If you’ve truly been bitten by the jiu-jitsu bug, you might find it hard to travel for work or go on vacation without training at least once. And now, a website called Jiu-Jitsu Junkie is making the process of finding an open mat a whole lot easier.
The concept for the site was born from a conversation between brown belt Abi Pacinelli and white belt Amanda Orson, who’d only been training for about a month at the time. Orson had been looking at her calendar and realizing that her business trips would be taking her all over the U.S. and beyond. “I’m a typical impatient white belt and don’t want to lose weeks of training,” she said.
Orson reached out to Pacinelli as a “last resort” after having looked through apps and websites and finding nothing that suited her needs. “Everything that exists now is neglected, stale, or specific to one domain – just Southern California. Just ‘Submission Grappling.’ That sort of thing,” she said. She knew that if Pacinelli’s experiences in travel and jiu-jitsu hadn’t led her to a better option, a better option probably didn’t exist… yet.
Pacinelli and Orson had an idea of what needed to be created in order to achieve what they had in mind, but they also knew they couldn’t do it alone. “The site was born from the marriage of my need, [Pacinelli’s] expertise/ authority, and then bringing in a bunch of other enthusiastic people that can get sh*t done,” said Orson. The duo recruited four other teammates — Teresa, Liz, Jacklyn, and Cathryn — to help with other aspects of the endeavor that suited their expertise, such as content, social media, PR, business, development, and research.
Then, just last week, Jiu-Jitsu Junkie was unleashed onto the BJJ world. The process for getting involved on the giving or receiving end is simple: just go to the website, submit all the relevant information for your open mat, and wait for interested visitors to start coming in. If you’re one of those interested visitors, just search your location on the site, and you’ll find all the relevant information (including photos, any mat fees, contact info, and specifics such as whether the event is women-only or exclusively gi or no-gi) that you need to know in order to make the most out of your training time. You can also claim an existing listing if you need to make changes to it.
Right now, the site is new, and since JJJ relies on user submissions, the listings are a bit sparse. But you can help change that by signing up, submitting your own academy, and spreading the word. As the site grows, the women behind it hope to be able to add other events, such as tournaments and seminars, and also be able to gain some revenue to be able to support non-profits such as My Bruises Are From and Black Belts For Butterflies.
Whether you yourself are a frequent traveler or you just hope to spread the love of jiu-jitsu, take a look at Jiu-Jitsu Junkie, get your academy signed up, and tell everyone you know so they can do the same.