The Jiu-Jitsu Nomad
Somewhere in between the academy loyalist and the creonte, there is the BJJ nomad. While it’s technical meaning is a person who does not stay long in the same place; a wanderer – the BJJ nomad can be someone who hasn’t quite found their place in a new place just yet or like the true nomad, cannot stay in one place for longer than a minute.
There are a couple types of BJJ nomads. The first is someone that just moved to a new place. They were loyalists at their old academy back where they started jiu-jitsu but haven’t quite found the time or the place to commit to. These nomads do not train consistently. They will drop in here or there and may even often train in the comforts of their own home (portable mats are a great thing). More importantly, these nomads often don’t care too much about promotions. They just enjoy training and when they are ready to commit to an academy, they will have no problems doing so.
The second is someone who is truly a wanderluster. Every chance they get, they are always traveling to somewhere new for long periods of time. They will jump from gym to gym because they are just visiting or have friends who train there. In any case, these BJJ nomads are always moving around. Hence, the real meaning of a “nomad.”
Lastly, there is the “friends with everyone” kind of nomad who have friends that train at every academy near them but they can’t quite make up their mind about where to train because they don’t want to disappoint their other friends who train elsewhere. They often do open mat sessions here and there, or may train at home with friends. Same like the first type of nomad, this person enjoys training but is not too concerned about getting promoted. They are also just along for the BJJ ride… for now.
No matter the type of BJJ nomad, they should not be considered creonte. Because they haven’t committed to an academy, there is no need to question their loyalty. If you really think about it, these BJJ nomads have a pretty good life. Aside from possibly not receiving a promotion because their training consistency is questionable, they get to cross train with different academies and learn each school’s “style” of jiu-jitsu. They expand their social network amongst the BJJ community and are usually welcome everywhere they drop into. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
However, this is not to say this nomad lifestyle should trump the academy loyalist, but it does offer a different perspective of jiu-jitsu that could be helpful in truly understanding the beauty of the art and its community rather than focusing on the “status” part of BJJ.
Whatever the case, to each their own. It doesn’t matter where you train… as long as you don’t stop training ever.