your partner from the growing bacteria.

6 – Now your gi is clean, keep yourself clean too.

This is just really basic hygiene. No one wants to roll with a stinky person even in a clean gi, it is really off putting.

7 – Turn up to class on time.

Real life can sometimes get in the way and this is understood.  But showing up consistently late will get noticed. Stop skipping warmups. It shows a lack of respect for your coach and your training partners.

8 – Focus on learning and leave teaching to the instructors.

This rule can vary quite a bit depending on the location. The reality is the upper belts instructing have likely worked through the problem you're facing.  Take advantage of that experience and leave the teaching to them.  If you and your partner want to work out the problems of technique between you, that’s fine.  However, it's usually best to call over someone more experience to ensure:

a) It is a problem.

b) You're not overcomplicating what could be a simple answer.

9 – Be aware of using strength over technique.

When you start free rolling this isn’t about getting the tap it’s about the learning.  Just because you are bigger or stronger than your partner, don’t think you are the next prodigy if you just lay on your partner and start cranking on their arm or neck.  Yes you will probably get the tap, but have you really learnt how to apply that technique against a resisting opponent?

10 – Don’t train while sick.

If you are sick don’t train. Having the flu or a cold is never fun, mainly because it does affect your training.  However, pushing through and turning up to train is not going to do you any favors.  No one there wants to catch your germs.  Plus, if you are bad enough your coach may just send you home anyway.  Do yourself a favor, stay home to recover and watch some instructionals or Game of Thrones instead.

If you’re injured, that’s a different situation completely. There are ways to train BJJ while injured that can keep you involved and safe at the same time.

Most of these are probably common sense, but you would be surprised the number of times people will ignore or forget them.  If you show respect you will get it back and a lot of these are about respecting your coach, your gym and your training partners.

Source: Ok Kimonos Blog