BJJ Class Etiquette

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by flashlock, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. flashlock

    flashlock Banned Banned

    Hi, all--

    I've recently joined a BJJ club. It's my first and only experience in an actual BJJ/ Gracie JJ club (or any jj for that matter). I really find the relaxed nature of the classes refreshing, and was wondering if this is the norm in BJJ clubs.

    The instructor is a multi-national champion of NZ and Australia, and has competed in the world championships (he's a brown belt). He cracks me up. For example, he needed to say something, so he pulled out this whistle and blew it. He started talking, then some students kept chatting, so he said, "Shut the hell up, I didn't spend three dollars on this lovely whistle for nothing."

    During class, there's usually recent UFC or BJJ matches playing on the wall-mounted TV, with the volume up.

    He quite often shares stories about going to local kung fu and karate schools and challenging them all--with the predicted results. One story, he went to a YMCA or whatever for Judo, but went on the wrong night--Kung Fu night! They invited him to spar, so he did, entered, brought them all to the ground individually, and submitted them. The teacher said BJJ was crap because he could... "gouge your eyes out." So my instructor said, "Do whatever you want, go for my eyes." Apparently, my instructor took him down in the first 10 seconds and punched him from the mount in the face. When the kung fu instructor put up his hands to block, my instructor put him in an arm bar and BROKE his arm in half at the elbow (kerrrrrrunch). After, in the locker room, the whole class rushed my teacher--who thought he was now in trouble for beating their sifu. Luckily, they just wanted to learn where they could take BJJ! The kung fu school went under soon after.

    There's a lot of mach talk, and my instructor will just bluntly say that, yes he's biased, but BJJ is the best (and he's got a 2nd dan in TKD--gave it up after a BJJ white belt destroyed him).

    I personally enjoy this kind of banter. I think it's related to the macho Brazilian culture? I'm sure it's not for everyone, but is this kind of thing common, or is my teacher just a character? It's just so different from the somber, serious dojos I'm used to, it kind of blows my mind. I much prefer these relaxed classes. Are they the norm?

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2007
  2. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    The things that are said in my class are quite shocking - you just come to the conclusion that people who do BJJ aren't normal, which includes me and probably you.
  3. Hiroji

    Hiroji laugh often, love much

    well, to me your instructor sounds like an arrogant prat.

    But hey, if you got it flaunt it :D
  4. Stevebjj

    Stevebjj Grappling Dummy

    Well, I don't know about all of that, but the atmosphere at my school is relaxed, although I get the impression that my coach/instructor is a little more formal that most. We bow into and out of class, shake hands with everyone in class at the end of every class, and the classes are well structured. Other than that, it's pretty laid back.
  5. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    I've never heard of dojo-storming bravado where I train....jeez. That woulda actually kinda put me off, even though the stories are amusing if true.

    The closest I hear, is one of the brown belts citing UFC fights as evidence of the practicality of the given technique we are working on.
  6. pauli

    pauli mr guillotine

    what he said, except we don't bother bowing in (setting up the mats runs directly into warmup).

    every school is different, every instructor is different. some bjj schools are zoos, and some could pass muster as judo (relaxed judo, but judo).

    we've discussed it at class, and frankly, we all like a bit of protocol. not too much. just enough. i think it helps some of the people remember that we aren't there to break each other. we're there to have fun.

    of course, my instructor is already giving me instructions for protocol changes when his (significantly more formal) instructor eventually comes to visit us from brazil...
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2007
  7. 1bad65

    1bad65 Valued Member

    The relaxed nature is the norm from what I've seen. Calling your instructor by his first name, no bowing, no titles is cool for me. Also in BJJ you can ask anyone to roll. Alot of TMA schools the lower belts cannot ask the higher ones to spar I have heard.

    I trained under a guy for awile who got into BJJ at ~15. He was American, but often went to Brazil and trained there too. At 16 he was a blue belt. He often went to other schools and dropped challenges. He said the look on people's faces when a 16 year old kid dominated the instructor was priceless.
  8. pauli

    pauli mr guillotine

    this does vary. in theory, at my school, if say a white belt wants to roll with a blue belt, they have to wait for an invitation, and the kids have to wait for an invitation from any adult, regardless of experience.

    in practice... we only use this when kids are there, so that nobody (by which i mean me) gets mobbed by 12 year olds.
  9. Stevebjj

    Stevebjj Grappling Dummy

    Other etiquette things that have occurred to me. We call our instructor by his first name outside of class, but tend to call him Coach during class. Also, during open mat, you can ask anyone for help or to roll, but during class he pairs the groups.

    Also, when there are multiple groups rolling on the mat, the lower belt guys move for the upper belt guys if it comes to that.

