I don’t know how many people are in my situation. I live in a college town in the middle of nowhere, literally. There are a few towns and cities neighboring us, but the major cities are hours away. There are a few martial arts academies in my town, but my academy is the only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. My professor is two hours away, so I travel quite a good bit to train with him. I travel a good bit to compete as well. I travel a good bit, in general.
My first taste of traveling for jiu jitsu was for competitions, which I didn’t think too much of at the time. They were 4-5 hours away, it was what needed to be done. But, now, I am an avid competitor, and it’s what I have to do if I want to test my jiu jitsu skills and compete against the best. Planning, budgeting, managing travel all year round, focusing mainly on how I am going to make trip to California for Worlds.
My next taste of traveling for jiu jitsu was for a camp. It was a 12 hour roadtrip to go to a Women’s Grappling Camp in San Antonio, TX, to train with other women who did Jiu Jitsu. At the time, I was the only female training at my academy, so this was a life changing experience for me. After that, I wanted to connect with other women who trained in my area, so traveling to visit other academies is something I still try to do often.
There’s so many great things about traveling for jiu jitsu. You get to network and make new friends. You get to train with guys and gals who are different from the folks in your own academy. You get to learn from different people. You get to experience different pedagogies, and in my opinion, I think that’s a great way to pick up on different details of techniques you may already know. You get to compete against different people. You get to go to different cities, see different cultures, eat different food. 🙂 These experiences is what makes traveling for jiu jitsu worth it. So, if you have the opportunity, save up and make the road trip whether it’s to visit an academy, compete, or have a BJJ-cation.
Here are a few tips when visiting other academies:
- Always call beforehand. I think this sets up a good precedent and if you have any questions, you can go ahead and get them out of the way.
- Always ask about a mat fee beforehand. A few gyms I have visited, waived the mat fee and instead let that be the free trial period. It’s always respectful to ask, they are a business.
- Make sure you read their rules when you come in and follow them.
- Make sure you ask your instructor beforehand. I believe this shows respect to him or her, and you also don’t know if there are any politics. In a perfect world, everyone loves everyone, but there are politics and differences even in the world of Jiu Jitsu. Or they may actually have a personal connection to wherever you are going.
- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”