Hidden rules in BJJ

I’ve begun planning my West Coast Tour. Almost all the pieces are put together: the schedule is at 90%, about 1/3 of the schools have been contacted, and I am all excited for it! However…

As I mentioned over at Combat Sports Review’s “What Would It Take” article, there are many hidden rules in BJJ. You know what I’m talking about–the stuff that NO ONE does or that you KNOW you’ll get in trouble for doing. In school it might have been passing notes or chewing gum, but even then, when you did it, you KNEW it was wrong. But the problem is–there are often newbies who can’t tell their guard from their mount and have no clue how to behave at a new place. They will sometimes break rules without even being aware of it.

Kittehs have their own special rules

I’m over in Korea and some of the hidden rules here are very Korean, others may be the exact same everywhere in the world. Thankfully my school doesn’t have many hidden rules. Call the instructor “sa-bum-nim” (it means “instructor” in Korean), use the honorific “yo” form if you’re speaking Korean to the instructor. Take off your shoes before entering, bump fists before rolling or shake their hand and bow a little (Korean culture! :)). People usually say hello and goodbye as they are coming and going. And, ummm, that’s pretty much it. You need water, go get it. You want to roll with the instructor, ask him.

My old school had many more hidden rules: Never speak casually to the instructor. If you are getting into the circle, you stand by rank and then by time in BJJ. So the newest white belt stands to the instructor’s right, the highest ranked, longest in belt stands to his left. Also, lower belts didn’t ask higher belts to roll unless they were friends.

Yes, these are bruises from fighting. Yes, I'm comfortable with that. I am enlightened.

Savage Kitsune mentioned a few of these hidden rules at her gym: turn to the wall to retie your gi/belt, always wear the belt you have been awarded, even when visiting a new school.

It’s helpful when schools make their guidelines public, such as Cassio Werneck’s school. Without reading it I would never know that a school had a policy to greet people from highest rank to lowest rank. This article mentions some crazy rules I would never even have guessed, such as “7. The proper way of sitting during Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class is on your knees with your butt resting on your feet or cross legged. Other positions are considered to be impolite so never make the mistake of doing that.” Also they mention: “10. Classes start on time so you should be ready by the time it begins. If you are going to be late, call in advance.” Well, at my class people often come late and it’s not a big deal. I was 30 minutes late today because of work. I told my instructor “I’m sorry I’m late!” and he says NO PROBLEM! So…your miles may vary!

I want to join Pillow Fight Club

I found out that some schools don’t allow patches from other schools, while others encourage it from visitors. Some schools also don’t allow white belts to wear any color gi but white.

How does this relate to my West Coast tour? Simply put, I don’t want to make any big faux pas. So I’m emailing each school to ask if it’s okay to wear a patch from my school and if pictures are okay. Those are the two things I am most concerned about. I figure anything else–well, hopefully I have the “she’s just visiting, so her breaking our invisible rules will be okay” thing going for me.

Even the Internet has rules, though Rule 34 is clearly most important

I’m curious–what are the hidden (or perhaps publicized) rules at YOUR academy? Do you have unsaid rules for passing the guard? Are there special rules if you come in late? Anything special you need to do when you need to drink water? Do you have to ask for a bathroom break? Do you have to call your instructor “Grand High Poobah Master?” Share your school’s secrets!!! 🙂

  1. I think my school is pretty lax in the rule department.

    Fabio wants to be called Fabio. He gets annoyed if you call him sensei/master/your worshipfulness.

    If your late, your late. If your thirsty, go drink. You can roll with whoever you want, greet people in whatever order you wish. You can wear whatever color gi you want, and whatever patches.

    The only rules I can think of, are your very basic Jiu-jitsu rules.

    No shoes on the mat.
    No jewelry. (while grappling)

    Oh, and at the end of class we line up for cool downs. The line of brown belts stands infront of purple, purple in front of blue, and whites to the back to the back of the bus!

    The weird secret rules make me nervous about visiting other schools. I know they exist and since my school is so relaxed I am SURE I am going to blow it at some point at another school.

    • It’s funny–I call my instructor sabumnim, but when we’re outside the gym I call him by his first name. I asked him what I should call him and he thought about it and said “DukYoung.” Someone else said it was because I was older than him 😀 Ah, Korean culture.

