Break-ups aren’t easy and neither is leaving a Brazilian jiu-jitsu gym. In life we all graduate and move onto to the next phase or chapters, and for some BJJ practitioners, switching gyms could come down to following your favorite coach, a better class schedule, an opportunity to learn new techniques, and having a more competitive training environment. Leaving your old gym can be a sensitive situation with the potential for hurt feelings, cold shoulders, and unnecessary drama. Here are five quick tips on how to change gyms without burning bridges
Do it in person.
If you are leaving a school, try your best to do it in person. Nothing will upset a coach more than finding out somebody left their school by blocking a credit card payment, not returning emails or phone calls, or blocking a coach on social media. If there was nothing unethical or threatening causing you to leave the school, it is best to meet with the coach or gym manager to cancel your membership and thank them for the training and experience. If they ask any questions, you can be as honest or vague as you want. Sometimes, coaches and training partners will have hurt feelings, but you have to do what is best for your BJJ training and journey.
Don’t badmouth your old coaches or school.
After you leave a school, there will be members reaching out to you to find out why you left. News travels fast and gossip travels even faster. Unless you witnessed unethical or illegal activity, avoid talking smack about your old gym. Don’t badmouth your coaches or school to old training partners or others in the BJJ community because the community is very small and it will inevitably get back to your old coaching and training partners.
Always be cordial.
If you are on the local competition circuit, there is a good chance you will run into old coaches and training partners at competitions. Whenever you see them, take a few moments to say hello and catch up. Don’t brush them off or big-time your old team when you see them. After all, it is just jiu-jitsu.
Don’t gloat on social media.
You might be excited to join your new squad. Your new coach might be a world champion, your new gym might be bigger, newer, and cleaner with more killers on the mat than your previous gym. However, don’t gloat too much on social media and don’t take digs at your old school with subtle lines like “by far the best gym and coaches I have ever trained with. Where have you been all my life?” Definitely share your BJJ journey with all of your friends and family, but be mindful of being respectful to everybody that has coached and trained you along your journey.
Still give the old school a shout out.
If you get promoted or win a big tournament, feel free to thank your current and past coaches and training partners for helping you reach your goals. Sure you are on a new team with new patches on your gi, but it would mean a lot to your old coaches and training partners if you gave them a quick thank you and shout out for helping you reach your goals.