What is Open Mat BJJ?

What is Open Mat BJJ?

1. Open Mat BJJ

Open mat BJJ is an opportunity to train and roll with anyone you like. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu open mats invites BJJ athletes from the other gyms in their area to come for the purpose of learning something new from each other. There is no lesson plan to follow. Students are welcome to spar at their own pace and convenience.

It is a good gesture to give open invitations to the athletes to learn and grow and have fun on the mat.

This activity is highly admired in jiu-jitsu communities as it gives a chance to gain something extra from the BJJ athletes regardless of their belt levels and affiliations. The meeting lasts for two hours or longer and sometimes some academies allow open mat invitations every weekend.

2. Benefits of Open Mat BJJ

You do not require any specific experience to join open mats as long as you want to learn. It openly welcomes athletes to share their moves and techniques. Open mat sessions are the source of motivation. Meeting with different people, listening to stories and learning from their experiences. You can gain the following benefits in your open mat sessions.

2.1. Extra Time To Train BJJ

Attending open mat sessions will give you extra time for BJJ training. It's an equal opportunity for the kids and their parents to attend these sessions to develop their kids' interest in martial arts. Although kids and adults train on different mats and mostly at different timings.

2.2. No Extra Charges

In open mat sessions you do not have to pay extra for the rolls. You can practice your game freely without thinking about the extra charges. Learn new skills and get answers to your queries.

2.3. Enhance Your Training Time

With the improvement in your techniques and sparring styles, you can enhance your training time during open mat invitations. You may miss training sessions due to your business tours or workload. In open mat BJJ you can find a makeup time for your training.

2.4. Get ready for Competitions

Regularly attending open mat sessions, sparring and rolling with other BJJ practitioners will help you to prepare yourself for the BJJ competitions.

Testing your techniques on different BJJ athletes helps you in the effective execution of submissions, escapes and reversals. You will be practicing with different weight categories at your convenience.

2.5. Enjoy Your Time On Open Mat

You will enjoy your time in open mat sessions. No worries for mistakes. Have fun sparring with everyone. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu open mats allow you to freely participate and gain knowledge from other BJJ athletes. Make new friends and avail the best opportunities.

2.6. Improve Your Performance

Taking classes in the BJJ academies and attending BJJ open mat sessions every weekend will definitely improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu performance.  Rolling strengthens and conditions your body. Open mat BJJ is a great workout. Performing small sparring and drilling rounds with little breaks will enhance your cardio and greatly improve your Brazilian Jiu-jitsu performance.

2.7. Take Care of Your Hygiene

There are many people involved in the training sessions. Do not forget to keep yourself clean and hygienic. It is essential to protect yourself from different diseases. Sometimes, you may not know the person with whom you are sparring recently got affected by ringworm or herpes.

Rashes are not noticeable at first but they can worsen if left unnoticed. Make sure to take a bath after rolling and sparring. Use antifungal soaps for this purpose.

3. Who Should Participate in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Mat?

Everyone is allowed to participate in an open mat session. These sessions are open for grapplers from any belt level. You should participate to discuss your problems, issues and techniques applicable to different situations.

You can practice your weak points with the highly experienced athletes, and watch them sparring and drilling with other experienced persons. All these activities will boost your motivation and you will be able to develop confidence.

4. Mistakes to Avoid in Open Mat Sessions?

Like attending BJJ gyms, there are some procedures and rules to follow on open mat sessions:

4.1. Warming Up

Many people do not warm-up because of the informal open mat invitation, warming up is essential in grappling to protect yourself from injuries. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a physical sport that requires effective warm up to roll on the mat.

4.2. Excessive Rolling and Sparring

BJJ open mat sessions are focused on drilling, rolling and learning new techniques, not aimed to force any opponent to submission. This will harm your opponent and the person may get annoyed. Roll and spar but do not forget the essence of open mat BJJ.

4.3. Cool Down

Failure to cool down after rolling on the open mat may cause muscle stiffness, give your body time to relax and do not hurl outside right after the session. It becomes hard for the muscles to recover and prevent future injuries.

4.4. Arrives Late in the Session

Showing up too late for the open mat BJJ is not beneficial for anyone. The BJJ open mats are filled up quickly. Latecomers won't be able to enjoy the full benefits of BJJ open mat sessions. Maybe your sparring partner in the gym gets the chance to improve himself but you missed the opportunity on late arrival.

4.5. Focus on Rolling Rather Than Winning

Open mat BJJ tends to improve your BJJ skills. Do not focus on winning from your partner. You can learn from open mat sessions and use your skills in BJJ competitions. 

4.6. Tap Out Frequently

Frequently tap out when trapped in a submission. Open mat BJJ does not call for any competition or scores. It calls for learning and sharing your knowledge and for making new friends from the BJJ community.

4.7. Give Respect to All

GIve respect to all in the space you are training with. Don't get serious or show an attitude. Always give reverence to the seniors. Try to keep the environment clean and friendly and have fun with everyone in the training session.

Any bad habits or mistakes while rolling on the open mats can disturb the environment.

5. How Can You Gain Maximum From The Open Mat BJJ

Open mat BJJ gives you the opportunity to meet the best BJJ practitioners in your area. To gain maximum from your visit, you should ensure:

  1. Do not panic when rolling with the fighters having more experience than you. Learn from your mistakes. Just focus on your drills. As “Drillers make Killers.”
  2. Do not be afraid of asking questions. Avoid laughing on silly questions. Open mats give the opportunity to glean the brains of experienced fighters.
  3. Open mat sessions have no rule set or restrictions on the players visiting.
  4. Don't let your ego ruin everything in the BJJ open mat session. Build a community to help and learn. Stay humble.

6. Open Mat Breakdowns

7. Should White Belts Go to Open Mats?

Open mat BJJ not only provides the opportunity to showcase the capabilities of the participants but it also creates an opportunity to compare, motivate and learn from the black and brown belt holders.

White belt practitioners must go for the open mats sessions to spar and drill with senior belt levels as a learning experience, as long as they are willing to learn with a humble attitude. It is not recommended for white belts to roll directly with black belts. Participants having different belt levels and weights will enhance your learning and skill level two fold. If not every weekend try to join an open mat session at your convenience to analyze your learning and performance.

Work on your weak techniques and try some new ones while sparring with blue and purple belt athletes.

Take the fears out of your mind that you won't be able to roll with more experienced fighters. Remember! Open mat BJJ is fun learning.

8. Conclusion

Open mat BJJ is the training session with no organized rule set or instructions. The main purpose is the dissemination of information through multiple black belt or pro BJJ and MMA fighters. Open mat BJJ allows you for situational rolling.

Different schools and instructors train for different submissions and other techniques differently. Maybe, the technique you are finding difficult to get trained in can be learned in minutes with the change of instructor and location. With no doubt, attend open mat sessions to gain full benefit of Brazilian Jiu-JItsu.

Photo credit: @elite-mma

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