Being the New Guy or Girl at the Academy
Jiu-jitsu is a long journey. Many people get hooked and set out on the ultimate journey, achieving the rank of black belt. Along the way, there will be hiccups.
This is normal and will happen for everyone. That’s just life, and like a bad position in jiu-jitsu, we must learn to escape or ultimately tap. One speed bump that students might run into is transfer to another academy. This can be due to several reasons such as a career change that requires you to move. For jiu-jitsu students this means having to find a new academy. This can be a bit stressful. Your academy and training partners essentially become extended family. Leaving that family can be a difficult choice, but its important to remember that change isn’t always bad.
Here are some tips to help you along the way
Make sure you do your homework
Jiu-jitsu schools are not all the same. Even organizations such as Gracie Barra, which have a standardized curriculum, are not exact copies of each other, and each academy has its own unique flair. This can be a result of the students that train there, or the instructors own personal jiu-jitsu. Make sure to find out if the academy you’re looking at has classes geared to meet your specific jiu-jitsu goals. That could be anything from self-defense classes or fitness.
Remember that iron sharpens, iron. If your focus is to compete at the highest level of jiu-jitsu, there are several academies that have competition classes. You have the ability to train with other competitors and learn from the best.
This should go without saying but just to reiterate an important point. A jiu-jitsu academy is like a home to many of its students. Treat it as such. When walking into a new academy for the first time, respect it as if you were walking into someone else’s home. The last thing you want is to make a first impression as the disrespecting new student.
Keep an eye on what everyone else is doing. Though its still jiu-jitsu, different gyms may have different practices, warm ups, ways of training, etc. I also wouldn’t recommend rolling to the death on the first day, especially with new people. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone as a new person. Jiu-jitsu academies are typically very welcoming so don’t feel like you need to prove your abilities on the first day. Having good jiu-jitsu isn’t about being good for one day, it’s about consistency.
Be willing to try something new
Whatever the reason was you needed to find a new Academy, it provides you with a unique opportunity to start new. This means any bad habits you developed over your time in jiu-jitsu need not carry over into your new academy. This goes for anyone. Tomorrow is a new day after all.
Everyone’s journey in jiu-jitsu is different. Some people may stay at the same academy their entire jiu-jitsu career, but not always the case. There are a lot of different points of view, styles, and unique people to meet along the way.
Life is made up of many experiences.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.