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In this episode of \”Ask a Black Belt\” Professor Mikal tackles the question…
\”Are you for or against Open Mat sessions?\”
Watch the video to find out:
– What to avoid when attending open mat
– The most important question to ask your instructor
– How to really raise your game with open mat sessions
Let’s have a discussion!
Leave a comment with your thoughts below…Are you for or against Open Mats?
Brought to you by Aces Jiu Jitsu Club!
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- Author: Aces Jiu Jitsu Club
- Views: 1,987 views
- Likes: 24 likes
- Date Published: Jan 3, 2018
- Video Url link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkTJfSLLNEQ
What do you do at open mat?
For anyone who might not know, an open mat is an open training session at which there is no organized instruction. Many schools host open mats, and of those many allow students of other academies to attend, sometimes with a decreased (or waived) mat fee.
Should I go to open mat BJJ?
The short answer is yes, but you should expect to roll(spar). Open mat is a designated time for you and your teammates to use the mats as you’d like. There’s no actual class at these times, so it’s up to you to decide what you use it for.
What are BJJ Open mats like?
A BJJ open mat is the one day of the week where there is no structured class. By that, I mean literally no structure. Students get to warm up themselves and there’s no demonstration of techniques. In some schools, there aren’t even rounds on the timer.
What are open mats wrestling?
Providing a voluntary open mat practice introduces the sport to your new wrestlers without the high stakes of seasonal practice. This “peek under the curtain” allows those athletes to see whether or not they should continue in the sport and prevents the awkward quitting process if it’s the latter.
What is no gi BJJ?
In No Gi Jiu-Jitsu, you don’t wear the traditional uniform. Instead, you wear shorts and a t-shirt or rash guard. In the No Gi form of BJJ, you can’t grab your opponent’s clothing to increase leverage. To be a complete Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player, you should train in both Gi and No Gi.
What is Open Class in BJJ?
It is an open-weight style tournament that pits competitors against each other regardless of weight class. That means a 70kg person can be matched against a 95kg person, for example. But there’s no need to be intimidated.
Can white belts go to open mat?
This is a good way to train your skills with someone you’re not used to. Classes are great but open mats help reinforce what you’ve learned. Everyone, white belts and all, should definitely use the time to drill what you learned in class, drill techniques you find interesting, or roll to the death.
What is open mat sparring?
Open mat is a designated time for you and your teammates to use the mats as you’d like. You’ve probably debated whether or not you should go to an open mat or open sparring session, and you’re wondering what you might be missing out.
BJJ: The Benefits Of Open Mat
How many of you, our readers, attend open mats? I remember when I first started training I didn’t really understand what open mats were and what their significance is. Over time I realized that cross training could be valuable, and began attending open mats at other academies and my game grew as a result.
For anyone who might not know, an open mat is an open training session at which there is no organized instruction. Many schools host open mats, and of those many allow students of other academies to attend, sometimes with a decreased (or waived) mat fee. Given the way that BJJ evolves, and how information gets disseminated open mats can be a crucial way to learn and field techniques.
Another element to open mats is that you never know who will show up. I’ve been at open mats featuring multiple black belts and pro mma fighters who came to roll, I’ve also been to open mats with only a couple of people and worked on different situational rolling. In regular classes you get a fairly predictable mix of activities, you never really know what to expect when you walk into an open mat, only that you’ll have plenty of time to roll.
Another aspect of open mat is that it allows you to go places you wouldn’t normally go and train with people you wouldn’t normally train with. You can always cross train by dropping into other schools but open mats are specifically intended for what their name implies: to be open.
There is something anyone who goes to open mats should be aware of: not everyone plays by the same rules as you may be accustomed to. I’ve had people reap my knee and go for heel hooks at open mats or get mad at me for going for wrist locks. In the back of your mind expect the unexpected. Different schools treat different submissions differently.
