1. Be prepared. Bring an extra uniform, water bottle, first aid supplies, and any other equipment you might need for the weekend. Make sure you’re familiar with the schedule and locations so that you’re on time.
3. Be aware of equipment differences. When you’re training with people who come from different dojos and different styles, they may use different types of uniforms or equipment. For example, people in Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu usually wear groin protectors so we make no bones about making contact to each other’s groins. That being said, people in other styles of Jiu-jitsu or even other dojos don’t necessarily wear groin protectors, or maybe only the men wear them while the women go bare. People might also wear lighter uniforms, which may not be able to sustain heavy abuse from throwing grips or other techniques that require the use of the gi. Communicate any differences that may be relevant to what you’re working on.
4. Be more cautious training with people you don’t know. There is always a few more risks involved in training with people whom you don’t know, especially when they are from different styles. Everyone has different levels of experience, different knowledge of techniques, different levels of pain tolerance, different injuries. So when you’re training with someone you don’t know, go slower and use more caution. Communicate openly, asking questions like, “Are you comfortable with this breakfall?” or “How is this level of contact, speed, etc?”.
5. Don’t overdo it. Martial arts conferences often put you in a position in which you might train more than you’re used to. Make sure you go at a pace you’re comfortable with. If you need to skip a session to let your body recover, by all means, do it. There’s nothing worse than coming away from a conference with an injury that could have been prevented with common sense.
6. Keep an open mind. When exposed to different instructors and styles, you’re going to be taught things that are new or completely different from the way you may have been taught at your own dojo. Keep an open mind and make an honest effort to learn. Allow your cup to be empty so that it can be filled. Besides, instructors rarely favour people who think they know it all and/or ask loaded or smart-alleck questions.
Have you any other tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments! 🙂