One of the great benefits of training at a Jiu Jitsu gym is the camaraderie and friendships made through training together. Schools can help to strengthen and extend the friendships made on the mat while building team spirit and unity by organizing social activities outside of the schools that will add value to the students’ experiences. Hosting activities outside the gym will help new students get acclimated to the social environment in the gym and give the students’ significant others and families a chance to meet the training partners he/she is always talking about during dinner. Here are a few low cost and simple social activities that schools can host to build team spirit.
UFC/BJJ Viewing Parties: Reserve space at a local sports bar or at the gym owner/member’s home to watch UFC events together. With the UFC and their partner Joe Hand productions cracking down on viewing parties at gyms, it would be best to host the event at a bar or home. Major BJJ events such as EBI, ADCC, Polaris, and Metamoris provide another opportunity to bring the students together to watch high level grappling. If the event is held at a home or at the school, make it pot luck and BYOB to help curb the costs.
Parent/Child Workouts: Want to build your kid’s programs or help parents get an idea of why their kids are having so much fun at class? Schedule a parent and child class with activities and exercises parents can do with their children. Schools might be able to use this event to get parents or kids to start training. With the hectic lives many families lead today, many parents would welcome a fun and low cost activity with their kids.
Bring a Friend Day: Some of the best advertising a school can use are their own students. This type of event will help introduce BJJ to the friends and family of members of students in a fun and casual workout that goes over basic exercises and fundamentals without getting gassed out and roughed up in their first BJJ experience.
Adventure Race/Hike/Rafting: Many BJJ practitioners cross train in other sports and activities such as CrossFit, rock climbing, hiking, and running. Organizing a team to compete at a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder can help spark a fire for students to train more frequently and cross train outside of the gym to prep for the race. Also, having other weekend activities such as going to a rock climbing gym, hiking, or rafting trips will provide another opportunity for students to bond outside of the gym and have fun. There is a risk that schools will take on in the event a student gets injured on one of these trips, which might make it better if a student rather than the school organizes these activities and excursions.
Tournament Support: While not every student competes in BJJ tournaments, all students can still go out and support training partners and friends who are competing. While most BJJ matches are boring to watch, watching a teammate compete at even a local tournament is just as exciting as watching a UFC Super Fight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre. Encouraging students to come out and watch their training partners compete might also spark a student’s interest in competing in a future tournament. Plus, most tournaments will have an acai bowl stand.
Promotions Ceremonies: Sure having surprise promotions and holding promotions at the end of class is fun and a memorable experience for students getting promoted. Many schools are now having ceremonies and parties centered around the mass promotions. Getting promoted is a special event for anybody in BJJ and getting promoted at a ceremony or event with other students you started with is an awesome experience.
Holiday Parties: Many schools have the holiday parties which could be combined with a promotional Ceremony and/or UFC viewing party. While some schools go all out at a fancy restaurant or bar, a Holiday party can again be as simple as a pot luck and BYOB affair. Holiday parties don’t have to be limited to just the winter. Many schools will also have summer cookout events at the beach, park or pool.
Does your school currently have a slate of social activities for its students?