Go to more open mats and you’ll be better prepared for what people may throw at you at competition. If you step out of the comfort zone you’ve gotten used to at your school, you will begin to really know what techniques other people are studying, you gain a better understanding of the parts of your game that work and which ones you may want to consider discarding, and on an overarching scale you’ll really be gaining the full benefit of jiu jitsu. If you don’t, chances are you’ll miss out on a lot of this.
I see so many people who strictly train at their gyms and don’t venture out. If you are one of those people, what is your excuse? Is it a time thing? Or is it something deeper and more psychological?
BJJ Open Mat: What is it and should new people attend?
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What is open mat time
If you’re new to Jiu Jitsu you’re probably not familiar with the term open mat.
You may have seen it on the gym schedule, or you’ve overheard teammates ask each other if they’ll be there or not.
You’ve probably debated whether or not you should go to an open mat session, and you’re wondering what you might be missing out.
What is Jiu Jitsu open mat, and should new people attend? The short answer is yes, but you should expect to roll(spar). Open mat is a designated time for you and your teammates to use the mats as you’d like. There’s no actual class at these times, so it’s up to you to decide what you use it for.
Most of your teammates will be rolling, drilling moves, practicing new things they’ve been working on, generally being social, and likely talking about Jiu Jitsu.
Open mat time is a time when you can come to the gym, and there is no set class, but the mats are “Open” for you and your teammates to use.
You and your training partners are left to your own devices, and you can use this time for lots of things.
No one is going to warm you up or go over any positions, so you don’t necessarily need to be there on time either.
Many gyms have different open mat days and hours. Often if a gym will be open for a holiday, it may hold an open mat instead of a regular class.
Some gyms hold open mats on weekends; some even have a “No politics” open mat. My old gym did this, and my coach allowed anyone from any gym to come and train on those times.
What to expect at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu open mat
Lots of rolling, that’s mainly what people go to an open mat for. You will see some drilling and talking.
You may also be asked to be someone’s grappling dummy so they can try something new they’ve been working on.
Occasionally your instructor might show a move or ask a visiting black belt to show something. This would happen from time to time at our gym’s open mat.
Sometimes during open mat, you might even have people drop in as visitors, and you can have some new people to roll with.
You can also check other gym’s open mat times and see if they allow visitors as well.
If your gym has rules on new white belts rolling and you haven’t started sparring yet, you might want to check with your instructor before showing up to open mat.
I started at a gym where everybody rolled. It didn’t matter if it was your first day. If you wanted to roll, they let you.
I know not all gyms are like that, and if your gym has specific rules about how long you train before you roll, open mat might be closed to you, so check beforehand.
If you’re new and don’t feel comfortable rolling yet, you might want to think about holding off on open mat until you get used to sparring.
Check out our article on 10 Tips & Tricks to Improve Your Jiu Jitsu Rolling Sessions
How can you benefit from going to open
Get to know your teammates
Some people are all business when it comes to Jiu Jitsu, I know I can be, with my busy schedule and life. I don’t have time to hang out and socialize at the gym as much as I’d like.
At open mat, I’m able to talk with my teammates and get to know them better. At regular classes, there isn’t enough time for me to do this. Usually, after rolling, I have to head out.
Since open mats are usually between 1-2 hours long, after a few rounds of rolling, you’ll find yourself resting and more than likely chatting with your training partners.
Sometimes after an open mat, some of your training partners might even go out for drinks and food afterward.
Once in awhile, although not valid for every gym, there may even be drinks and food at your open mat session. The first gym I went to would occasionally have BBQs/open mat days; those were always fun.
Get advice on your game
Open mat is one of the best times for you to seek and ask for help with your BJJ game. I think this is one of the best things that you can use this open mat for.
If you’re having a hard time in a particular position, go and ask someone to put you in that position.
You can ask people to show you what to do from a position that you don’t understand or often struggle with.
You can also ask a higher belt to show you that move they always catch you with. Ask them what it is that you blatantly do wrong that you can improve on.
You can even ask your professor to go over the move that he taught earlier that week that you might have forgotten a step to.
Maybe you tried the move, and it got countered, ask him what to do if that happens again.
