Mat etiquette

Kroyler’s Pro-Tip on mat etiquette:

So,before we start discussing blue belts and their stripes lets take a quick step back…

We mentioned that part of growing into a blue belt is also learning proper matetiquette.

Let's discuss this...

Depending on how formal your school is thismay ormay not all apply toyou, this is due to the laid back influence from the Brazilian culture,but I am sure there will be sections of this discussion that apply to everyone in every school.Here I am going to lay out the foundation of the culture and then I will discussa few ofthe proper mat etiquettesand you will be able to see where it all comes from.

1.The idea of “Hespect”. Brazil is a country that is veryproud,and respect is a huge trait; Japan, where this art originated from, is also a country where respect is everything; martial arts in general are very heavily influenced in the idea of respect. This leads to a trifecta of major influence on the culture of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Meaning the idea of respect runs deep in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I will go back to this in afew...

2.Brazilian culture generally speaking is very laid back, hardworking, and happy. This too has become a major source of influence on the culture of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

This too will be revisited.

3.Brazilians are also a very warm group of people which is very different than America or Japan. Brazilians have very little personal space, and hugging/kissing is an expected social norm when greeting someone new or an old friend.

So how do these 3 factors play a role in mat etiquette? Well they set forth the culture of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Martial arts in general are respect base, ours in particular,stems from a country where respect and honor are everything (japan), for Brazilians respect is of very large importance. Then you add in a very laid back, hardworking and happy people to propel, nurture and grow this new art, their art. Lastly you throw in a pinch of warmness and you end up withanincredibly dynamic culture in this martial art.

So,all of the mat etiquette I am about to discuss stems from that amazing mix described above.

1.Bowing in and out of the mats

a.This comes as a reverence to the school/dojo/academy and to the mats. It is a sign of respect to the common grounds where you will be putting yourself in very vulnerable spots in order to become a better version of you. This stems directly from the Japanese I believe. My instructor also on top of this makes his students greet the people already on the mats in order of rank although never at the cost of slighting someone that has already started to greet youeven if they aren’t as high rank as the person you weregoing to greet first. This is a Brazilian addition to the mix. Not all schools do either of these and I understand that.Now Iknow that someschools don’t exercise all this, and its mostly because of the influence of the Brazilian culture, which is very laid back. You combine in theirhard work, happy and warm selves, this leads to a certain freedom that other martial arts don’t have, this freedom allows for the martial art to grow unrestricted.

2.Bowing to the pictures of the Great Grandmasters Helio and Carlos Gracie, followed by bowing to the pictures of the head of your lineage, and then your instructor and assistant instructors at the beginning and end of class. As well as to each other prior to rolling.

a.This is a sign of reverence, a sign of respect to those that came before us, to those that have passed down their knowledge to us, to those that enable our growth. This is very much a Japanese influence.

3.Tying yourbelt while not directly facing the highest person in the room.

a.This is a sign of respect to your instructor/highest ranked in the room. Belt tying is something highly regarded in japan. Tying it in front of your instructor is poor manners. You can look at them as long as the actual act of tying isn’t directly to their face. Not quite sure the origin of this one.

4.Asking permission to come onto the mats and into class ifyou’relate.

a.No instructor has to share their knowledge with you. If you choose to be a turd and be late, a personal pet peeve, you should ask permission before interrupting the education and class of those that were respectful enough to show up on time. Essentially by being late you could disrupt other’s learning. That is disrespectful.

b.Purposely skippingout on the warm-ups. Which paints you as lazy. Remember Brazilians are hard working people, makes you seem as weak or disrespectful, as if you were better than your teammates and no longer feel the need to do that.

c.Purposely showing up just to roll skipping the warm-ups and the instruction.Very disrespectful. As you are saying you’re above working out with everyone and that you don’t even regard your instructors lesson as something you need to learn.

5.Asking permission to leave class early.

a.Same reason as coming in late.You could be a distraction and or trying to not roll.

6.Dirty Gis

a.Again,not washing your gi and your gear is not cool. Not anywhere in the world.So,don’t be a tool. This is pretty muchself-explanatory.

7.Not keeping proper hygiene

a.No instructor will ever appreciate having to tell you that you need to shower and wear deodorant because you smell like a combo oftruck stopand shameful sex, trust me this happens as I had to have this exact conversation with a student in the past. This too should beself-explanatory.

8.The slap and bump

a.This is all Brazilian. It’s a way that signifies mutual respect and trust to each other. It’s a sign of friendship andcamaraderie.

b.Remember Brazilians are very laid backand a very warm group of people. Jiu-jitsu enhances that.Whenever you roll with someone the level of connection and understanding between you and that person is incredible. You learn so many thingsabout a complete stranger in just 5 minutes rolling. The bond built with that person is built in a single roll. The slap and bump is a Brazilian way ofdisplayingthat.

9.Cursing and Prima-Donna behavior is not acceptable

a.The mats are the single thing in the world that makes us all equals. You get people from all walks of life and from all different kinds of backgrounds training together with mutual respect andcamaraderie. People that otherwise would’ve never become friends or even met.Therefore,if you start acting like an idiot or a total dbag then you need to be removed or at least that behavior needs addressed.

There are manyothers,but I am going to stop at 9 to piss off Paul and Kip.This journey could go on muchlonger,but I will cut it short forPaul’ssake as I am sure he has already butchered this…

Now with all this discussion of respect we must address maybe one of the most important things. The idea of respect for your training partner. We must respect our training partners enough to help them grow, to want to see them grow, to help them prepare for fights or for testing. We must also respect them when we roll.

Meaning what exactly?

Well I must be able to roll hard and aggressive with a training partner that is healthy, hell this is jiujitsu after all, however I should never roll so hard that I disregard their wellbeing. That is unacceptable. Jeopardizing your training partners wellbeing for potential tap in a roll oranego boost is stupid and childish. Your aggression and intensity level should never be higher on your priorities than your awareness of your partners wellbeing.

My biggest training partner is one of my best friends, and we roll very hard several times a week, yet we are very seldomly injured, and even much less so will an accident happen between us. We aren’t angry with each other when we are done. We are still great friends. That happens because we are rolling with mutual respect and care for each other regardless of the fact our intensity is pretty high.

The same goes for people who are trying to work through an injury,let’ssay a hurt knee and you decideyou’regoing to repeatedly attack that particular knee, well that makes you a fucking tool. Instead you should respect them enough to work with them through their injuries not against it.

Now does that mean Ican’tever go so hard enough to tap my better training partner? You mean spaz out and maybe get an edge? And if they get hurt that’s their problem they can tap?

Well I have a better question.why don’t you just get better?

Accidents will always happen, however for some reason they happen less often with the higher belts than they do with the lower belts why? Because they are better and less spazzy, and they are very attuned to their partners wellbeing and their body. Special Pro-Tip that level of awareness actually helps you think outside the box and helps you perform techniques with better timing.

Now if those accidents keep happening and you’re always involved...well you need to reevaluate your jiu-jitsu, and the solution is just to improve not to be a bigger ninnyhammer. Respect your partnerswellbeing, because without them youcan’timprove. No one can improve alone.

Kip Dice