Training Camp Season: A Guide For Jiu-Jitsu Travelers & Visitors

Training Camp Season: A Guide For Jiu-Jitsu Travelers & Visitors

With the IBJJF Pans and Worlds just around the corner, many academies are ramping up their training regiments and their competition training camps are about to begin.

Mar 2, 2017 by Joshua Hinger
Training Camp Season: A Guide For Jiu-Jitsu Travelers & Visitors
With the IBJJF Pans and Worlds just around the corner, many academies are ramping up their training regiments and their competition training camps are about to begin. 

This means the headquarter locations of major teams will soon be receiving an influx of jiu-jitsu travelers and visitors who are seeking the highest level of training partners and knowledge. This is generally beneficial for both the visiting competitors and the academies hosting them. 

At Atos HQ in San Diego, we have always had a consistent year-round flow of visitors, although it absolutely does spike in the spring during the Pans and Worlds camps. Some visitors come for a few days and some for a few months -- some never leave (aka Richard 'Hoodrich' Kanasevich). 

Here are some pros and cons of having a consistent flow of visitors that I have noticed over the past few years. 


As you can imagine, the benefits far outweigh the detriments of being a jiu-jitsu traveler, as well as having visitors at your home academy. 



Generally, everybody wins when cross-training in involved. Being able to train with new people who use different styles of jiu-jitsu and come from a variety of backgrounds is undoubtedly beneficial for everyone. 

As the hosting academy, it is a great benefit to have a wide variety of individuals with whom to train. In many regards, it is as close to true competition training as you can find outside of an actual competition. 

Being able to train with someone who does not know your jiu-jitsu style and with whose style you are mutually unfamiliar is the closest thing you have to mimicking a competition situation. This type of training environment is great for finding holes or weaknesses in your jiu-jitsu game that you were previously unaware. 

Additionally, it is a great opportunity to sharpen your defenses against some unique attacks with which you might have been otherwise unfamiliar. 

For the most part, someone willing to spend their vacation time training everyday on the other side of the country (or sometimes the planet) is surely no lollygagging hobbyist. Most of the travelers that walk through the doors of Atos are there on a mission to test themselves and improve their jiu-jitsu at all costs. They are likely to be the elite of where ever they came from.    


Networking (aka New Friends)

Anytime you train with a new person, you have an opportunity to make a new friend. This is especially useful if this person lives in another city or country that you might one day want to visit. 

Last year, I had the great pleasure of visiting and giving seminars in Cairo, Egypt as well as Amman, Jordan, and Beirut, Lebanon because the instructors of these academies came to San Diego to visit and train with us at Atos HQ. 

Anytime a guest walks into your academy you have an opportunity to make a connection with someone who may open his or her academy doors to you in the future.  


I don't believe there are any cons for the visitor. If there were, jiu-jitsu traveling would probably be much less prevalent. However, there are a few cons experienced by the host academy when less than courteous visitors arrive. 

Gym Etiquette (aka: House Rules)

Visitors are sometimes oblivious to the house rules. Every academy has its own rules with varying degrees of strictness. These rules usually vary from issues on how to act appropriately during instruction or sparring time, to personal hygiene, uniform requirements, and acceptable conduct before and after classes. 

Every academy is unique and I think every instructor has his or her own personal quirks and peeves.  Here are a few common sense tips that may help visitors and training campers blend-in to the local training environment. 

If you are late, stand on the edge of the mat and wait patiently until the instructor calls you to join the class. 

When sparring, if you are an above-average-sized individual, maybe don't throw your weight around on the featherweight white and blue belts. There is no point in a 220lb guy mounting and smashing a 140lb guy (or worse a 120lb female) for the entirety of the round. In fact, you might catch some cross faces from the next 4 guys that want to train with you after they witnessed you mashing their friend. 

If you want to spaz out in training, make sure you find a partner down for spazzing. How you do that, I have no idea. Maybe just observe the other people while they train. 

Do not walk off the mat with bare feet. Put on some shoes or flip-flops. Also, don't walk around shirtless after training unless you see a good amount of other people doing it too. 

Wear a clean, white gi with no affiliation patches. This is always the safest route to go. Clean, white gis are accepted everywhere. And seriously, if you own a neon pink or apple green gi, leave it at home. 

During training, don't jump guard or attack flying submissions. Most competitors have a hard enough time staying healthy and injury free. The last thing they need is a visitor trying to recklessly powerbomb their kneecaps. Just two weeks ago, I had a 240lb white belt visitor jump guard on me. I caught him (luckily) and thought to myself, "This mofo almost just ended my career." 


The Private Lesson Thief

I can understand that once you find yourself surrounded by a bunch of seasoned and successful competitors, you will want to blast them with questions about techniques that you would like to learn. 

Of course short questions that require relatively short answers are perfectly acceptable. Such as, "Hey, do you like to grab the collar here? Or here like this?" However, once you start playing the infamous "what if" game, then you are taking advantage of this person and maybe even their lack of ability to say no. We all know that the "what if" game can go on forever. 

I have been a victim of private lesson theft. I know JT Torres has also been a victim. It can be hard to shutdown someone's questions, especially if you generally like to share your jiu-jitsu. Just remember that sharing involves giving and taking. Not just sucking as much information as possible out of someone. 

Please consider that this person may not want to divulge their deepest darkest jiu-jitsu secrets, but they also may not know how to say that without sounding rude. Also, try to avoid questions in between training rounds. Most people show up to training because they want to train, not answer questions. This is especially true during training camps. 

I would say that 90% of the jiu-jitsu travelers and competition campers that I have personally encounter have been stellar individuals with whom I have developed friendships that will certainly last a lifetime. 

I love training at Atos HQ because of the consistent flow of visitors and jiu-jitsu travelers that we receive every month. I believe that having these travelers has helped our competition team stay sharp since we are always being tested with a wide variety of jiu-jitsu styles. 

Josh Hinger is an IBJJF 2016 black belt no-gi world champion representing Atos Jiu-Jitsu. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

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