    I don't think any of our guys are into to dojo storming, but we do visit other BJJ schools to get some experience rolling with people who are not known to us.
  10. pauli

    pauli mr guillotine

    for us, it's basically the responsiblity of whoever sees it/can react first.

    i've actually got most of my classmates trained so that when they hear me say "hi, guys!" they pause to see if they're too close to anybody else.
  11. Shiho-Nage

    Shiho-Nage I'm okay to go.

    Your instructor sounds like a complete ass. How insecure do you have to be to go to other martial arts schools uninvited and challenge them? And then to break the instructor's arm after you've already massaged your ego in public.

    I am all for a laid back dojo, I prefer it. However, I still adhere to a code of respectful conduct. I bow in and out of the dojo; on and off the mat; after receiving instruction from my teacher or another student. I refer to my teacher as sensei and his wife (5th dan) despite her asking me to simply call her by her first name.

    Other than that there's plenty of laughter, joking, exchange of ideas but all done within a safe and respectful framework.

    Your instructor may be very technically skilled at his martial art but, it sounds like he has serious personality issues and a total lack of respect for his fellow man.
  12. JayKayD

    JayKayD Meet my friend PAIN!

    The closest thing to etiquette in my bjj class is warning everyone when your about to fart.
  13. flashlock

    flashlock Banned Banned

    Well, he's a smart-ass, maybe an ass. For that particular incident, he was respectful--they invited to spar with him, then the Kung Fu sifu said BJJ was crap because of eye gouges. I think the sifu got what was coming to him for ripping on my instructors art (especially after he beat them all). Better an arm than a neck.
  14. fanatical

    fanatical Cool crow

    Not to forget that the Kung fu Sifu was actively attempting to poke a persons friggin eyes out. That's a bit more serious that a torn ligament in your elbow which might take max 6 months to heal.

    While I agree that taking challenges like that isn't my cup of tea either, it seems people are never happy with BJJ. This story is about a guy who is threatened with getting his eyes poked out. He defends himself but injures the other guy a bit and suddenly now he's the badguy because he didn't excert complete control over the guy who was attempting to maim him for life?

    I'm supposing the lesson he tried to teach was that if you put your hands in a BJJ guys face you might walk right into an armbar. There's a lot of untold stuff in this story too, like did he tap when he was caught in the armbar? How was the challenge presented? was it in a respectful manner or was he outing him like he was really out to get him? Who knows.

    If this story is true at all then it's probably the proof of one macho guy telling a story about another macho guy who got challenged by ANOTHER macho guy. So with all things considered. It's just a story :p.

    Oh and the moral of the story is: Eye gouges are dumb and BJJ wins again! :D
  15. flashlock

    flashlock Banned Banned

    Yes, great point! And he's told me he doesn't really challenge schools anymore... it was just to promote BJJ when he started his school. That Kung Fu guy made a big mistake; he really must have been macho because if you see my instructor roll, common sense would suggest you avoid fighting him no holds barred.
  16. Lily

    Lily Valued Member

    flashlock - you're a funny guy. :D
  17. beknar

    beknar Valued Member

    For all the guys who thought the BJJ instructor was an ass, just how arrogant is a KF sifu who thinks so highly of himself, who thinks so highly of what he can do, that he doesn't take a look around at what's happening in the martial arts world, that he not only fails to adapt his art to changing times, but also subjected his students to such ignorance?

    That last sin is unforgiveable.
  18. flashlock

    flashlock Banned Banned

    I hope everyone notes that YOU are a practioner of Kung Fu! Well said. Very well said.
  19. Shiho-Nage

    Shiho-Nage I'm okay to go.

    The way I read the story was:

    So, according to his telling of the story there was no actual attempt to eye gouge but merely him trying to deflect punches.

    Also, read some recent threads to discover that BJJ people are 'completely immune' to any kind of 'dirty' or unorthodox attacking, which includes eye gouges. So the threat was never real.

    Yes, the Kung Fu instructor was simply posturing when he said that 'BJJ is crap'. But then again you had a guy show up uninvited to challenge a judo class to some genital measuring contest and instead found a kung fu class.

    They invite him into their class despite his confrontational reason for being there and then the "multi-national champion of NZ and Australia, who has competed in the world championships and is a brown belt" proceeds to drop and submit the entire class (which I assume consists of at least a few lower belts). That's intense!

    So, for those that feel a Kung Fu instructor making a ludicrous claim out of anger in that situation is committing the greater sin than the multi-national champion that goes to other schools to submit white belts and then tell everyone at his dojo about it, you're right. That's clearly worse.
  20. Lily

    Lily Valued Member

    You're kidding me right beknar?

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