Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Open door jiu jitsu

One of my favorite things about jiu jitsu is its open door nature. Basically, if you are a non-douche bag and a dues paying member to one jiu jitsu school, then other schools will let you drop in on their classes and open mats  - quite often for free.

Since I work on a school calendar and have extra time to train over the summer, I have been taking advantage of this quite a bit. And I'm starting to realize how fortunate I am.

- I am lucky to be welcomed at other schools when I am able to drop in and train.
- I am lucky that students from other places frequently drop into my school, giving me the opportunity to train with new and different people.
- I am lucky that when my instructor goes out of town, highly qualified instructors from nearby schools step in to teach classes.
- I am lucky to be a part of jiu jitsu networks that coordinate large, diverse open mats, where I have the opportunity to train with everybody.

I am fortunate that while I pay dues only to my own school,  I am able to learn from instructors and students from other schools on a regular basis. In my experience, this generous open door policy just doesn't exist with other sports. If I have to work late one week and miss my Crossfit workouts, for example, I would not expect to be able to drop into another box and be able to train there that week for free. Likewise, in  my swimming days, if my masters swim coach went on vacation for the week, I would not have expected a coach from another team to volunteer to take over our workouts. This just doesn't happen...but it does in jiu jitsu.

If you train at a really awesome jiu jitsu school like I do, you will experience an open door policy on another level... with other martial arts. In its purest form, jiu jitsu is a self defense system that evolves over time, incorporating or countering aspects from other martial arts. One of my training partners trains Taekwondo. Others have backgrounds in boxing, muay thai, or wrestling. I am terribly inconsistent, but at times I cross train in Judo. Training in these other arts does not conflict with jiu jitsu, but rather makes us more complete martial artists and ultimately enhances our abilities to survive a street confrontation.

So, yes, one of the things I like most about jiu jitsu is its utter non-jealousy. I am not only allowed to train with other people but am actually encouraged to do so. I am lucky to have access to so many places and people who make me better.

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