Bjj Travel Tips
Being married to a 4th degree Bjj black belt as well as being a black belt and instructor myself, Brazilian jiu jitsu is something I just can’t live without for a long period of time. As some of you already know when venturing far from home it may be hard to find a safe and legitimate school to train at. So the following are a few of the tips I use when traveling.
I can not stress this enough, you must research! There have been a few times in my younger years of BJJ that I plugged into my phone: MMA gym near me and when I swung by it said “MMA” gym that had also indicated they had “jiu jitsu” program. It ended up being a traditional martial arts school trying their hand as an MMA gym. You see since MMA literally means MIXED MARTIAL ARTS it could be any “MIX” of martial arts and it is still technically correct. So that “jiu jitsu” class, it was a Japanese style not Brazilian. Or I once went to a gym and thought it was an affiliate of a big bjj team and it was just a satellite school that was run by a lower rank and the Head Instructor aka black belt who validates the satellite school’s very existence very rarely even attended the school as he ran one across town. Please note that while I don’t have any issues with these particular gyms and I wish them the best, it was just not what I was looking for. So knowing who the main instructor is that will be teaching your class is paramount.
ASK YOUR Bjj PROFESSOR!
If your Bjj Professor is anything like mine than you’d know that the Brazilian jiu jitsu community is pretty tight. Also, since my Professor/Husband competes he knows like everybody! If he doesn’t know them personally then usually he knows of them or their Professor. If the instructor is not known to either my husband or myself we immediately refer to the IBJJF website and see if they are recognized as a certified black belt under the organization and if not them then at least their instructor. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher his/her thoughts.
MAKE A CALL!
Call up the gym you are interested in training at and ask to speak to an instructor. Tell them who your Instructor is, location and name of your gym and rank. Let them know the dates you will be training. If it is a black belt run school ALWAYS expect to pay at mat fee. At our school it is $20, others may vary. Sometimes I or my husband will make a call to the school ourselves and speak to the instructor and mention our student will be traveling and if they would be welcome to train with them. This paves the way for the student and puts the Professor from the other school at ease as they see you already have good etiquette.
Arrive early and make sure your gi is clean, nails are trimmed and ask them if they have a list of gym rules you could go over if it is not already posted on the wall. (This can save your life!) Strike up conversation with students preparing for the upcoming class and be forthcoming with your bjj background.
Hope these few tips help you out!