Experiment with that new technique you’ve wanted to try
Like you can ask someone for advice on your game, you can also try something you’ve wanted to work on.
We’ve all seen that move on YouTube that makes us think, “I wonder if I can catch someone with that,” well go try it on someone at open mat.
You can do this in a live roll, or you can ask a training partner to be a willing victim while you work through the steps.
A lot of times, people are interested in learning new things as well. It’s possible that they watched the same video and were curious about it too.
Just ask someone, “Mind if I try something on you real quick,” I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say no to this at open mat.
Visit other open mats to get new people to roll with
I mentioned earlier that my old gym had a “No politics” policy for open mat. This was great, and it’d be nice to see more gyms do this, it’s such a great way to build a sense of community in our sport.
We were a competition focused school, and we loved getting new people to roll with. Our coach also encouraged us to cross-train as much as possible.
Dropping in at other gyms is something you should take advantage of. You can do this in your city or when you’re on vacation.
Always make sure to check a gym’s website or call to make sure it’s ok to drop in. Also, be aware that some gyms might have a drop-in fee.
We have a whole section of our site dedicated to finding the best BJJ in cities around the world. Check it out here.
Make sure to check out open mat next time and get some good rolls in. It’s guaranteed to be a good time.
Let us know what’s your favorite thing about open mat.
Thanks for reading!
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How to Get The Most Out Of a BJJ Open Mat With These Strategies
Sparring in BJJ, or rolling as it is referred to, is the most fun part of training. Apart from tournaments, MMA or a self-defense scenario, this is where people get to try out the stuff they’ve learned. The nature of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu allows for both the mind and body to be engaged during rolling. Especially at the advanced levels, BJJ rolls often turn into elaborate chess matches. Not even the smallest move is without potential dire consequence for one of the two people engaged. In fact, rolling is so fun, that most academies in the world have a dedicated day for it. It is the BJJ open mat. But was it originally intended to be a couple of hours long sparring session?
A BJJ open mat is the one day of the week where there is no structured class. By that, I mean literally no structure. Students get to warm up themselves and there’s no demonstration of techniques. In some schools, there aren’t even rounds on the timer. An open mat day is all about rolling, period. Well, no, as this is not the original intention. The basic concept of open mat did include rolling, but not as the sole focus of the class. Let’s take a look at the idea behind the BJJ open mat day before we explore different approaches for students of different skill levels.
The Point Of The BJJ Open Mat Day
In essence, the point of the BJJ open mat is to expand your game. Then again, most people perceive rolling as the only way to do so. Nevertheless, this approach is not the correct one. The time during open mat should be used wisely, with progress as the main objective. Despite what most people think, rolling is not directly proportional to progress. In fact, it often leads to erroneous habits that get exposed in tournaments.
First and foremost, the open mat is a place for improving your game. A big part of that is talking to your instructors. Whether it is asking questions, developing competetive strategies or a general game plan, an open mat is the place for Q&A. Instructors, on the other hand, need to be at students’ disposal during open mats, in cases of questions regarding technique.
Another huge benefit that is often overlooked is the time to drill. Most open mat sessions last at least a couple of hours, often more. This offers plentiful time that can be put towards drilling favorite moves, new stuff or polishing up things you’re not good at. We already covered the importance of drilling before. Regular classes can only dedicate a small part of class towards drilling. Open mat is where you get to put the reps in.
Competition preparation is one more aspect that can be addressed at a BJJ open mat. It is a great opportunity to discuss strategy with your instructors. A student can also discover areas of the game that need improvement and focus on those. Ask your instructor for an opinion, devise a strategy and get drilling. There’ll still be enough time to roll.
You could even do some extra conditioning at open mat, but who wants to do pushups when they can roll, right?
Open Mat Strategies For Beginners
From a skill level standpoint, not everyone should approach open mat in the same manner. Beginners have a lot of fundamental things to learn. They cannot grasp most of the fundamentals while rolling at full speed. In turn, there is a need for a much more structured approach.
