Open mats ask a lot of your body – with an hour and a half easily including 12 or more rounds of rolling. But going to open mat is something that will benefit Jiu Jitsu practitioners of every level. These special classes, often held on weekend mornings, include everything from people rolling like they’re at Mundials to people quietly murmuring as they drill a new technique.
Open mats are also a great opportunity to visit gyms. Visiting other gyms is a great way to develop a more well-rounded game; you might learn something from a higher belt at another gym you can take back and show your teammates. You can also see how you stack up to your peers of the same belt rank and determine if you are ready to start competing.
Finally, open mats are a great way to make even more BJJ friends. One of the best things about BJJ is the community of people who are supportive and driven. Jiu Jitsu is a great way to meet people when you are traveling, or if you just want some more local friends. Open mat is an invitation to experience the best parts of Jiu Jitsu.
An Ode to Open Mats
A fine bright day, I walk into the gym
I clasp hands, high five, and say “Let’s go”
They roll and choke and try to break my limbs
Although we fight, my friends aren’t my foe
We smile and laugh and then act baneful
My friends and I come so we don’t get fat
Tired I lie down and make a sweat angel
Oh my what joy is a BJJ gym’s open mat
Afterwards we all try to grow and stretch
My gym mates who skip can not get ahead
The purple belt rank, I am on the edge
The path of martial arts, we all can tread
Jiu Jitsu I never will forget her
Day by day I’m always getting better
Open Mat FAQs
What is an Open Mat?
An open mat is where a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym will “open” the mat to anyone who wants to come and roll. Sometimes people from other BJJ academies visit, and it’s a great opportunity to really cut loose and get some high-intensity rounds. Open mat time can also be used to drill if you have learned anything new you want to practice.
What Makes Open Mat Special?
Getting to roll is what separates Jiu Jitsu from other martial arts, and open mats allow for marathon rolling sessions. Rolling is not only a great workout, but it’s a tangible way to see your progress. Rolling is what helps BJJ practitioners build confidence and what draws many people to start training relentlessly.
What are the Benefits of Open Mat?
While there is no better exercise than getting in some good tough rolls, there are many benefits that come from going to an open mat. Some of which include getting to refine your technique, making friends, and maybe getting some time to learn from an upper belt you admire.
Can I just drill at Open Mat?
Absolutely you can just drill at an open mat. As the old homage goes, “Drillers make Killers.” Although drilling may not be as fun as rolling, people who drill consistently are known for having very clean and precise techniques.
Can I visit Open Mats at other Gyms?
If you are able to, it is a great idea! You might want to do some research and see if the gym you are visiting has mat fees, or allows drop-ins; calling ahead is always a good idea! You can learn a lot from visiting other gyms, like seeing different ways to do moves, or getting put in positions you are not familiar with!
Why would you write a Sonnet about Open Mat?
Why not? Poetry is a wonderful form of expression that can convey strong feelings about something wonderful.
Jack is a BJJ purple belt who holds a bachelors degree in English Literature. He enjoys traveling, reading, and the Bow and Arrow choke. One day he hopes to teach English overseas and become a published author.