      Yeah–my instructor sometimes wears an Alliance patch, people wear red gis, camo gis (okay those are both worn by the same dude), mismatched tops. LOL one guy even made his own ghetto gi:

  2. I train at Relson Gracie Austin in Austin, Texas.

    We have fairly logical open rules (which are explained verbally on your first day): No shoes, no jewelry, trim your nails, be clean, no shorts with pockets, girls have to wear a tanktop or tshirt over an athletic bra. Something that isn’t said outright but should be– absolutely no training whatsoever if you have anything that might be ringworm, staph, etc.

    Some unspoken rules I hadn’t really thought about: No formalities such as titles, bowing, turning away to tie your belt, not allowing the belt to touch the ground exist in our academy and if someone does that stuff, it marks them as a newb. You can wear patches or gis from other schools in training, but I would imagine in competition you’d better either wear an unpatched gi or (preferably) one with our patch on it somewhere.

    Color of gi is totally up to you. Most people wear white, blue or black without regard for belt rank, but I’ve broken them in on every color in the rainbow including tiedye, http://georgetteoden.blogspot.com/2010/04/fabulous-tie-dyed-gi.html . We have some guys with camo, red, grey, hunter green and navy gis and of course some of the gals wear pink, lavender, etc.

    It is usually unspoken but can be explicit when need be– we don’t train anywhere else in jiu jitsu. Cross training in wrestling, judo, crossfit, etc is expected and encouraged, but you really don’t need to train somewhere else in jits (unless you’re traveling out of town, of course.)

    If you’re taking the class, you better not speak while the instructor is speaking. (MMA fighters on another area of the mats often continue training/talking but they aren’t in the class per se.)

    Whitebelts better not be teaching or answering questions. If they’re asked something, they should turn to a higher belt and let them do the answering.

    • Oh I forgot! You can ask anyone to roll regardless of rank. Whitebelts are not allowed to do any leg or footlocks except straight ankle locks; blues can do ankles and kneebars and toeholds on blues or above; purples can do whatever they want. You can get a drink or go to the restroom whenever you need to except in competition class, then we have a specified break period for a very very short time. No one cares if you’re late, our classes are three hours long except lunch classes are just two, so if you miss something, it’s better to get some training in than none. And if you get injured, people get extremely concerned if you’re loudly cursing or stomping around (the milder the injury, the more pissed people are if you overdramatize) so it’s strongly encouraged to keep it mellow and get off the mat.

      • We don’t do ankle or leg or wrist locks. One time we practiced a leg lock, but we were told not to use it :D. My instructor doesn’t care if you’re late at all. He’d rather you were late and there than not come at all. The way the jobs here work, many of the English teachers don’t get done until 8pm, so if they come at 8:30 it’s not a problem.

        I haven’t seen anyone curse loudly or stomp around, but I have seen one roll end angrily–a blue belt got really angry at a white belt for being so aggressive–the blue belt ended up with gi burn across his nose. I also left the mat quickly one time because I was angry at how hard a guy was rolling with me after I’d told him twice to calm down and go slowly.

        We only have one purple belt at our school and he’s a transfer from another school. So mostly we’re white and blue belts.

    • I asked someone about that once–what exactly they meant by that. For example, if I was in the 6pm class and shown a technique, then we do it again in the 7:30 class and my partner is grabbing with the wrong hand, shouldn’t I correct that or point it out? Or should I be a mute. That seems a bit jerk-y to me. So I wonder sometimes what other people mean by it. If it’s a small correction directly after you’ve been shown it and your partner is confused, something small like “right foot should be at waist, left hook should be at knee, not vice versa” would a white belt get in trouble for telling them?

      Our school has a network and we’re allowed to visit other John Frankl schools, but the etiquette is to tell our instructor who will call their school and give them a heads up. The only exception is the Saturday class at Sinchon. Everyone is welcome to train there, and our instructors go there to learn new techniques from a black belt.

  3. Hey Jiu! 😀

    in our training place, we have different rules depending from who is leading the train, and what time it’s happening, we have more than 30 black belts there, so it gets a bit complicated, but the regular rules are the same.

    – The 12pm training, they don’t care if you get late, our ‘Sensei’ as we call our instructors, even tell us “don’t matter how late you are, put your gi on and come sweat”, it’s the training where most part of people come from their work, so everybody is late in some form.