Seeing as movement is one of the top goals for a beginner, it should also be a huge part of open mat sessions. It is advisable for new students to utilize solo drills based on movement, if not separately than as part of their warm-up. The body needs to adapt to patterns like shrimping, bridging and tumbling.
More advanced beginners that have a grasp on movement can engage in partner drills. The closed guard is a top priority for white and blue belts. So are a few passes from different situations and a takedown or two. Instructor supervision is advisable, but not necessary. Just make sure you get as many reps as possible.
The Q&A we mentioned before is arguably way more important for new students, as opposed to more advanced ones. The problem is that they’ll ask about everything, from basic sweeps to flying Gogoplatas. It is the instructor’s task to primarily point their questions in the right direction, before providing them with appropriate answers.
Of course, white belts are still going to want to roll. Despite their burning desire to get smashed, it is a good idea to do a few position sparring rounds first. Ideally, they’d be in line with the drills done earlier. That way, students can test the level of their newly acquired skill in a controlled resistance environment. And yes, they do get to roll at the end.
Open Mat For The Advanced student
As with the beginners, the advanced students (yup, even black belts) should partake in drilling during BJJ open mat. Of course, with a much different approach to that of white belts. Higher resistance partner drills or longer scenarios should be the focus of the session. It’ll allow students to perfect finer technical aspects like angles, positioning, and pressure. A lot of takedown drills are mandatory and, despite current practice, should not be skipped.
For competitors, an open mat is a time to re-discuss strategy over and over again. A good rule of thumb is to go over it at the start of every open mat. That way, you’ll know what to drill, how intensely and what you should improve. again, the strategy has to encompass everything, from standing tactics to counterfeiting on the ground.
During rolling, higher belts need to aim to roll with every belt level on the mats. Even so, all rolls shouldn’t be approached the same. Whenever a higher belt rolls with a lower belt, the point is not to destroy the less skilled student. When a purple belt rolls with a white one, they should look to practice new things that are not a part of their game. All experimentation should begin against lower ranked opposition, before testing it out against your peers. This is a great way to develop aspects of the game that you’re not proficient at.
When a student rolls with equal or higher skilled partners, goals should adjust accordingly. Namely, same level partners offer a great insight into how effective a competition strategy is. Higher ranked partners are great for practicing defense and counter-fighting concepts.
Finally, flow rolling is a good way to get loose, practice transitioning and work up a sweat before all-out rolling.
5 Reasons Why You Should Offer Open Mat Wrestling
With wrestling season nearly a month away for most school systems in the U.S., a lot might be running through your head as a coach. You might be wondering about who is going to show up on the first day. You might be concerned about the experience level (or lack thereof) of any new faces. You might even be worried about the relatively short amount of time you have to go over moves before your first match.
If these thoughts are running through your head as a coach, there might be a simple solution: run open mat practices before the season begins. Having coached at the middle school and high school level, I’ve seen various iterations of open mat practice provided over the years and how effective they are in the long run. With that said, you should run open mat practices because:
It Eases New Wrestlers into The Sport
Taking part in a new sport can be daunting for any new athlete. This is especially true for wrestling, as the daily grind of practice is started almost immediately. While we want the most determined athletes to step onto the mat, we often see many potential wrestlers walk away from the sport early on due to the intensity of practice or even the complexity of the moveset. Providing a voluntary open mat practice introduces the sport to your new wrestlers without the high stakes of seasonal practice. This “peek under the curtain” allows those athletes to see whether or not they should continue in the sport and prevents the awkward quitting process if it’s the latter.
It GIves Your Experienced Wrestlers More Time
On the other end of the spectrum, the addition of open mat practice gives your seasoned wrestlers more mat time, especially if they have championship aspirations. They know your routines and procedures for practice and therefore can be helpful with any new recruits you have. There is a caveat to this: some of your experienced athletes may in the middle of a fall sport and therefore are not able to make it. On the other hand, you can modify what you go over with your attendees to avoid those unable to attend being left behind. For those who are able to be there, extra practice time is always a plus.
