The Dos and Don’ts of Open Mats

Open mats can be a great opportunity to roll with new partners and to visit other gyms. However, there are a few definite rules of etiquette to remember when attending an open mat at another gym. Follow these dos and don’ts for a open mat experience that’s beneficial for everyone.  

DO: Call Ahead

Call ahead or message the gym owner if you’d like to attend an open mat. Not all gyms allow athletes from other gyms to attend their open mats. Make sure it’s okay for you to go to the open mat before you show up. Sometime their may be a fee or a liability waiver that you need to sign. Be aware of any payment or paperwork required ahead of time. 

DON’T: Assume Any Gi Is Okay

Different gyms have different rules about apparel. When you call ahead, ask if there is an apparel requirement. If you forget to ask, the rule of thumb is to show up in a white gi, regardless of belt rank. You should also ask about rashguards, as gym rules may require you to wear a rashguard  

DO: Communicate with Your Partners

Before you roll, ask your partner what they’re looking for. Do they want a more competitive roll? Do they have any injuries you should be aware of? Make sure you’re on the same page and have the same expectations for your training time together.  

DON’T: Forget to Thank the Owner

After the open mat is finished, don’t forget to thank the gym owner for allowing you to attend. Being courteous goes a long way toward being invited to future open mats. This is also a good time to ask about the schedule of future open mats and get to know your temporary training partners better.