Awkward is never how I like to feel. I can remember 15 years ago when I interviewed for my first position with my current employer. I was feeling confident when I pulled up to the building. As I entered the building, I was not prepared for the feeling of awkwardness. I did not know where the receptionist desk was located, and no one would make eye contact with me. Finally, after what felt like an eternity (mostly likely was 5 seconds) a smiling face greeted me and asked if I was here for the interview. She walked me to the elevator and even pulled some lint off my suit coat. She was a big reason I got hired a few days later. She made me feel comfortable and confident going into my interview. If she was not working that day, I may have never received the job offer. I would have gone into my interview feeling awkward and it would have showed during my interview.
This reminds me of what I have seen in Jiu Jitsu. A prospective student enters a school and would like some information about the classes. I have seen instances where no one will even acknowledge the prospective student. This person will feel unwelcome, will not join the school and may never join the Jiu Jitsu revolution. I have talked to people about this situation and the one thing I hear is the owner or instructor did not do a good job of welcoming the new student.
I would pose the question is it only the instructor or owners job to welcome new students and grow your gym? I do not think so. I feel that students of the gym should also be taking a proactive approach to welcome everyone into the gym. Jiu Jitsu is a team sport and to grow our gym requires a team effort. Notice how I said “our” gym. When we join a Jiu Jitsu gym, we should be joining a team, a family, a collective group of individuals that all are striving for the same ends results. We want to learn and get better at Jiu Jitsu. By having a growing and progressive gym, we will have more opportunities to learn in terms of number of classes and training partners.
So next time you see a new student walk into the gym, why not be the first person to extend a handshake, offer a smile and say welcome to the gym, my name is Gary, what is yours?