The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating Within Your Academy
It happens ALL the time. A single girl joins a gym to learn self-defense or get into shape. The ratio of men to women in the gym is 10 to 1 (more or less). Of those 10 men, 8 of them are single. So the chances of one of them chasing after the new girl (or vice versa) could be a very high percentage. Sometimes it turns into love, sometimes it turns ugly, and in some rare instances, it can turn out amicable.
If you are single, especially in jiu-jitsu, it is normal to be drawn to others who share the same interests. After all, this is what we often look for in a significant other (and also the biggest complaint of people who do BJJ who have spouses who don’t). However, there is a right and WRONG way to date within your academy. Let’s discuss some points here:
DO act like adults in a relationship, not school aged children. Prior to getting into a relationship, agree that should it not work out, it will not affect your relationship inside the gym. Many times when couples break up, one person is often forced to train at another gym. This disrupts other friendships in the gym as a result.
DO keep the PDA in the gym to a minimum. There’s a time and place for cuddles and the gym is not one of them. Don’t always partner with each other for drills. Keep your training separate from your relationship, as there are many opportunities outside of the gym in private where you can discuss techniques, etc. Your training time should be your own, not QT as a couple.
DON’T be a home wrecker. If you are in a relationship or marriage but are tempted by someone new in the academy, DO NOT become a cheater. Handle your unhappy business before trying to get into another relationship. Don’t leave room for questions or speculations or reasons for someone to try to get more money out of you in a divorce. If you are single, DO NOT become a home wrecker. If you know someone is in a relationship or marriage, do not try to seduce them. If they are really unhappy, they will handle their business before moving on to you.
DON’T be controlling and try to force your Jiu-Jitsu on your significant other. This is especially common when one person in the relationship outranks the other (i.e. brown/black belt with a white belt). Just because you have your favorite guard/game, this doesn’t mean that your significant other should have the same. Their BJJ journey is their own, not yours as a couple. Let them have the freedom to explore and figure out things on their own. Yes, you can be there for technical support, but don’t try to dominate their training. Just like how we wrote about helicopter parents, don’t be a helicopter significant other… unless you want them to stop training.
Relationships in the academy can be harmonious if approached the correct way. However, if it doesn’t work out, don’t turn it into a battle of who stays or goes in the academy. You should always remember why you started training in the first place – which was never to find a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, or husband. And just remember: if you see some familiar faces at your academy when you’re scrolling through Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish… just keep swiping. If it was meant to happen, it will happen.