    – We don’t, ever, not excuses, no reason, step on the mat wearing shoes, we smash our face there, so it would be discusting. Also don’t walk outside the mat without shoes.
    – If you want drink water, ask first, sometimes the aim of the training work your endure, so if you go drink water you are ruining all the work of the day.
    – When you get on the mat greet all the black belts, the others you greet if you want (i greet everybody, they are my friends).
    – You may talk during the warm up and conditioning, but never during the position

    these are the few i remember now, but these are not really rules, are just some “guidelines” to keep the organization !!

    i’m really waiting to read the travelling posts that are up to come!

  4. I’m so glad to see this. My school has very few of these “unwritten” rules: we call our instructors by their first names (they’re all American), you can ask whoever you want to roll, and most people don’t even bow before stepping on the mat (we bow at the beginning and end of each class). Facing the wall to tie your pants is more about not showing everyone your underpants. The rules we have are actually posted on the bulletin board: being respectful in class, not talking when the instructor is talking, lining up by rank, training in the gi, etc. When I first heard all these rules about not asking higher belts to roll and stuff like that, I thought I had been unwittingly offending my entire school. Then I figured someone would have said something by now–and besides, my instructors give me a little extra leeway in picking partners given my size.

    • Hahahahaa about not showing your underpants–there was a guy rolling last week and he was wearing these animal print patterned silk boxers. I know because his pants had fallen completely off his bum while he was rolling and we were all laughing a bit.

      The part that’s hard is that “being respectful” is abstract and can mean different things to different people. Being respectful in America can easily be thought of as not respectful enough in Korean culture. Defining how to be respectful is important and is one of those “hidden” things I mean. For example, in my tae kwon do school you called all the black belts Mr + last name. So my friend Jason I had to refer to as “Mr Compositor.” And you had to answer with “Yes sir/ma’am” every time.

      Not talking when the instructor is talking is a different situation here, as often I am asking someone for clarification or asking them to translate for me. Though I recognize that’s a very specific situation!

      I’m glad that you haven’t accidentally irritated everyone! 🙂

      • Yeah, when I said not talking when the instructor is talking, I meant like people having their own private conversations. Asking for clarification/translation would be ok, I’m sure.

        I also realized probably the one rule (which also might even be written, but I’m not sure)that seems to not get followed much is that lower belts need to move for higher belts if they’re rolling and about to collide. I can’t tell you how many times I get annoyed at some white belts who SEE nearby colored belts and keep rolling. But I feel like a jerk if I tell them to move because I’m a white belt too…

        I totally see your point though about respect being different in different cultures. I would hope that in those kinds of situations, people would understand the difference between ignorance and disrespect and would explain “the rules.” Although I think it’s really cool of you to ask in advance about etiquette–I think it will go a long way with the people you’re going to visit!

  5. If you come in late at my school, you have to stand on the edge of the mat and wait for the instructor to notice you- at which point s/he will either wave you in or make you do pushups first. It was the same way at my kung fu school, except that you had to stand at the edge of the mat in HORSE STANCE till they decided to let you in.

    You can go get a drink if you need to, but if it’s not during an actual BREAK, the teacher will usually ask you if you’re okay. They like people to try to stay focussed and not be wandering on and off the mat. Sometimes during the “competition training” classes, there is one teacher who doesn’t want you to get water unless you’re gonna pass out.

    If you have to leave early, the teacher wants to know. If you just vanish, they go looking for you to make sure you’re okay.

    You don’t have to sit/stand in a ceratin way while demo’s are going on, but Professor Carlos will get annoyed if people are LOUNGING with their heads pillowed on their hands like they’re watching late night TV or something. He likes you to look like you’re awake and focussed. He will also make you do pushups if he catches you farting audibly.

    Bow on and off the mat.

    My teachers can be called by their first names, but you never go wrong just calling them “professor” or “sir”… probably the most polite choice for a visitor.

    • That sounds so extreme–re: evil horse stance. Wow. I will do my best not to embarrass you 😀 but I MAY very well need a drink. It’s hard when you don’t know when standard break times are. Ah, being a new kid. I’m still a bit out of shape and if it’s a tough class I often need water, though I do it with purpose and not in a meandering way.

      HAHAHAHAHA you have a farting rule. That’s hilarious.

      I like the idea of calling people “Coach.” Though when I enter a school I will likely just ask the instructor what I should call them.

  6. Take off shoes when you enter the school- there is a storage shelf by the front door.

    We bow when we step onto and off of the mats

    Line up is in rank order with the highest rank standing on the right and rank descending for those standing to his left.

