Respect in BJJ (but more importanty for your coach, school, fellow training partners and everyone else - ESPECIALLY YOURSELF)
I would like to say that this article was written by myself, But Its NOT. That's how much I truely believe in this and what it means to me. The guys at www.bjjtoday.com have this on their web page: Click Here for their amazing article:
When you are a student of BJJ and you learn from your instructor, peers and fellow students, you are not only learning techniques. You are learning an art form, you learn discipline, humility, sportsmanship and RESPECT amongst other core values.
Years ago, Aretha Franklin had a hit song with that shares a name with the essence of this post. That song was all about a woman striving for a bit of respect from the man in her life. And isn’t that what we all want in life, to be respected by others? Think of how much needless violence and suffering could be avoided if people would just show each other the proper respect every day.
Those of us who practice BJJ, we have to always keep a mindset of being respectful. We owe respect to our instructors, to our fellow students and to the world at large. Respect in BJJ is not an easy thing but it’s a must and it will make you a better practitioner and a better person. With the help of Turtle Guard, let’s take a look at what this kind of respect looks like and how it pertains specifically to BJJ practitioners.
Respect In BJJ
Respect for the Art – I’m sometimes amazed at what I hear/read from people who supposedly train in BJJ. Some people don’t even know the full history and origins of BJJ. (Yeah, these people actually exist.) Others believe it to be the “end all, be all” of Martial Arts styles and tend to knock other styles. (No style is complete regardless of what some people might say.) Some even use it to bully weaker people. (An instructor worth anything knows how to weed out those who would use BJJ to deliberately harm others.) There is a simple remedy if you wish to honor your chosen style: KNOW YOUR STUFF. BE OPENMINDED. DON’T BE A JERK.
Respect for Instructors and Senior Students – Look, it’s awesome when you’ve got an instructor who you can consider as a friend, but always keep in mind when and where that kind of behaviour is appropriate. On the mats, he should be considered your instructor first and foremost. It’s one thing if they encourage the class to be a little less rigid, but don’t go assuming that means you can goof off. Your instructor has earned the right to share their knowledge, so be thankful that they’re willing to share it with you by being gracious and trying your best to absorb it all. As for Senior students, the same applies. They’ve bled and sweated on the mats more than you have, so instead of trying to take them out every time you roll in order to prove something to yourself, try learning from their experiences. Because one day, you’ll end up in the same place.
Respect for Fellow Students – Now, this one is interesting. No matter where you train and who you train with, there will always be a hierarchy and/or people you don’t want to train with. We’ve all either heard the horror stories and/or experienced them firsthand. The guys who think they’re “Too Good” to help the newbies. (Guess what? It wasn’t that long ago that you were just like them. If you’re so good, then why don’t you prove it by helping the new guys.) The guys that always talk trash even though they themselves need a lot of work. (The amount of time you waste talking trash should be used to train more. That way, you might actually be able to back up your own hype.) The guys that always go 1000% during drills/rolling like it was the Worlds. (How are you and you're training partners supposed to improve if all you‘re trying to do/thinking about it is smashing your training partners? You can‘t really improve your “flow“ if all you‘re doing is “smashing”.) The guys that come to class stinking like ass. (Wash yourself. Wash your Gi. Wash all your gear. REPEAT. Always repeat.) The guys who cut everyone with their unclipped finger & toe nails. (There are WAY TOO MANY pathogens that can enter the body due to a cut. Would you want someone to interfere with your training and life by cutting you on the mats? No? Then keep your nails PROPERLY trimmed. Jagged edges do the same thing.) The guys who don’t bother learning self-control and “spaz out” every time they roll. (RELAX~!!! How do you expect to learn anything is you don‘t focus?) So on and so forth. Even though BJJ is an “individual” sport/style, it doesn’t mean you’re in it alone.
Respect for Skills and Merits – It’s great that you’re better than some of your training partners and know more techniques and have won competitions, but all that proves is that you’re better at BJJ than other people. It doesn’t mean you’re a better person than them. You should never look down on people. Use your skills to help them. At the same time, if you’re not so good on the mats and have lost competitions and are lacking in techniques, you should stop making excuses and get to work. Don’t talk trash about those who have earned all that they have through hard work. You want to get as good as them, if not better? Then bleed and sweat more than them. This way, you too might develop the same level of BJJ that you’re hating them for having.
Respect for the School – This is an often neglected aspect that is key for BOTH inside and outside of the school. Inside the school, everyone should take pride in their place of training. Your school should be your “Second Home”, so treat it as such. Would you like it if someone came into your home and made a mess? No? Then, why do it at your school? Clean up after EVERY training session. Wipe down the mats, throw away trash, etc. Remember, you’re not the only one rolling there. Now, outside the school is different. You can choose to represent your school by wearing gear that has their logo on it, but if you do, then act like a model citizen. Letting the world know that you train does NOT give you the right to act like a jerk. Every time you wear the gear, you’re not only representing yourself, but you’re representing your instructor, your training partners, and your art. If you truly respect them, then be a good representative for them. Now, if you’re not wearing any gear with a logo on it, the rules still apply. Someone might recognize you. If they know you train and see you doing something or acting horribly, then it will still negatively impact everyone. Famous or not, always be a role model.
Respect for Others – Ok, so you train in BJJ and have more skills and knowledge than the average person. Does that mean you can treat them as lesser beings? No. It amazes me how often I see someone think they’re better than most people because they know something that others do not. I guess these people need to feel special, like they’re in a secret club or something. Instead of being greedy and keeping it all to yourself, why not help spread the art? If someone asks you about what you do, don’t shrug them off as being annoying. Explain to them what it is you do and let them decide for themselves whether or not they want to become a part of our world. Remember, in the beginning, you too had no idea what BJJ was or that it even existed.
Think about the respect that you give and expect from others as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student. You are carrying on a proud tradition and learning one of the world’s most effective martial art forms (as well as the best form of self defense). To treat your art or other people with anything less than respect doesn’t just make you look bad, it reflects poorly on your fellow students, instructors, your school/academy and the art of BJJ as a whole.
None of us wants the martial art that we love so much to be the object of scorn or disrespect. But since respect really is a two way street, we can do our part to prevent ourselves and our martial art from being disrespected by always displaying plenty of respect for other people.
If this post has reminded you of the importance of this core value please click “Like” and keep the essence of BJJ flowing and to show others that BJJ practitioners are amongst the most respectful of all martial artists in the world.