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Gym Etiquette

Gym Rules and Expectations

Gym Etiquette

Our goal is to maintain a safe, friendly, effective, and ego-less training environment for all students. This means: we train to fight, we don't fight to train. In other words, it is not necessary to beat each other up in order to be effective in street fights. We just need to know where the punches COULD COME FROM and train our reflexes to address those scenarios.

Therefore, in our gym, please abide by the following rules and expectations in regard to both safety and etiquette:

Only white gi's (Gracie Combatives and gi days in the Master Cycle) are permitted in our academy. This is to promote cleanliness and school unity.

We recommend wearing a rashguard underneath your gi. This is for the comfort of your training partners. No one likes a bare, sweaty chest in their face while training! So that all training partners feel safe and comfortable, please wear a rashguard underneath your gi.

Nogi Attire (Master Cycle only):
Option A: Gracie rank rashguard, Gracie brand fight shorts, and Gracie brand spats.
Option B: Gracie rank rashguard, belt, and gi pants.
Option C: Gracie rashguard (non-rank), belt, Gracie fight shorts, and Gracie brand spats.
Option D: Gracie rashguard (non-rank), belt, and gi pants.

*The principle here is to wear something that identifies your rank so your partner knows what knowledge level they are dealing with.
**If wearing fight shorts, we require spats underneath since your legs will get sweaty and sticky after awhile. No spats without fight shorts.

No socks please. If you have a particular reason why you need to wear socks, please talk to the instructor, but generally speaking, socks are not allowed due to sanitary reasons.

No shoes are to be worn on the mat, but shoes or sandals can be worn anywhere else in the gym, especially to the bathroom. Shoes/sandals MUST BE worn when visiting the restroom.

No jewelry, bracelets, watches, rings or piercings of any kind should be worn while training as this can pose a safety hazard for yourself, your training partner, or for the mat (possibly causing rips, tears, and gashes in the vinyl). You may lock your belongings in a locker with a combination lock while you're training.

Before class starts, please grab your attendance card from the appropriate box (labeled with your program name) right next to the locker rooms and stand up against the wall mats. To start class, the instructor will come by and grab each student's attendance card and store them away to mark later. Once marked (by a KJJA employee), your attendance card will be stored back in its appropriate box. Students are not to mark anything on the attendance cards.

Upon entry to the gym or mat area, it is NOT necessary to "bow in" or to bow to the instructor. While this is common in many traditional martial arts schools, it is not required here. If you chose to practice bowing, no problem. This is up to you. We will not tell you not to. Just don't feel like you have to in order to be respectful. It's all good!

In some traditional martial arts schools (such as karate and taekwondo), students make it a practice to turn away from people in order to tie their belts (if their belt falls off during practice). This practice is not required in our academy. Of course, please feel free to do so if you wish.

Since we are all family and friends, we are all own a first-name and hand-shake basis. Therefore, the use of titles such as "Mr." "Coach", or "Master" are not required. Please feel free to call instructors by their first name.

While the instructor is teaching the techniques of the day to the class, please stay lined up on the wall so that everyone in the room can get a clear view of the techniques being presented. Since the instructor (and his/her partner) will perform the techniques from various angles, there is no need to walk off the wall and walk around the instructor to get a better view (which is a common practice at a lot of BJJ schools). If you ever feel like you would like to see another repetition or angle, please feel free to ask the instructor to do so. No problem!

Please keep all language polite, professional, and family safe. No swearing, crude, or inappropriate language permitted in the gym.

Once you learn to stand up in base during the course of taking Gracie Combatives, all students are REQUIRED to stand up in base at all times thereafter while training or standing up from a sitting position in the gym. This is to build your street reflex of standing up in a balanced stance should you really need to in a real-life street-fight altercation.

Therefore, please do not feel the need to help your partner back up to their feet while training. Rather, allow your partner to stand up in base after each repetition of a technique (if standing back up is required).

Also, not standing up in base will count as a point deduction (per incident) when testing for the Combatives Belt. So, it's better to develop the reflex now. We recommend even standing up in base at home! (But that's up to you)

If you feel like you need to stretch while you're waiting for your class to start (but another class is already running), feel free to find an open space on the perimeter of the mat to stretch. Currently, classes aren't full and so the whole mat space is typically not being utilized. So, feel free to find a space on the perimeter where you can safely stretch without being ran into or where you won't impede class. No problem!

Partnering in general can be weird at first. Many people find it uncomfortable to be in someone's personal space (and you in their's) when first starting their jiu-jitsu journey. Students get use to this over time. Just know that getting used to being in other people's personal space among family and friends is crucial in your learning so you don't freeze up in the street when someone puts themselves in your personal space against your will.

Generally speaking, partnering up with different body sizes is beneficial for your jiu-jitsu journey. Typically, at first, we try to pair people up with similar body builds and heights, primarily so that students know what it feels like when the technique works perfectly. Once students know the mechanics and principles of the technique, then students can adapt to different body sizes.

Training with different body sizes will ensure that you won't mentally "give up" in the street when you realize that you can't fully wrap your arms around a big person who is attacking you. Having trained this scenario many times, you'll know how to adapt and trust that the techniques still work in order to neutralize aggression and to protect yourself. There are no weight categories in real life, so we shouldn't train as if there are.

Now, having said all that, you should not feel like you have to train with people with whom you're uncomfortable. I, as the instructor, try to pair students up with appropriate partners and try to avoid disastrous partnerships.

Each student, though, has a right to decline to train with anyone. This could be for various reasons: hygiene issues of the other person, past trauma, fear of accusations, feeling intimidated, self-confidence, not wanting to touch sweaty, stinky people, not wanting to get hurt, and a host of other reasons.

Therefore, when someone declines to train with you, PLEASE do not take it personal! Just shrug it off and move on. It's all good. I've had people decline to train with me. I don't know the reason, but I'm sure they had their's and it's all good!

Just know that training with different body types benefits you! Training with bigger, stronger, and more athletic bodies helps you strengthen your technique, since it will show you where your techniques might need improvement.

I remember trap 'n rolling someone significantly bigger against their will in sparring class! I learned that night that the trap 'n roll technique actually works! I later tried to armbar that same person. I came close TWICE, but couldn't tap him out! What I learned was that my armbar technique that worked so well on people my size did not work as well on people way bigger than me, showing me where my technique was lacking. So, I had to improve my technique!

Please be invested in the progress of your partner just as much as you are in yours.
Please be invested in the safety of your partner just as much as you are in yours.

At our academy, the enemy is outside the building. Your partner is there to make you better, and we are there to help make our partners better.

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