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Updated: Apr 1

Groundworks BJJ founders, Chris Chi, Sean Diviney, and Sean Lynch standing in front of the academy logo

Many academies, Groundworks included, have rules that set behavioral standards. While rules are helpful because they create clarity on what behaviors are expected and acceptable, they tend to focus on what to do and not do. In addition to a few rules, Groundworks has a set of principles that define our gym’s culture. Rather than telling students what to DO or not DO, our principles provide our students and instructors with a north star that guides them on how to BE in various situations they’ll find themselves in. It’s up to each student to interpret the principles and how to apply them in their training and in their lives.

Clean - We respect our training partners by showing up to practice with our body and gear washed and smelling good. We prevent skin infections by not letting anything that touches the floor touch the mat and by sanitizing the mat after every training session.

Tough - Jiu-Jitsu is a fighting art and in order to excel at it you must have hard sparring rounds where you are pushed slightly beyond the limits of what you thought you could handle. Doing so builds physical, mental, and emotional toughness.

Gentle - Learning happens more effectively when we feel respected and cared about. We look out for one another’s well being, give one another the benefit of the doubt and assume ignorance over maliciousness when there’s ambiguity in someone's actions.

Responsible - There is a hierarchy in Jiu-Jitsu based on ability, knowledge, and belt rank. The higher we are in the hierarchy, the more responsibility we have to help newer students and champion Groundwork’s culture.

Technical - We strive to use leverage and position over our physical attributes: weight, strength, and speed. In tough, competitive sparring it’s necessary to use our physical attributes, but when not engaged in competitive rounds, we focus on using our technique. This has the added benefit of allowing athletes with very different physical attributes to train with and learn from each other.

Safe - We respect the tap. When training with a less knowledgeable opponent, we let them know when they’re in danger and don’t recognize it. When training with a smaller or weaker opponent we moderate our use of weight and strength. When socializing off the mat, we avoid words and actions that might cause a teammate to be uncomfortable coming to class.

Growth Oriented - Jiu-Jitsu is a skill that can be learned and improved over the course of our lifetimes. We improve a little bit each training session and strive to always be a little better than we were the previous day, week, month, year.

Competitive - We regularly have tough, competitive sparring rounds with our similarly skilled teammates. We improve our confidence in our Jiu-Jitsu by competing in tournaments outside of the academy.

Inquisitive - We ask questions of ourselves, our teammates, and our coaches. We experiment and try new techniques and training methods. We actively seek out the gaps in our knowledge and ability and look for answers on how to close them.

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