9 Gym Etiquette Rules For Martial Arts Newbies

No-Gi BJJ World Champion Bruno Pucci watches over a beginner's class at Evolve

The way you conduct yourself at the gym can make or break your martial arts learning experience.

If you go about your training sessions unknowingly committing taboos, then it may be challenging to find training partners to work with.

However, if you follow some common codes of conduct, then you will find your time at the gym more enjoyable.

With the help of three ONE Championship athletes, we reveal nine gym etiquette rules every martial arts newbie should follow.

#1 Make Friends

BJJ practitioners at a Singapore gym wear mouthguards

When you join a gym, you are going to be spending a lot of time there.

It makes sense to get to know everyone, so introduce yourself to the instructors, the staff, and the gym members.

Copa De Mundo BJJ World Champion Alex “Little Rock” Silva encourages all students to interact and get to know one another.

“Everyone is here to learn,” he says. “You see each other in class every day, so knowing your teammates and being friends will make learning more enjoyable.”

#2 Show Up On Time

Always be on time. Better yet, get to the gym early because showing up late is disrespectful to your instructor and everyone else in the class.

When you are late, not only do you miss precious minutes of training, but your tardiness could interrupt the flow of the lesson.

Of course, unexpected things – like rush-hour traffic and car breakdowns – do happen, and you will be late occasionally. But do not make being late a habit.

#3 Take Your Shoes Off

Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai in training

Most gym owners clean a few times a week because they do not want any bacteria lurking on their mats.

If you walk onto the mats with your sneakers on, you will bring unwanted bacteria into the training area.

With that said, take off your shoes before stepping onto the mats.

Also, if you need to go to the bathroom – or anywhere else in the gym that is not matted – put on flip-flops and stroll to your desired destination.

#4 Keep An Open Mind

Whether you are sparring with a friend in kickboxing or rolling with a complete stranger in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, expect to be tested physically and mentally.

Approach each lesson with an open mind. Heed your coach’s advice and be receptive to feedback if you want to grow and improve your skills.

Bantamweight mixed martial arts star Troy “Pretty Boy” Worthen advises students to put their egos aside before coming to class.

“There are people who have delusions about how capable they are in defending themselves, the type of shape they are in, or even their fitness level,” he explains.

“You should come into the gym with an open mind and expect some adversity. Only then will you come out stronger.”

#5 Practice Cleanliness

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Bruno Pucci teaches at Evolve MMA

Nothing is worse than rolling with someone who is wearing a smelly gi or sparring someone whose hands are wrapped in what smells like wet socks.

If your gym clothes or gear smell funky, then wash them. Also, shower after you train. If you could shower before you train as well, even better.

Finally, if you use a pair of gloves, shin guards, or any other piece of training equipment at the gym, then make sure you clean them with a disinfectant when you are done.

#6 Cover Your Wounds

If you have any open wounds, throw a band-aid or some other type of cohesive tape over it.

You do not want to run the risk of getting an infection, and you do not want to gross people out during class.

Not everyone will be comfortable clinching or rolling with someone who has an open cut.

#7 Clip Your Nails

Nothing is more annoying than training with someone who has long fingernails and toenails, so keep them short.

When practicing the clinch for Muay Thai, you will be using your hands quite a lot around your training partner’s neck.

If you do not keep your nails short, you run the risk of scratching their skin when jockeying for position and executing sweeps.

#8 Treat Others With Respect

BJJ World Champion Bruno Pucci teaches at Evolve MMA

Follow the golden rule: treat people the way you want to be treated.

Singapore’s own Tiffany “No Chill” Teo stresses the need to be cordial to both teammates and coaches.

“Don’t be that person who comes in with a know-it-all attitude,” she says. “Everyone is there to improve and regardless of our skill level, there is always something to learn.”

Also, no one likes to be disrespected, so keep that in mind when interacting with your fellow training partners and coaches.

#9 Don’t Hurt Your Training Partners

Muay Thai practice at Juggernaut Fight Club in Singapore

Not all your training partners want to compete in the ring. Some people just want to learn for fun or to get into shape, and that is important to remember.

Lightweight contender Amir Khan believes it is important to be mindful of your teammates during sparring.

“If you are always trying to beat your training partners, people may not want to work with you, and that makes the whole lesson not as fun anymore,” he says.

Be aware of your skill level, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, when working with another person. You are training to train another day. Your partner is, too.

More in Advice

Tye Ruotolo Magomed Abdulkadirov ONE Fight Night 16 16
Thai mixed matial arts star Stamp Fairtex throws some knees in that clinch
Tye Ruotolo and Kade Ruotolo with Andre Galvao
Jackie Buntan Diandra Martin ONE Fight Night 10 11
Regian Eersel Sinsamut Klinmee ONE Friday Fights 9 96
demetrious johnsons training one championship exclusive
Chingiz Allazov stands in the Circle at ONE Fight Night 6
Tawanchai PK.Saenchai is declared winner at ONE 161
Lara Fernandez clinches with Dangkongfah Banchamek at ONE 164
Evolve BJJ Class Air Squats 1298X834
Joshua Pacio with the ONE Championship belt
Group sit-ups at Evolve