So you’ve been training for a while now and you‘ve made some friends who happen to train at another club. There are all kinds of opportunities to train with different people outside your club. There are open mats held at other schools and there are lots of people who set up mats in their basement or garage and train with people there.
There are a lot of mixed feelings about training with people from outside your club in the Jiu Jitsu community. Some instructors see it as a loyalty issue and say “you should never train with people from outside the club because your showing them our ‘secrets’.” I’ve even heard some old school instructors threaten that anyone training at other schools would be kicked out.
I think in the age of YouTube and Instagram its ridiculous to think that you have any big ‘secret techniques’ to hide from the world. Whatever you‘re being shown at your club is most likely being shown at the club down the road as well. If it’s not being shown there you can safely bet that there are a whole host of videos on how to do whatever is being shown at your club. The only difference is that online these techniques are being shown by some of the best competitors in the world!
Obviously I’m not saying you should quit your gym and try to learn everything from YouTube. All I‘m saying is that the argument that you will be giving away ‘club secrets‘ is bullshit! So with that out of the way, why else do people say “don’t train at other clubs”?
The next biggest reason I often hear is that you will be showing your game to people and they will know what to do against you in a tournament. This is a dumb argument as well. first of all this goes both ways, you will know their game too. Second of all I have never rolled with someone a couple of times and then they figured out how to shut my game down completely. If someone could figure out how to shut your game down after a roll or two then that means there’s a problem with your game. however I have rolled with people at an open mat or in a friends basement and holes in my game were reviled. I’m sure I have reveled holes in their game as well. we both shake hands, go back to the drawing board and fix our games, we roll again next week at open mat and we‘re both the better for it. I have never in my life had my game negatively affected because I went to an open mat to roll with people from another school, in fact I believe its one of the factors that’s has improved my game and made me try new things!
I‘ve had instructors tell me that guys might be friendly at an open mat but they wont do anything to try to help you learn. This isn’t true either. The majority of the times that ive gone to an open mat or did a drop in class at a club while im traveling I’ve found someone who has a similar game to me, or does a similar technique and we will sit down and go over the little details that both of us have found to work. Some of my best techniques have been learned while training at another school while on vacation or when someone does a drop in class at my school.
I’m very passionate about Jiu Jitsu and I really hate when I see politics making their way into the sport. When I see stuff about only training at a certain club or affiliation it bothers me because I know how much training with as many people as possible has helped my game!
There are a lot of things that helped my game advance. Relaxing and learning to slow my breathing down was a big one. Realizing that winning isn’t necessarily the goal early on, focussing on learning the technique is more important; that was another big one. But one of the biggest things that helped my game was constantly training with new people. I‘ve moved around a lot and had the opportunity to train at a bunch of different clubs that all had their own style, and when I was in a bigger place I was always at open mats or in someone’s garage training! Getting as much mat time as I could with different training partners from different schools was a big factor in my game. I have a whole article that I wrote a while back about training while you’re traveling or on vacation. You can find the link to that here!
Thanks for reading guys! I hope that if you weren’t already you will be more open to training with everyone now! Remember we can all learn from each other and training with other schools will only make us all better. don’t let Jiu Jitsu politics infect your mind! Thanks for reading!