Learn the Fundamentals with Adam Wheeler! Click Learn More!
It Allows You To Differentiate Moves
In teaching, differentiation is adjusting assignments for each student based on their current abilities, such as providing different reading passages. In wrestling, the concept can be similar, especially in a low-stakes open mat practice. While you give your inexperienced wrestlers shot drills or stance and movement practice, you can teach your experienced wrestlers a new move or reiterate something that was taught the previous year. This can also be done in regular season practice, but the fact that open mat is supplemental means that you’re not giving up precious practice time.
It Establishes Routines and Procedures Early On
Not every open mat practice will be the same. During my tenure, I’ve seen open mat being used as a “free roll,” meaning that each person is devoted to their own practice time and the coaches are there as moderators. While this isn’t a bad approach to open mat and mimics what most jiu-jitsu academies do on the weekend, you could argue that structured open mat can be useful. By using open mat as a proxy regular season practice, you can give your crew a preview of what is expected on the first day, such as when to weigh-in, how to warm-up, conditioning expectations, and so on. This curbs the issue of losing potential wrestlers who are blindsided by practice while letting your older athletes know of any procedural changes that you intend to implement.
It Can Be Fun
Open mat practice can be a valuable use of time in preparation for the season, but it should not have the same atmosphere as a regular practice. While establishing the routines and procedures of practice are important aspects, that can be done without rigor. Instead, you can use the time to demonstrate drills and moves that are informal and loose, such as “sharks and minnows.” Doing so accomplishes each of the previous reasons listed above, as new wrestlers can see how enjoyable the sport can be, older wrestlers still get their mat time, differentiation can be done by handicapping your seasoned members during fun drills, and normal practice routines can be discussed during the day. With that said, you can still ask any participants who are goofing off or causing trouble to be dismissed if it is detrimental to the practice as a whole.
Don’t settle for a normal wrestling season. Add in extra open mat practices before the season to get a broader view of your talent pool, and soon you’ll see how just a few extra few minutes on the mat can bring a few extra results once your first match happens.
Open Mat — Eastside Grappling
Come to the best Open Mat in Portland (probably)! Open Mat is offered on Sunday at 10am. This is open to all jiu jitsu, grappling and mma gyms, regardless of affiliation. Our open mat is done typically in the gi, though we occasionally have grapplers that practice no-gi. Every week we usually have practitioners from at least 3 different schools show up. It’s a great opportunity to meet some new people in the community and test that new thing you’ve been learning against an opponent who hasn’t been learning it at as well.
Mixed Martial Arts
On the schedule for Shaddock MMA Fitness, you may see “Open Mat” or “Open Sparring,” But what is it exactly? If you’re new to Jiu Jitsu you’re probably not familiar with the term open mat.Open mat is a designated time for you and your teammates to use the mats as you’d like.
You’ve probably debated whether or not you should go to an open mat or open sparring session, and you’re wondering what you might be missing out. If you want to learn more about these two session, please contact us. If you’d like to sign up, please fill out our sign up form and make sure you sign a liability waiver. All class fees are due before attending class.
Open Mat – Garra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Brisbane
“Open mat is not a ‘structured’ class. As a BJJ practitioner it is important to practice those sweeps, submissions or transitions you need improving on!”
Open mat is an excellent time to experiment with all the skills you have learnt within class time. Open mat is not a ‘structured’ class.
As a BJJ practitioner it is important to practice those sweeps, submissions or transitions you need improving on! Open mat is an open time frame where you can go at your own pace and train as little or as much as you wish.
It is a great time to share your skills and knowledge with others not as experienced and learn from those with more.
Friday evening open mats sometimes end with an impromptu dinner at local restaurant which is a great way to bond with your team mates.
Good way to find places to wrestle? (Open mat) : wrestling
I had an awesome college wrestling club that was pretty lowkey and mostly open mats. Now that I’ve graduated, I miss it and I’ve been trying to find places to wrestle/roll. BJJ gyms near me are around $200/month but I can’t find public clubs where people just come to roll. What do y’all do to keep wrestling after college?
