Dojo Etiquette

You have taken the plunge and started training Ju Jitsu, but what are those unwritten rules that you really need to be aware of? 

We have come up with 10 Ju Jitsu etiquette rules every newbie should know and what the more experienced should practise all the time.  This is not an exhaustive list, but if you take notice of it you won’t be going far wrong.

1 – Don’t walk on the mats in your shoes.

First and foremost all the nasty stuff that ends up on the pavement potentially is on the soles of your shoes.  You walk on the mat in your shoes, his nasty stuff ends up on the mat which we then train on.

Secondly the mats are expensive things and anything caught in your shoes could potentially rip or tear them. This then leads to the inevitability that it will need replacing as the tear grows and gets worse, this would not make you popular with your instructor. 

2 – Do wear flip flops or shoes when you go to the toilet.

Accidents and splashes do happen (mainly guys), what you don’t want to do is walk through the result of the accident. Then walking it back in onto the mat.  It is not a pleasant thought that I may end up with my face in this.  Oh and remember to always wash your hands afterwards, ALWAYS.

3 – If you have any cuts tape them up.

Please use plasters, you should have a few in your kit bag but if not your instructor will supply some, you may even end up using duct tape so it sticks, but your training partners will mind this far less than you bleeding onto them. 

4 – Don’t forget to cut your nails.

This applies to hands AND feet. It’s so easy to scrape or claw someone when your nails are only a little bit long, with all the grips and escapes going on.  Plus these annoying little cuts seem to take forever to heal up properly. AND you have to tape them up every time you train to protect and stop them bleeding.

5 – Wash your uniform after every use.

Getting your face stuck in the stinky armpit of an unwashed gi or t-shirt is really nasty. You will not get people rushing to partner you if you don’t wash your stuff. Plus there is the potential for skin infections for you and your partner from the growing bacteria. If you sweat a lot, no problem, bring a towel and a change of Gi/t-shirt in necessary.

6 – Now your gi/kit is clean, keep yourself clean too.

This is just really basic hygiene. No one wants to roll with a stinky person even in a clean gi, it is really off putting. So please make sure you shower before attending class if you can and if you need to make sure you use deodorant/breath fresheners etc.

Personal hygiene is very important, you may be refused the opportunity to train if you turn up smelling of body odour, tobacco etc and this can be embarrassing for all concerned.

7 – Turn up to class on time.

Real life can sometimes get in the way and this is understood.  But showing up consistently late will get noticed, and no skipping warm ups It shows a lack of respect for your coach and your training partners. If you do have work/family commitments that make this difficult, permanently or temporarily, please share with one of the senior coaches.

8 – Don’t try and teach someone a technique.

If you’re a newbie, even if you think you know what you are doing, the reality is you probably don’t know enough.  Show respect to your coach and the higher belts and leave the teaching to them.  If you and your partner want to work out the problems of technique between you, that’s fine.  Personally I would still check with my instructor to make sure:

a) it is a problem and not just me and

b) so I am not potentially over complicating what could be a simple answer.

Teaching Ju Jitsu is much, much different than learning. Trust the experience of your senior instructors and the black belts. We welcome people sharing but remember to check things with those who have been there a long time, we know some stuff 😉

9 – Be aware of using strength over technique.

When you start training please remember it isn’t about getting the tap it’s about the learning.  Just because you are bigger or stronger than your partner, don’t think you are the next prodigy if you just throw and lay on your partner and start cranking on their arm or neck.  Yes you will probably get the tap, but have you really learnt how to apply that technique against a resisting opponent? Highly unlikely.

Always remember the most important person on the mat IS YOUR PARTNER, not you not your instructors. For those who fail to understand this the black belts will be willing to let you train with them for a while.

10 – Finally but still a very important one: don’t train while sick.

If you are sick don’t train. Having the flu or a cold is rubbish, mainly because it does affect your training.  But pushing through and turning up to train is not going to do you any favours.  No one there wants to catch your bugs.  Plus if you are bad enough your coach may just send you home anyway.  Do yourself a favour, stay home recover.

You may train with certain injuries BUT must respect the limitations this places on you. It is your responsibility to make your instructors aware of ANY injury, however minor, and follow their advice.


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