    Handshake (fist bump) before, and after every roll- also good to say “thank you”

    No ankle locks unless you have been through the class- and even then it is poor form to use one on a white belt.

    Remember this is training- we don’t want to hurt each other.

    Refer to Professors as “Professor” and Coaches as “Coach”.

    • What’s the difference between a “professor” and a “coach”?

      I always say thank you afterward. I don’t know if this is a hidden rule or not–just seems like it’s courtesy. I see people bow when they enter the school and leave, but this may just be a Korean thing. No one makes a huge deal about it like they did in my tae kwon do school, where it would be a HUGE deal if you didn’t.

      re: not wanting to hurt one another. My friend said “Don’t break your toys!” lol

      • At my school, black belts are referred to as “professors.” I think it’s that way in most Brazilian schools, too and it’s done to recognized the years of hard work they’ve put in to get where they are (most of them have been studying BJJ longer than they would have to earn a PhD. in a university!). Any instructor below black belt = “coach.”

  7. When I started Karate, I was given a welcome booklet with a typed list of rules. The first day, I was also told the rules. They had a lot of traditional rules. Much like the ones listed above. The rules in Tae Kwon Do were a little more relaxed, but not much. My BJJ school is more about being courtious and respectful to everyone, all the time, but without all the rigid hoopla.

    • The first rule of BJJ school is… oh wait, wrong movie. 😀

      Wow–on the one hand, very cool to have all those expectations up front. On the other hand a bit overwhelming. Yeah–I like being courteous, but it’s hard when you’re navigating a new culture as well and don’t know what is considered courteous.

  8. Like Stephanie said, our school is really laid back. But there are some hidden rules that will get people in trouble if they don’t realize it. They’re not really rules. They’re just things that are considered rude.

    For example, if someone comes into Fabio’s and wants to do their own warm-ups instead of the ones’ Fabio is leading the class through, or if they refuse to do the warm-ups, then it is considered pretty rude. Or, if someone comes in talking about how awesome they are and how many places they’ve trained, pretty much everyone will want to grapple them. Talking trash is really frowned upon. Generally, as long as people come in with a humble attitude and are willing to work hard, they won’t have any problems.

    • hahah! Yes, the awesome people with their own warm ups always leave an impression. lol

      Though, not being able to do the warm ups is totally different. If you can’t you can’t. Fabio will never hold that against you.

      • I struggled with some of our warm ups. It was hard because when I first started I had a wrist injury and couldn’t put weight down on my wrist. It meant I had to skip cartwheels and these crab walks and what not. Sometimes the instructor would encourage me to do them and I’d have to point at my wrist. We would also do these backward shrimping moves and a few times I would do about 2 or 3 and realize the whole class was waiting for me so I’d just stand up and run to the back of the line. heh. I’ve not seen anyone do their own warmups, though sometimes when we do the ummm…I think they’re called breakrolls, when you’re doing a forward roll over one shoulder–sometimes I do standard forward rolls because the others hurt my shoulders too much.

    • It seems a bit weird that someone does their own warmups, though occasionally I’ll do forward rolls if the current exercise is a bit tough on my body, like the break rolls. Not always, but sometimes. And I flat out can’t do some of these things like walking forward on my hands. I get scared and have images of me cracking my skull open. So then I just do forward rolls. Or glance around shiftily and just run to the wall (we do a specific warmup from one wall to the other wall in a circle.).

  9. there are a few guidelines like..
    no shoes on mat, in regards to mat space the upper belt holds rank so move if you’re of lower rank, no slamming, and no insane footlocks if you’re a white belt.
    if i could only add a few of my own they’d be…
    no being a douche, advise your wife to stay home or stop piercing through my soul from the side of the mat, don’t huddle up taking the majority of the mat and annoying everyone with your gossip (guys are THE worst), if you’re 2x my size there is no need to commit 200% to a neck crank, lock it in, and reset. We ARE training partners.

    • I often ask my partner: Please don’t body slam me! when I feel they’re in a position to do so. One guy said “Thanks for telling me!” My body just flat out can’t take body slams. DON’T BREAK ME KTHNXBAI!

      I have also heard of the –move out of the way for the higher belts. Makes sense to me.

      We don’t have any spectators at my school. Occasionally my friend’s wife would come, but it was for things like when her husband was getting a blue belt.

