The phrase “open mat” may be familiar to those who are new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Attending open mat sessions is suggested for beginners, but it might be intimidating if you don’t know what to anticipate. In order for you to feel comfortable going to a BJJ open mat, this post will give you information about them.

BJJ open mats enable practitioners to roll with one another, allowing them to gain knowledge through practical application. When applying what you have learnt to an actual fight, open mats are crucial. Any belt is welcome to participate in these sessions, which are typically an hour long and divided into many five-minute rounds.

What is the BJJ open mat?

A BJJ open mat is a training exercise where participants can enter and work on their techniques with other participants. All categories of practitioners are invited to participate in the training session. You are free to do whatever you want on the mats during these classes.

Open mats are frequently informal and give students a safe space to practice specific skills or simply spar with one another. They are a great method for BJJ students to develop their abilities, maintain their physical fitness, and foster a sense of community within the gym.

What happens at Open Mat?

Open mat sessions typically last an hour and include both No-Gi and Gi grappling. This is comparable to the length of a typical BJJ lesson. Depending on the preferences of the coach or gym owner, they are divided into roughly five-minute rounds.

The BJJ coach from the gym usually shows up to the open mat sessions and is in charge of starting warmups and timing each round. Other than that, BJJ practitioners will decide who and how they roll with.

The open mat environment is quite relaxed; anyone can invite anyone to roll with them, regardless of skill level, or they can choose to sit out if they are fatigued. After a roll, some players will take the time to exchange advice with one another and practice the tactics that were used. Some people might wish to push themselves as far as they can in order to test their endurance before a competition.

How do you participate in a BJJ open mat session?

You can take part in a variety of activities to hone your BJJ abilities and strategies. This might entail practicing particular moves, engaging in combat, and engaging in companion rolls. (Or the identical one, but that is rather dull.) Working on particular aspects of your game, such as guard passing or submission strikes, is another option.

To improve their physical state, you could also hold open mat sessions. Or maybe they’ll test out the fresh moves and methods they learned in class. In the end, each person’s actions during a BJJ open mat practice will be determined by their personal objectives and the session’s particular focus.

Even though you may roll, drill, condition, and attempt new tricks, training isn’t always the only thing you do. A few people enjoy having conversations about BJJ while they are sitting down. These could be discussions with your training companions about recent training or competition results, fight analysis, or just general catch-up.

How should I dress for a BJJ open mat session?

Typically, BJJ open mat sessions follow the same dress code as regular BJJ classes at the gym or school. People frequently wear no-gis because they are easier to transport, but if you want to perform gi-specific techniques, you must wear your gi.

If not, all you need is a mouthguard, a rash protection, and a pair of grappling shorts! It is crucial to dress in loose-fitting, comfortable apparel that allows you to move freely. Wearing pristine, well-maintained clothing is a very essential reminder. It’s a gesture of respect towards your training companions and the facility where you are taking lessons.

What if I’m confused about what to do during an open practice session?

It’s a good idea to make plans to meet up with a companion during open mats, but it’s also acceptable to just show up and work things out as you go. Even if you don’t have a plan in place, you’ll discover (or get sucked into) something to do once you arrive.

The open mat session’s outcomes may be influenced by gym culture. Some people favor conditioning and drilling, while others just roll. It’s okay if some people prefer to chat while they relax.

How much should I push myself during an open mat session? 

During a BJJ open mat practice, you determine how hard you push yourself. Generally speaking, it is wise to train at a level that is both challenging and secure for you and your training companions. You should challenge yourself to get better and pick up new MMA skills. However, you should also be conscious of your limitations and your training companions’ abilities.

The goal of BJJ training is to develop your abilities and learn from one another, not to hurt or harm your training partners. Asking for advice is always a good idea if you’re unsure of how hard to go during an open mat lesson. To offer some guidance, your teacher or a training partner with more expertise should be present.

Should White Belts Participate in Open Mat?

