Note to the Gym

Revolution BJJ is one of my favorite places and is full of some of my favorite people. One of the things that I love about this place is the casual and friendly atmosphere, but this doesn’t happen by accident. It starts with the smiling faces that greet you at the door and continues throughout the space and onto the mats. We each play a part in building and maintaining that vibe. I appreciate that we aren’t expected to bow or use particular titles for our talented and experienced instructors, but there is a culture of consideration and respect on and around the mats that we encourage here at Revolution and some gym norms that might not have been explicitly explained to you yet.

Here are some of the things we can each do to help out:

  • Off the mats, be mindful of volume. If you’re socializing near an on-going class, be quieter during moments of instruction. Some of us older grapplers have a hard enough time hearing without the distraction of off-mat conversations!
  • If the instructor has already started class, wait just off the mat until they acknowledge you and call or wave you onto the mat. This isn’t just about respecting the instructor, it helps them be aware of who is in the class.
  • During your rolls, pay attention to the size, strength, and skill level of your partner and adjust accordingly. We’re training partners and teammates, not opponents! There comes a moment for all of us (usually more than once) when we realize that someone has been taking it easy on us all along. Go slow when applying submissions and be willing to tap when receiving them. Aggression and stubbornness will both lead to injuries!
  • While rolling, be conscious of your space and those around you. If you and your partner roll into another pair (or even get close), it’s the responsibility of the lower ranked grapplers to move out of the way. While this is traditionally done out of respect for upper belts, it helps build body and mat space awareness which helps keep you, your partner, and others safe. To be fair, the upper belts are often already aware of the situation and sometimes shift their position before you even realize they were there. 
  • We keep the mats as clean as possible at Revolution and this can’t happen without a team effort. If you’re in a 6 am, noon, or last of the evening class and don’t have an actual time crunch, please grab a broom or mop and pitch in. Not only do we all benefit from clean mats, but some of my best “get to know you” conversations have happened while pushing a broom at the gym! Side note: for the first two years I trained, the only sweeps I got were with a broom :)
  • Finally, of course, hygiene: hopefully, everyone is already on board with taking showers, wearing shoes off the mats, washing your training clothes (including belts!), keeping your nails trimmed and smooth, and not training with exposed skin issues like wounds, warts, or ringworm. 

Thanks for coming to my mom-talk! Hope to see you on the mats soon.


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Revolution BJJ
2125 Staples Mill Road
Richmond VA 23230
(804) 657-7461
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