10 Reasons Why I Love To Cross Train In Jiu Jitsu
I have trained at many different Academies in my short time in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, both as a member and a visitor, and I’d have to say this has been one of the most important tools in my development as a BJJ practitioner up to this point. In saying this I firmly believe it to be important to have your home Academy and Professor/Coach for reasons which could be a blog in itself, but regardless, the benefits of cross training for me cannot be understated. I must note however that it is important to let your Professor/Coach know that you are considering cross training at another Academy. All Professors/Coaches have different views, ideas, and beliefs regarding this, and it is your obligation to provide them the respect they deserve.
Below are 10 reasons why I love to cross train at other Academies in no particular order –
1. A Break In Routine – Most BJJ Academies tend to adopt certain rituals, training methods, training styles, and training routines. Typically Professors and coaches will have their way of doing things (whether passed down to them, or adapted based on their experiences), and whilst they will deviate from the routine from time-to-time to keep the Academy interesting, fun, and dynamic, their underlying style of doing things will still be present. Whilst most Professors and coaches typically have positive reasoning for their way of doing things, it is nevertheless exciting and educating to try another’s way of doing things every now-and-then.
2. Different Styles and Techniques – Jiu-Jitsu is ever-evolving and ever-changing. Most Professors and coaches will have a certain style about their Jiu-Jitsu and the Jiu-Jitsu they teach, and similarly will have certain techniques and styles of game that they favour. Whilst a good teacher will teach a broad range of Jiu-Jitsu to cater for all types of students, even so they will still have at their core a style and technique base specific to them. As a result, many of the students of their Academy will similarly come to possess this underlying style. I truly believe it to be important to source out different ways of thinking and different styles and techniques every now and then. This will provide you a broader understanding of Jiu-Jitsu as a whole, and a better ability to be prepared for different styles and games when they are presented to you.
3. Friendship – I have met some of the most interesting people in my time in Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, my closest friends are people I’ve met throughout my Jiu-Jitsu journey. This shared experience in Jiu-Jitsu has been the starting point for many positive relationships in my life. And whilst you are definitely going to meet a diverse array of interesting and great people in your home Academy, it is always nice to drop-in at a new Academy and be greeted and welcomed by a bunch of friendly new faces, with great stories, great histories, and possibly the potential of a good friendship. Whilst it is rarely mentioned in the Jiu-Jitsu story, now being a part owner of our current Academy, I can attest that one of the strongest reasons why people join a Jiu-Jitsu Academy and stay with Jiu-Jitsu is the camaraderie and friendships that develop. The social aspect of Jiu-Jitsu is huge.
4. Different Training Partners – We all have our favourites, those guys and girls we love to train with, whether it be because they push us, we enjoy their company, we can learn from them, or it may just be a great stylistic match-up. But the one downside to this is that we come to know one another’s Jiu-Jitsu games too well. There develops almost a predictability around these rolls, and sometimes as a result of this predictability you may start to cancel out one another and your rolls become stale. It is always refreshing to roll with a group of people you know nothing about; you don’t know their style, their approach, their aggressiveness, their tempo…nothing! I know myself when I’m first about to roll at a club I’ve never been to before I have that little rush of adrenaline, not the same as in a competition, but a little taste of it which gets you ready for the unknown. Funnily too, I always seem to run out of gas faster at different Academies. At my home Academy I am relaxed and comfortable, at an unfamiliar Academy you don’t have this same comfort and your nervous system is typically running a greater rate.
5. Travel – Training at new Academies is a great excuse to travel and explore places that you’ve never been to. For me at the moment I am heading 1 hour away on my day off every Thursday to train with the team at Extreme MMA Byron Bay. This for me has also been a great excuse to go surf new breaks, eat different food, and if you’ve been to Byron Bay you know it is a great place to people watch also. This has fast become my favourite day of the week.
6. Networking – The Jiu-Jitsu community here in Australia is a small one, but is gaining momentum day-by-day. There are always opportunities that arise in every developing community, and by expanding your horizons, training at other Academies, meeting new people, you never know what opportunities may present to you.
7. Appreciation -Sometimes you don’t truly appreciate what you’ve got until you are aware of the alternatives out there. Over the 7 1/2 years I have now been training in Jiu-Jitsu I have been a member at 7 different Academies, and had just as many if not more coaches in that time. I have come to form my opinions on what makes a good Professor/coach and conversely what doesn’t, and this has better helped me align myself with a Professor/coach with the qualities I feel are important.
8. Sometimes The Grass Is Greener – On the flipside of the above argument, sometimes it requires some exploration into other Academies to see that where you are may not actually be the best fit for you. It is easy to become settled in your ignorance, but if you truly care about your development as a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner sometimes it is important to explore beyond your comfort zone.
9. Giving Back – Typically not something one thinks about when training at another Academy, in doing so (and providing you’re not there with bad intentions), you are actually bringing something different to that Academy also. Most of the above actually. You may introduce a different style or technique to that Academy, you may provide a good training partner for someone at that Academy, you may provide a good networking opportunity for someone at that Academy, the list goes on-and-on….
10. Strengthening The Community – From its origins as a combat art to its now state of being somewhat a combat sport, the growth of Jiu-Jitsu has been formed by the travelers, those willing to leave their comfort zones and positively spread that which they are passionate about. And whilst it is natural for inter-club rivalry to exist in a combat sport, inevitably the growth of this martial art/sport even further is dependent on a mutual push forward by all of those involved. It is often those Jiu-Jitsu travelers that connect the different Academies in some way, and it is from here that positive forward progression starts.
Thanks for reading and happy rolling,
Co-Owner at Flow Martial Arts