Attending open mat sessions is very advised for white belts in order to advance through their first belt more quickly and gain more experience. The rules of your neighborhood gym must be checked first because every gym has its own set of rules.

Before you can roll on an open mat, you might need to acquire a certain skill level, depending on the gym. The rolls will be more technical than if you were battling an amateur because every practitioner at the open mat will have some kind of offense and defense. Everyone, regardless of skill level, is welcome to join other gyms.

Benefits of Open Mat

A BJJ teacher would frequently advise his students to apply little to no resistance to their partners when they are practicing a move. This makes it possible to practice the technique’s movements and finer points without being distracted by your partner’s defense.

Yet, it’s equally crucial to practice these moves when under pressure and with your partner putting up a full fight. By training in these situations, you can be ready for the unpredictable nature of a street fight or tournament. Open mats provide you this chance.

Improves your skills

Rolling freely with others helps you assess your performance more accurately. You can pinpoint areas for improvement so your opponent can’t slip through the cracks and avoid submission. On the other hand, you might discover that you are adept at using a different strategy, in which case you will be aware of your strengths.

Also, you’ll begin to hone your skills, especially when competing against more seasoned players. Certain strategies work well against inexperienced attackers or white belts but fail to stop an expert attacker. You may be more susceptible to a counterattack if you use certain strategies.

To open their opponent’s locked guard, some white belts, for instance, will use their elbows. Both against unskilled opponents and other white belts, this usually works. The possibility to grab your arm and lock you in a triangle choke is available to a skilled BJJ practitioner, though.


There are some grapplers that attend these training sessions to drill, but most grapplers roll on open mats. By concentrating on certain moves, you may greatly enhance your game by having this additional time to practice.

At an open mat, you can practice a variety of drills, such as:

  • Guard Passing
  • Submission Defenses
  • Transitions
  • Sweeps
  • Positional Escapes
  • Takedowns
  • Submissions

Gets You Ready for Competitions

A smart way to get ready for a BJJ match is to roll on an open mat because the surroundings are similar. Despite the fact that there will be no points awarded, you will master new methods and play for extended lengths of time. You’ll need to be well-defended and ready for anything.

When you roll with individuals, you’ll also gain a sense for often employed tactics and begin to recognise behavioral patterns. This frees you up to concentrate on fighting these strategies and obstructing standard escape routes.

You will still become accustomed to rolling with different body forms even if you would be put into a specific weight class for a tournament. Triangles are typically better performed by tall, long-legged individuals, whereas a shorter, solid-necked individual is more difficult to choke with a triangle.

Trying out new moves

You have the chance to improve your training regimen and attempt new things with this additional time. Testing out new moves that you normally wouldn’t in a BJJ match. Working on your guard if you are a guard passer, or the opposite. Or even attempting a novel submission or sweep. You should use this extra time to expand your game’s capabilities because the options are virtually limitless.

Improve your technique

Open mats give you additional rolling time as well as a chance to refine your rolling technique. You can consult your coach or teammates for assistance if you’re experiencing trouble with a particular skill. Ask them to explain how to perform a move you’re having trouble with so you can pick their brains. Following a demonstration of the method, you can practice it until you master it.

Your Jiu Jitsu development will benefit from using open mats to correct your technique.

Additional Practice 

Because they provide you more experience, open mats are excellent for practitioners. You can focus on any techniques you need to improve, and you’re also teaching yourself to apply the muscle memory that has been developed through exercises. Practice makes perfect, and open mat sessions operate under this tenet.

BJJ open mats are crucial in general for solidifying your BJJ knowledge. All ability levels, including white belts, are typically welcome, and they are covered by the regular BJJ gym membership charge. As a result, open mat sessions should be a part of every BJJ practitioner’s normal training regimen. Make a point of visiting various open mats if you’re committed to your BJJ training. They provide you with additional mat time to enhance both your physical and jiu jitsu skills. Also, you get to practice the martial art you love and spend more time with your friends.