This is a list submitted by a listener of The BjjBrick Podcast. Hopefully this list will help make your gym more welcoming to visitors, travelers and potential new friends.
1. Introductions all around. It’s a tradition in most jiu-jitsu gyms, when first stepping onto the mats, to walk the room and greet everyone already on the mats. New comers should be sought out at this time. Make sure to ask their name, give them yours, ask about their previous experience on the mats, what brings them to town, etc.
2. A brief intro to gym etiquette. If they are brand new let them know we don’t wear shoes on the mats and we don’t walk around off the mats (especially to the restroom) in our bare feet. Explain to them the structure of the class so they know what to expect. Let them know if the instructor prefers to be called professor, coach, or by his first name. This type of information can go a long way towards making their first experience at your gym a pleasant one.
3. A good roll. I have visited gyms before and was unable to engage anyone in a decent roll at the full training/free rolling portion of class. The guys wanted to just sit out or roll with their friends. I have also visited schools where I’ve had tremendous experiences and tough rolls. Guess which schools I’m likely to visit again or would join if I moved to that area?
4. New knowledge. If you’re a higher ranked student and you roll with a visiting student of a lower rank, make sure and compliment them on the roll, and maybe make an observation that will help them out. Let them go home feeling like their jiu jitsu is a little bit better on account of their visit to your school.
5. Contact information and an invitation to return. Make sure they know how to contact the gym, find their website for scheduling questions, facebook or other social media accounts. I’m not and expert but I’m pretty sure if you can ensure, that at a minimum, all new/visiting students receive these five things the odds are pretty high that they will also be returning students.
Thank you to Joe Thomas for this list