  10. Julia-

    Our school just moved. The new address is 4616 Mission Gorge Place #B. Fabio likes to be called Fabio. Evening classes start at 6 pm, and morning classes start at 11 am, except for Saturday, which starts at 1030 am. We have pretty standard rules; bow before entering the mat, always shake Fabio’s hand first, do not enter the mat without a gi, you can roll with anyone.

    My email is dac6902 at yahoo dot com. Send me a message and I’ll give you my contact info.

    Dag

    • Dag–thank you for the info! I emailed you. I hope I can make it to your school on Saturday April 9th! Then we can do lunch!

      It will be exciting to visit your school! Glad there aren’t so many schools. I’ll be happy to greet your instructor first!

  11. Pingback: Review: Revolution Martial Arts and Fitness Women’s BJJ Program | Combat Sports Review Blog

  12. out of politeness, you don’t make eye contact with higher belts (kidding). You should only ask a person one belt higher then you to train, otherwise you have to wait to be asked. Unless you are friends with that person.
    we are allowed to train at whatever school we want regardless of affiliation this is the best part of the school. I have a home school but I will pay a mat fee to train at other gyms.
    we line up in order to highest rank to lowest and when we get paired up to drill the highest belt always trains with the lowest. This benefits both students, the higher belt gets to help instruct and the lower-belt gets individualized attentions.
    If you are in advanced class you train all the rounds. we are not allowed to stall or sit out a round if we are tired.
    we are not allowed to wear mismatched gis they must all be a solid color.

    • Agreed – I think this is best. I think that it’s either due to language or me being a woman that I’m often paired up with our purple belt, while two white belts are paired up, but at that point the selfish part of me says “meh” and takes the benefit.

      Interesting idea about the advanced class. I can understand why they would have it that way but OY that would be potentially rough.

  13. It is awesome to hear about other schools. We are lax about all the bowing and belt stuff, it’s not uncommon for someones belt to get loose and for them to just take it off instead of wasting time re tying it during a roll. We don’t get water breaks and if you took one during rolls you would get to do a lot of push ups to pay for it. We don’t go easy on anyone if you weight 90lbs and you get to roll with a 220lb guy, he won’t crush you to death or knee on belly with all his weight but it will be heavy and you will have to work to get him off of you. New people don’t roll unless they show up for advanced class, then we try not to break them. No slacking or anything that could be construed as slacking or stalling, or more push ups. No spazzing. No problems with being a few minutes late just hurry up and get to work. I don’t know anyone who would show up late enough to miss all the warm ups, but I imaging you would get some demented form of punishment, 6×10 minute rounds with a fresh guy every round? Mabey 12×5 with a fresh guy. It would suck what ever it was.

    • Yep – we just take it off if it falls off.

      It’s a bit uncomfortable to me to think about “punishing” adults. That feels…weird. But if it works for your gym, awesome.

  14. Funny I just met you the other day and I stumbled on your blog. If you know any more fouls in the gym let me know because I pissed off one of the blue belts the other day and that’s why I looked this up. I’m the guy you taught how to tie his belt if you remember me.

    • Hi Randy! I do remember you. In fact, I even mentioned you in this comment: http://jiujiubjj.com/2012/10/04/bjj-the-slow-methodical-roll/#comment-6107 hehehe Thankfully you weren’t the crazed Jackass MUST SMASH white belt! ^_^

      There are any number of reasons why you could have pissed someone off. You’re a spanking new white belt and that means any of the following could have happened:
      a) you were rolling extra hard
      b) you were rolling extra spazzy
      c) you just laid on top of him
      d) you did something like pull on fingers or toes or something like that
      e) some violation of Korean customs?
      f) he was having a bad day
      g) he’s a cranky guy
      h) other

      Hard to say. If you’d like, you can email me directly at julia at jiujiubjj.com and I can do some more brainstorming with you.

      I’d recommend that being brand new in a Korean BJJ academy that you do a few of the following:
      a) make sure you are bowing and greeting people (especially upper belts and ESPECIALLY the instructor) humbly and submissively. This shows respect in Korea.
      b) you thank people after they roll with you
      c) you bow and shake hands before rolling
      d) you call the instructor sabumnim or Chong Sabumnim
      e) you move out of the way of higher belts if you’re rolling and one of you has to get out of the way
      f) make a friend! Find someone who can help give you the ins and outs and tell you when you’re effing up! ^_^ Gyopos are super helpful about that.

