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Maintaining Respect in the Academy

Although jiu-jitsu has taken a sportive direction in many academies, it is still a martial art at heart. Of course, when you get your black belt, you must be a well- rounded martial artist before you are an awesome athlete. Athleticism is not a prerequisite for being a martial arts expert, believe it or not. That being said, the type of respect we see in traditional martial arts must be upheld in the academy. Below is a list of things that are done in an academy to gain respect from both your teammates and instructors. 


  1.      Don’t talk when you roll. 

People roll because they want to focus on technique. The last thing they want is you telling them your day or commenting on the techniques while rolling. Save it for after the roll. If you’re known as the non-serious chatterbox in the gym, that won’t really bring you a lot of respect in the academy. 


  1.      Don’t be lazy. 

You know, the guy that stops doing his burpees when the instructor looks away – that guy. You may think you are tricking the instructor because he doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head, but guess what? Your teammates can see you, and if they are working hard to get warmed up, they don’t want to see you slacking off. 


  1.      Don’t be late.

This is an old one - no one likes this in any part of life. But since discipline is such a key part of martial arts, tardiness is seldom tolerated. In judo, usually you are not admitted into class if you are even a minute late – depending on the school and instructor. It seems that in BJJ, the custom is that you usually wait at the entrance until the instructor allows you in and you pay some sort of fitness fee (pushups, squats, etc.). 


  1.      Don’t be the smarty-pants.

If you’re a blue belt or higher in rank, you’ve probably seen this before – the guy who loves to sit and ask the “what if” questions. Sometimes they ask this because they think they are smart enough to stump the instructor and they won’t have an answer for any of their genius riddles. Or perhaps they genuinely don’t understand that jiu-jitsu is so multi-faceted that there is always an answer for every problem, and a problem for every solution. It is a combination of timing, pressure, and balance that defines whether a technique will be successful. Either way, too many “what if” questions could leave a bad image for you. 


  1.      Focus on the lesson.

This happens in most academies, often after the instructor shows a technique and it’s time to drill. Many students think that after three tries they are experts and either stop practicing or start something else. This is extremely disrespectful to your instructor who has a plan and curriculum you should follow, and it also shows a huge amount of arrogance. It implies that you feel like you have already mastered the techniques after, so few reps. Listen to your coach and drill until they say otherwise.


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