BJJ: Is Open Mat Really Open?

Affiliations in Jiu Jitsu are a huge thing around the world.  Generally you can go anywhere and find an academy of some sort.  What if the school you find isn’t the same as yours?  Should you just keep going or stop in and introduce yourself?  What is the true etiquette for something like this? I’m sure everyone is aware who Budo Jake is, he goes to academies all around the world to train with all the different names throughout our Jiu Jitsu world.  Is this really ok for anyone just to stop in and join for a class or do they just let him because of who he is?  I’m sure that answer just depends on the school.

The first school I went to was a Royce Gracie affiliate.  We weren’t allowed to go to any other schools period!  In fact we couldn’t even go to the main affiliate school without the instructor/owner going with us.  This was the school owner’s rules, he always said that he didn’t want us learning something that might hurt another student in our class.  Also we were only allowed to wear the school Gi or a Royce Gracie Gi no exceptions what so ever.

After over a year at that school I left and went to a Nova Uniao Hawaii affiliate school in a neighboring town.  Clint Hooper of Hooper’s Martial Arts, his Nova Uniao Hawaii lineage is as follows,  André Pederneiras/Renato “Cheruto” Verissimo/ Andrew Sabens.  It is a completely different way of training, we are encouraged to study as much as we can and if we want to go to an open mat or whatever, we just go.  After a seminar with Kyle Watson over at Saben’s Martial Arts in Carbondale Illinois, Kyle personally gave us all an open invitation to his school anytime we are in the St. Louis Missouri area.   Kyle is a Gracie Humaitá team affiliate his lineage is Royler Gracie/Megaton Dias/Jack McVicker.  He knows that himself and his students are always welcome to stop by and join us anytime as well.  Although we all come from different roots we are still all family in Jiu Jitsu!

I believe the days of animosity towards other schools are starting to dwindle down as time goes by.  The famous rivalries are a little more tolerable to everyone.  I believe it’s because seminars and competitions allow a comradery between students and competitors.  Now instead of trying to figure out what the other person did to win the match we simply ask them to show us.  I believe this also helps expand the art by sharing different styles and variations that other schools may have.

Someday, if things keep going the way they are, we might just be able to walk in anywhere, introduce ourselves, and be welcomed with open arms.   Jiu Jitsu is growing bigger and bigger every year and we, as people, should grow as well.  Make friends from different academies and backgrounds it will improve your game dramatically!  You never know who will have that one technique that will blow you away!  Have fun and roll safe!! Oss!!



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