      Also, one thing that’s cool is that Steve has been living in Korea for AGES, and he’s a great resource.

      If you can, go out with the group after practice on Saturday! We’re a fun bunch!

  15. I just found your blog and can’t stop reading! Great stuff! My husband is a black belt and I’ve been in the loop for some time – but just started training myself! I can’t believe what I was missing all this time.

    At our academy, there are a few spoken (the basics) and unspoken rules. No shoes. Nails trimmed. No jewelry. Stay clean (though not always done with the teens I think as they get RIPE). Greet black and brown belts in order of seniority (I greet everyone, though). If during practice a black belt comes onto the mat, everyone stops what they are doing and shakes his/her hand. Bow when coming in to the mat and when leaving. Tie your belt/fix your gi facing away from the mat. Shake hands/fist bump when starting to roll. We aren’t allowed to ask black belts to roll (I don’t even ask my husband) – they must ask us. No water until a designated water break (found this out by accident – everyone has to stop and do 30 burpees). Line up in order of belt rank and seniority before class and at the end. At the end all students shake everyones hand (in a line) and tell the instructors “thank you for training” and “thank you for class.” No non-academy gi’s allowed (although for visitors I think they might make an exception). Higher belts with lower belts (when available/appropriate). There are only a handful of women so we tend to practice with one another even though we are all vastly different in size. I have been taught to move out of the way for higher belts when rolling – but this is only really practiced in the adult classes – I don’t think the kids know. For adults, we can be a little late and not get docked for the class, but the kids cannot be late. If they are late, they get a red mark on their attendance card and do not get credit towards their next stripe/belt for that class (every 28 classes = 1 stripe as a general rule of thumb, although it’s somewhat subjective). There are probably a few more – just can’t think of them at the moment. 🙂

  16. Hi, all! This is my first comment regarding bjj in my life (jeah)! I’m new to bjj, started to train in January 2nd so not much exprenience jet.

    I just wanted to write about hidden rules in my class. Thing I like so much is there are hardly no hidden rules. I have some experience training in Aikido (which is Japanese martial art) and can tell that in that we had 50 times more hidden rules.

    In my bjj class we do not bow unless once in the beginning of training and once at the end. On opposite – in aikido you have to bow the same as BJJ PLUS when entering and leaving training room, stepping on and off mat, after seeing sensei explaining technique, before working on technique with your partner etc.

    I can sit anything I like when watching professor. I can drink anytime I like (at least no-one has said something else). Aikido class there is no water whatsoever. I need water as I can drink up to 1.5 liters during 1.5 hours of training.

    No shoes on mat (this is similar to aikido, but then we had to clean mat before Aikido training. Jeah – beginning students took buckets, filled them with water, and systematically cleaned mat with floor cloth).

    I can call professor how I like (I have not figured most appropriate form yet). In Aikido you call your teacher – sensei usually.

    I can roll with anyone I like. After training we have free mat-time so we try to roll playful simply for fun with anyone who agrees to roll with you. Actually my proffesor rolled with me after my 2nd or 3rd class. He is black belt. That was amaizing.

    NO talking while professor speaks.

    This is what I managed to remember from my first weeks of training. There should be some more hidden rules but these are I can think of right now.

    Although I am so excited to read your blog because your English is so good and your way of expressing is so interesting. Just keep coming! And excuse for all of my grammar errors.

    • Hi Rihis! Thanks for sharing! Welcome to my blog, and more importantly, welcome to a lifelong addiction to jiu jitsu! ^_^

      Usually with dancing and jiu jitsu, it’s a bad idea to say NO to rolling with someone and then start rolling with a different person. When I say NO to someone, I will sit out. It’s just a bad idea generally and makes people feel bad.

      It’s very cool that your professor rolls with you – that’s important.

      My English is good because I am a native English speaker and I’m an English teacher! Where are you from?

      • Thanks! It makes sense what you wrote about not saying no to someone.

        I am from Latvia, do you know where it is? 🙂 It’s one of three Baltic states located to east of Baltic sea. In all state there is only one bjj black belt – that is my teacher.

        Right now my goal is not to quit so soon. I am programming myself to train for one year or more and then look back. That is because if I quit as soon as first dificulties, that does not do justice to bjj as art and what it can do to my life (body, personality etc). I am sure you had your dificuties too (I read about them) but still you kept coming. That is nice.