What To Know Before Showing Up
What is an open mat in BJJ?
Open mat is the term used when a gym is open, without a class. Typically BJJ has a structured class-setting. This means you will turn up, warm-up, drill then spar and go home. Open mat is far less formal and means you can drop in at any time and leave whenever. Whether you go to drill, spar or just chill out – open mat is exactly what you make it. Often it is a good way to spar new people and you can train in gi or nogi.
Is open mat free?
Some gyms will have an open mat every weekend or on bank holidays. As a general rule, they are also open to other members of the BJJ community. This means people from other gyms and affiliations can come and train without paying money. Of course, some gyms may charge a fee to non-members, albeit this is very unusual. As you may have gathered, open mat usually has a very casual atmosphere.
Should white belts go to open mat?
Open mat can be quite a daunting place for white belts, especially new ones. Because of this, the thought of going alone may be worrisome at times. One way around this is going with fellow white belts where you can train together and work on moves.
Just don’t be surprised if a higher belt declines a rule. This may be out of snobbery or they may think you roll too crazy if you’re unknown. Don’t take this personally and keep it friendly. However, as a general rule – open mat is an excellent place to learn. The likelihood is an experienced belt may help you out on a few tips and it can act as a mini private lesson. Because of this, white belts should go to open mat as much as possible.
Before Showing Up
Always Call Or Email Ahead
The reasoning for this is quite simple. There could be a number of things go wrong if you just show up on the day.
1.The gym could be closed that day due to a local tournament or another event you don’t know about.
2. there might be some sort of uniform policy so you’re not allowed to wear your black/white/blue/branded gi.
3. Some gyms have had bad experiences from crazy people dropping in so have stopped letting strangers on the mats and their open mats are for members only.
4. The open mat on the said day may just be an unpopular day for people showing up. You may be much better off going to that gym on a different day. You don’t know until you ask.
5. Ask about whether you have to pay or not. A lot of BJJ gyms will charge money, just make sure that amount is OK before you show up, so you don’t feel ripped off.
On The Mat
It is always a good idea to introduce yourself to the highest belt or whoever is running the open mat. You may be tested in a roll against them to see if you are dangerous or not. Once people see you are not going crazy, they will also want to spar and learn with you rather than be worried about you.
2. If you are from another gym it is probably not a good idea to try and help the lower belts. You do not know their skill level or their history. Trying to help people you don’t know may offend them – even if you were much more knowledgeable.
3. Make sure you have good hygiene. This should be obvious.
4. If you are an outsider be respectful and courteous to other people. It is a good idea to be like this in life, but especially at someone else’s gym, you should make sure never to be rude.
5. Be clear about the rules. If you’re training no gi it would be advisable to ask whether heel hooks are ok before you spar, rather than after. You may not want to use leg locks on lower belts or slam wristlocks on anyone if you are not used to the gym atmosphere.
6. Don’t ask higher belts to spar. It’s becoming less controversial as time goes on, but some gyms still have an old school feel. I would personally be fine if a lower belt asked me to roll, but I have seen some people become annoyed by this.
7. Do not treat the open mat like a competition. Even if you are a competitor, if it’s your first time in the gym, you don’t know if the guy is a 40 year old accountant with 2 kids. He won’t appreciate you trying to murder him.
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Open Mat – New School BJJ London
No politics, just good Jiu-Jitsu. Open to everyone regardless of gym, team, and affiliation. Feel free to drill, spar, troubleshoot, ask questions, or just hang around. Our door is open. Always free to all students and visitors.
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Ground Control Columbia
We Provide a Fun, Safe and Friendly Environment for All Fitness and Experience Levels. Our Open Mat lessons are tough and thorough. You will be training with the best. Our gym is open to anyone who wishes to join. Be forewarned; the training you will receive is for fitness as well as Open Mat. Whether you wish to just do this for fitness or you wish to become a professional. Ground Control is here to help you.
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