In today’s article, I’m going to share with you 15 BJJ etiquette rules that every beginner must know. These are not official rules, but rather general guidelines that are widely accepted by the jiu-jitsu community worldwide.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Bow Before You Enter And Leave The Mat

A common practice in most BJJ clubs and academies is to bow before entering and exiting the mat. Bowing shows respect and provides a moment for one’s self to focus on their upcoming training.

Shower Before Class

Even if you think you’re not that smelly, everyone can agree that no one wants to roll with someone who smells bad.

Not only can this distract you from your training, but it can also distract others who are forced to share the mat with you.

Most academies have a shower available, so use it to freshen up before class starts.

Hand Shake Before And After Rolling

Although not all academies require it, showing respect by using a warm hand shake is considered polite. It lets the other person know that you are ready to train and that you respect them as a martial artist.

Remember, BJJ is a martial art not a street fight. There is no desire to injure or hurt others when you train, so always respect your training partner by using the hand shake.

Always Wear Some Form Of Shoes Outside Of The Mat

A common mistake beginners make is that they walk outside of the mat barefoot. The floor is dirty and exposed to germs and bacteria which can cause you and everyone else to get sick if you bring those germs onto the mat.

This is specially true if you go to the bathroom. Always have some type of shoes in which you can take off before stepping foot on the mat.

Don’t Roll And Brag

Let’s face it, everyone wants to be the best. But rolling and bragging about it defeats the purpose of training, which is to learn.

We were all beginners at some point and unless you’re a high level competitor, there is always someone better than you.

Not only will bragging make you look bad and affect your training, but also the beginner might feel under pressure which will affect his or her chances to learn and grow in BJJ.

Bragging is never a good thing.

Don’t Ask For A Promotion

Although promotions are something to look forward to, asking for one too soon might put you in the back of the line. Instead, focus on your training and wait until the instructor sees that you deserve a promotion.

Asking for a promotion can be seen as disrespectful. It makes you look like you do not trust the instructor to know when you are ready for a higher belt rank.

Instead, ask what you can do to improve your game so you can position yourself in line for a promotion when the time is right.

Don’t Make Too Much Direct Eye Contact When Rolling

Although it is not considered bad etiquette to lock eyes with your opponent, sometimes too much eye contact can be seen as scary or disrespectful by others.

Not only can it be intimidating, but it will also give the impression that you’re obsessed with winning and taking down your opponent.

Instead, try to focus on your opponent’s movements and react accordingly.

Don’t Show Up Late To Class

It is never a good idea to show late for class unless you have a very good reason.

Not only will this distract everyone in class, but it shows disrespect to the instructor who most likely has scheduled for a certain time to teach the class.

There will be times when something comes up and you have to be late, but try to avoid being consistently late by planning ahead.

Trim Your Nails

Make sure to clip your fingernails and toenails before training.

Long nails can be dangerous when you’re close up with someone, so make sure that your nails are not a threat to the people you train.

This shows respect to them and yourself as you want to be sure that you’re not risking injury for the sake of having long nails.

Always Wear A Clean Gi

We’ve all seen it before, someone training in a nasty looking gi.

Gi’s are expensive and should be taken care of in order to avoid turning them into a health hazard.

Wearing an unclean gi is similar to walking outside of the mat barefoot. We don’t want to bring anything unclean onto the mat.

A common practice is to have multiple gi’s so you can have one to train in and another to wash.

Don’t Hold On To Submissions

When your opponent taps, let go.

Don’t hold on to the submission even if you think they might escape or think that it would be funny if they didn’t tap.

They tapped for a reason and if you hold on to the submission, it might end up hurting your partner more than helping them.

Keep the spirit of BJJ alive by always releasing submissions even if your opponent isn’t tapping anymore. It will save you from getting disqualified and keep you from having a bad reputation.

Don’t Leave The Belt On The Mat

There will be times when your belt will fall off during a roll.

This is expected. However, what is not expected is if your belt stays on the mat. After your roll is done, make sure to pick your belt and put it back on. This shows respect for both yourself and your teammates.

At the same time, you don’t want to leave the training area a mess. It doesn’t show respect for other students, your gym, or the school that you are training at.

Line Up By Rank

Most gyms will have a way to line up during class.

Typically, the higher ranked belts will line up towards the front of the line and the lower ranks towards the back.

Many gyms do this to show respect for the students who have been training longer than others.

This is just a general way to line up, so make sure to ask your instructor on how they want their students to do it.

Don’t Trash Talk

We get it, there will be times when you get really angry and want to let your opponent know how upset you are with them.

This is never a good idea and it will only get you into more trouble.

Trash talking is never a good idea in BJJ or in life. It is always better to maintain a positive attitude and encourage others rather than put them down.

A good way to prevent trash talking is to not engage in it yourself. If someone starts, be the bigger person and ignore them rather than stoop to their level.

Minimize Talking During Class

Sometimes it happens; you want to talk.

BJJ can be an intense and emotional time, so it is normal for students to want to talk to each other.

However, it is the instructor’s job to teach the class and if they are talking it is best for everyone to be silent and pay attention.

You want to make sure that you’re respectful of not only the instructor but your fellow classmates as well.

If someone else tries to talk to you, respond politely and continue on with what you were doing.

Silence Your Phone

In most gyms, the ring tone of a phone is considered to be a distraction.

A lot can happen during a roll and you don’t want your phone ringing to make you miss something important.

Always silence your phones and check them at the side of the mat if it is absolutely necessary.

At the same time, if you are expecting an important call, make sure to let your instructor know in advance so they can accommodate for it.

Be Polite

We know accidents happen to everybody.

If you accidentally hit someone or made a mistake, apologize to your partner. It is important to be polite and show respect for everyone you train with.

If you feel your opponent was being disrespectful, then politely bring it to their attention.

At the same time, stay humble and never degrade or embarrass another student for making a mistake.

Final Thoughts

BJJ is an art form. It is about self-improvement and respect for your opponent.

Keep these things in mind when you train and you will not only get better but stay out of trouble as well.

These rules might seem like a lot to remember, but if you just keep in mind to always be respectful you will do great!

Thanks for reading this article and I hope it helped. Keep an eye out for more content like this!