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Dojo Etiquette


At Gorilla MMA, we train hard! Because that’s how we like it!


As a club, we try and create a positive atmosphere in which everybody can train and learn, and we put a heavy emphasis on respect. Following these  rules will help with that:



Rule #1 - Keep it safe


This is the most important rule at our Gym. There are some simple guidelines that will help prevent you from getting injured, or injuring your partner.       


Always tap if anything hurts, and always wear your safety gear!


  • As time goes by, you will learn to tell the difference between something being uncomfortable, and something causing injury. Despite the trite slogans, pain is not weakness leaving the body. Pain is your body becoming injured; which is neither tough, nor smart. So when in doubt, tap. Tap early, tap hard, and tap directly on your partner’s body, not on the mat itself.
  • Also remember that it is up to you to bring, and wear, the proper safety gear. This includes a mouthpiece, and when appropriate protective cup, or ear guards.


Always honour the tap, immediately!       


  • Whether you think you have a submission on or not, when someone taps, you stop - no exceptions.


All submissions go on slow!       


  • The mark of a good fighter is the fact that they can apply the finish, slowly. There are certainly moments where you need to scramble, but on the last few inches of extending the arm, or applying the submission, you should move in slow motion, and give your partner lots of time to tap. If they refuse, you should explain they need to tap, without extending the lock, and if they still refuse, let it go.
  • Athletes who consequently throw on submissions hard and/or fast, will be asked to leave the Gym.       
  • Twisting leg locks, and neck cranks are not allowed on the mat unless you are a experienced  fighter working with another pro. Talk to the  coach or your partner before attempting to apply any form of leg or foot lock.
  • Grabbing fingers, ears, hair, or skin is also not allowed. These things won’t give you an advantage, but they will make your training partner angry; it is considered bad etiquette.  When rolling or training with a more experienced fighter, it is also a bad idea.


Don't turn  it into a brawl!


  • When sparring, it's easy to get worked up and just start throwing punches. Not only will this get somebody hurt, you're also not learning anything. Also, it's a good way to knocked out.



Rule #2 - Keep it honest


This rule is about integrity.  Here is who you do not want to be:


  • You do not want to be the person on the mat who asks people to slow roll, and then turns it competitive as soon as you think you have an advantage.       
  • You do not want to be the person on the mat who sits against the wall, resting and then asks someone else who has been rolling all evening if they want to roll.
  • You do not want to be the person on the mat whom no one else wants to roll with, because you haven’t washed your uniform, or you have bad hygiene. This is not just an aesthetic issue, but also a safety issue.
  • If you want to roll competitive, say so up front. As long as you are clear from the start, then it is fine. If you haven’t been rolling as long as your partner, then acknowledge that fact when you ask them to roll, and don’t be a “mat shark” looking for easy prey. And if you forgot to wash your uniform, or your body, prior to class, then be forthright enough to stay off the mat. Keep it honest, and you will progress faster.
  • If you want to warm up or “slow roll”, make sure you inform your partner prior to rolling and make sure you maintain that pace throughout the roll. There are no submissions in a slow roll. 



Rule #3 -  The Coach is in charge


  • When your coach talks, you listen. There are no sideline classes, interruptions or discussions that should be occurring while the coach is teaching. Stop whatever you are doing right away, listen and follow the directions. This just isn’t for your own progress, or that of the other members, but also for everyone’s safety.       
  • When your coach talks, you listen. This rule is so important we'll say it twice.
  • When the coach explains an excercise, don't interrupt or question him in front of the class. It is extremely disrespectful.
  • If the timer is running, wait until the coach calls break before you quit the drill, roll or exercise. If you stop on your own to tie your belt, grab water, or sit in the bathroom, while the rest of your peers keep working, you only cheat yourself. The obvious exception to that is if you feel sick, dizzy, or injured. In these cases make sure you inform your coach and stop as needed so you can stay healthy.       
  • If you are unable or unwilling to do something your coach is asking, then talkwith them directly.



Rule #4 -  Keep it clean


  • Maintain good hygiene (i.e. shower and brush your teeth regularly). As you can imagine, it is difficult to concentrate on techniques when you find your partner’s smell distracting!
  • Keep your finger and toe nails short and clean to prevent injury to yourself and others. Nothing worse than coming off the mat feeling like you fought a cat!
  • Bring dry, clean training gear to each class. Wash your gi and your belt between classes. Always wear a fresh rash guard or T-shirt for no-gi classes.
  • Let your gloves, shin guards and helmet dry out! Don’t just leave them in your bag until next training.
  • Don’t wear shoes on the mat! Nobody wants to roll in whatever dirt you tracked in. Also, do not walk outside with bare feet. If you have to go outside, wears sandals or shoes.
  • Don’t train when you’re sick!  Nobody likes getting coughed or sneezed at.


Tips to avoid Bacterial (Staph) Infections or ringworm


  • Wear clean indoor flip flops in ALL areas of the gym (especially locker rooms) and remove before stepping on training mats. Do not wear these flip flops from the car as you are walking dirt in.
  • Wash your BELT! Too many people wash their GI's and forget their belt. That's how you drag MRSA bacteria back to the mats every day
  • Shower as soon as possible after EVERY training session - scrub well
  • Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with a proper dressing (e.g., bandage) until healed.
  • Immediately disinfect any cuts or scrapes after class
  • Tape and protect pre-existing cuts/scrapes before going to class
  • Do not store your sweaty training gear in a place where they will stay damp
  • Keep your damp training gear away from pets, your couch, etc. Consider them contaminated
  • NEVER bring a dirty GI/Rashgaurd back to the mats - you could be re-contaminating the mats
  • If you notice a training partner coming to class with dirty gear, EDUCATE them on the dangers!!



Rule #5 -  Keep it respectful


  • Do not shout loudly or use profanity in the dojo. This should go without saying! Swearing on the mat will only get you extra push-ups or burpees.
  • Also, don't swear or rage when you have to tap!
  • Don’t lounge on the mat when something is being shown.
  • Do not leave the mat during class without the instructor’s permission.
  • Keep cell phones off during class. Again, they distract those who are trying to learn.
  • If the instructor has not changed the task, then continue doing the task he or she has given (i.e. don’t sit around talking because you feel you have done a technique enough times). You can NEVER do a technique too many times.
  • Don’t modify techniques. If you have a question or remark, talk tot he professor.
  • Students will bow on the mat at the beginning of class and off the mat when done training. This shows respect to the school.
  • Student will treat the gym and its equipment with respect. Return all equipment where you found it after use. Clean up after yourself!