Creonte No Mas! Why I’m Not A Traitor For Training At Other Gyms

Creonte. If you have been around a jiu-jitsu gym for longer than a week, you have probably heard this term. If you haven’t, it basically means “traitor” and is a term used to describe someone who leaves his or her BJJ school to train at another.

After some research, I understood the history of the word a little more. And to be fair, back in the day, when professors were taking kids in from the favelas (the poor sections of Rio) and providing them with shelter, food, and training only for them to pack up and leave when they got “good” at the art, I can see how leaving a school was frowned upon.

However, in the day and age of paid memberships, business transactions, and this wonderful new tool called the Internet, is the term creonte still appropriate? More so, is the word slowly being phased out of the BJJ community thanks to the growing popularity of cross training and groups such as BJJ Globetrotters and Free Rollers?

Not too long ago, I was labelled a creonte by an extremely high level guy down here in Australia (no names, no court martials). So, it led me to write this, just because I enjoy training with others outside of my academy and combining my other passion of traveling with jiu-jitsu.

It was once the belief of many that you had no reason to train elsewhere because you had enough high level people within your own academy to push you and assist you in progressing. This isn’t necessarily an incorrect statement; however, what if you simply wanted to head over to another academy to train because a friend from work or school trained there and you wanted to get some friendly rolls in? No disrespect intended to anyone. One of the biggest things we promote in our beloved art is a sense of community. Does that community only exist within the confines of our academy and affiliations?

Recently, thanks to social media and the growth of the sub communities previously mentioned, open mats are starting to pop up in gyms, outdoors, on beaches, or wherever there is room for mats. Ninety-eight percent of the time they are free for anyone interested to attend.

Since I am naturally a little bit of a networker it makes sense that I would train at various schools on my BJJ journey. This has led me to receive several invites to train with teams both here in Australia and around the world. I am a blue belt so it all comes at a cost, be it in pain and sweat on the mats or in financial pain. One thing I have noticed, though, is that absolutely everyone who has extended a welcome to me has been extremely hospitable when I have made it to their gyms. I have formed some solid relationships with the people I have trained with. I sometimes sit back and look at photos with the people I have had the absolute pleasure to meet, share the mats with, and learn from, and I wonder what it would have been like if I had not networked in this community and stuck to the old-school traditions. I surely wouldn’t have had the experiences that I have had so far. I am grateful that my coaches, although they warned me about the politics, encouraged me to pursue my BJJ adventures all over the world. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how mutual respect is—- or at least should be — built.

So back to the initial question of being a creonte? Personally, I don’t think I fit the title, but if I do, I will wear it with not too many f**ks given. I think the word is slowly being phased out of the sport and the stigma is fading. Have a look at some of the top teams in the world. Life is about growth, and if you don’t continue to move, you stagnate. After all, jiu-jitsu is about learning and personal growth, right? Is it wrong that I seek it from all who can help?

What do you think?


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