Continuing Your Jiu-Jitsu Training While Traveling

Jan 20, 2023Jiu-Jitsu

Travelling for work or pleasure can make it challenging to keep up your Jiu-Jitsu training regimen and hone your skills. However, with some planning and effort, you can absolutely continue improving your technique, drilling, and rolling while on the road or away from your home academy. This article provides tips for finding reputable places to train, practising proper etiquette when visiting other schools, keeping your gear clean, and making the most of training while travelling.

Researching Jiu-Jitsu Schools at Your Destination

The first step is thoroughly researching and identifying highly regarded Jiu-Jitsu academies, gyms, or clubs in the area you’ll be visiting. Ask your own professor or coach if they happen to have connections with any instructors or school owners in the city you’re travelling to. An introduction or recommendation from your own instructor gives you instant credibility and likely an open invitation to drop in and train.

If your professor doesn’t have personal connections in that area, spend time searching online for top-rated Jiu-Jitsu schools with styles similar to your lineage. Browse their websites, read the instructor bios, examine their competition records, and try to understand their philosophies and approach to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Once you’ve identified one or two promising academies, email the head instructor well before your trip, explain your situation, and politely ask if it would be alright if you dropped in for a class or two while visiting their city. The vast majority of instructors will be welcoming and accommodating, but this gives them a heads-up.

Minding Jiu-Jitsu Etiquette When Visiting Other Academies

Use caution if you visit an unfamiliar academy in a different city without much notice or introduction. Leave your gi, belt, and any patches or insignia associated with your home school at home or in the car. Walk into the academy, warmly introduce yourself, and observe a class. Explain that you’re just visiting from out of town and politely see if the instructor would be open to you joining one of the school’s classes. If not, or if they request you come back another time, politely leave and try finding another place to train. No harm done.

However, if the instructor graciously extends an invitation for you to participate in a class while visiting, go fetch your gear from the car and ask what their policy, protocol or fee typically is for dropping in. Expect to pay a mat fee – don’t just assume it’s complimentary for visitors. Making this gesture shows tremendous respect.

During class, learn and practice the techniques and curriculum precisely as the instructor teaches them. Don’t be dismissive or loudly protest “that’s not the way we do it at my academy back home”. Keep an open mind – you may discover new details or perspectives on moves you thought you knew well. You can thoughtfully try integrating any useful methods or concepts into your repertoire when you return to your home school later.

Above all, be humble, open-minded, and deeply grateful for the opportunity to learn from and train with new training partners. When visiting any academy, the goal is the mutual exchange of knowledge and skills, not proving the superiority of your style or school of Jiu-Jitsu. That said, you can certainly use your A-game during sparring and rolling.

Maintaining Gi Hygiene While Training on the Road

When training multiple days in a row away from the conveniences of home, gi hygiene becomes critically important. Never wear a dirty, sweat-soaked gi onto the mats to train, even if it’s your only one. Even if you can’t detect any foul odors yourself, others will. This leaves a terrible impression and is considered extremely poor etiquette.

Ideally, if space allows, pack two gis when travelling so you can alternate between them and wash each after every use. This ensures you’ll always have clean gear.

If packing two gis isn’t feasible, other options include:

  • Ask the instructor at your drop-in academy if they have any loaner or rental gis you may temporarily use. Offer to pay a small rental fee without hesitation if needed.
  • Using your hotel’s laundry service to have your gi washed, although fees can be rather exorbitant.
  • Finding a local laundromat in the area and washing your gi yourself after every training session.
  • As an absolute last resort, buying a new gi from the academy you’re visiting for the duration of your trip. This gesture also helps build rapport.

Remember to pack a rash guard or clean t-shirt as well – many academies prohibit bare chests or skins under the gi jacket. If by chance you forget to bring one, offer to buy one of the school’s own branded t-shirts rather than train without.

The Benefits and Rewards of Travel Training

While training during your travels does take planning, effort and mindfulness, it also has huge benefits. It’s an opportunity to forge genuine connections with the worldwide Jiu-Jitsu community. You gain exposure to a greater diversity of techniques, perspectives, and training methods. Your skills improve by constantly adapting to new training partners.

It also makes lengthy business travel less solitary and lonesome. The camaraderie of drilling, rolling, and exchanging techniques on the mats with passionate BJJ enthusiasts in an unfamiliar place is deeply rewarding. Training while traveling can be adventurous – a great way to explore a new city.

With some forethought about etiquette, gear preparation, hygiene, and finding a viable place to train, you can make the absolute most of your time on the road as a passionate Jiu Jitsuka. Remember, training and cultivating your skills doesn’t have to halt just because you’re away from your home academy for a period. Use the tips outlined here to stay sharp and continue your Ju Jitsu journey wherever you may roam.

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Team Apex MMA Martial Arts Coach
Apex MMA is a specialist mixed martial arts gym focusing on Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Led by an experienced team of instructors, Apex MMA offers comprehensive training programs for students of all ages and skill levels. With Apex MMA's systematic teaching methods, passion for martial arts, and strong community relationships, you will gain the tools to succeed in the gym and beyond.
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