What Is and How Does the BJJ Open Mat Work?

March 8, 2023
From: Spartacus
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Calling all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) enthusiasts, have you ever heard of the mystical “open mat”? It’s like stepping into a secret BJJ dojo where magic happens! If you’re new to the world of BJJ, fear not, because we’re here to guide you on an exhilarating journey through the realm of open mats.

What is the BJJ open mat?

Have you heard the phrase “open mat” tossed around but have no clue what it means? Fear not, my friend! Open mat sessions are where the real magic happens, and we’re here to give you the inside scoop.

First off, attending open mat sessions is highly recommended for beginners like you. Sure, it may seem intimidating at first, but trust us when we say it’s worth it! Open mats give you the chance to put all that theory into practice, which is essential when it comes to BJJ.

During open mats, you get to roll with other practitioners, and that’s where the real fun begins! It’s an excellent way to learn by doing, and you’ll be amazed at how much you pick up in just an hour. The best part? Anyone can participate, regardless of belt colour!

Open mats are frequently informal and give students a safe space to practise 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 BJJ Open Mat?

Open mat sessions are a dynamic and flexible space that lasts approximately one hour, featuring both No-Gi and Gi grappling. They’re divided into several rounds, typically around five minutes in length, according to the gym owner or coach’s preferences.

During open mat sessions, the BJJ coach typically shows up to kick off warmups and keep track of timing for each round. However, beyond that, the session is mostly free-flowing, with practitioners having the freedom to decide who they’ll roll with and how.

The vibe at open mats is incredibly laid-back, making them the perfect environment for BJJ enthusiasts of all skill levels. If someone is feeling tired, they can choose to sit out a round, and anyone can invite anyone else to roll with them. After rolling, some players may take a moment to exchange tips and techniques with each other, practising the moves they just executed. For those gearing up for a competition, open mats can be a valuable opportunity to push themselves to their limits and test their endurance.


How do you participate in a BJJ open mat session?

There’s a world of possibilities when it comes to honing your BJJ skills and strategies. From drilling specific moves to sparring and partner rolls, you have a range of activities to choose from to take your game to the next level.

One way to improve your physical fitness is by participating in open mat sessions, where you can practise the new moves and techniques you learned in class. However, the specific focus and goals of each open mat session will vary, depending on each person’s objectives.

But training isn’t just about rolling and drilling; it can also be a social experience. Some BJJ enthusiasts love nothing more than sitting down with their training partners to discuss all things BJJ. From analysing recent fights and competitions to sharing training tips and general catch-up chats, conversations about BJJ are an integral part of the training experience.

How should I dress for a BJJ open mat session?

When it comes to dressing for a BJJ open mat session, comfort and functionality should be your top priorities.

Most people wear a BJJ gi, which consists of a jacket and pants made of thick cotton material that can withstand the rigours of grappling. If you don’t have a gi, you can wear a rash guard or a fitted t-shirt and shorts made of stretchy material like spandex or polyester. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing, as it can get tangled and make it challenging to move around comfortably.

Additionally, it’s crucial to wear clean clothing and maintain good personal hygiene to avoid spreading germs and bacteria. Many BJJ gyms require you to wear clean and well-maintained gear, so make sure to check with your gym’s guidelines before attending an open mat session.

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

If you’re feeling confused or unsure about what to do during a BJJ open practice session, don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal, especially if you’re new to BJJ.

The first thing to do is to ask your coach or training partner for guidance. They can provide you with tips and suggestions on what to focus on during the open mat session, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Another option is to observe other BJJ practitioners and learn from their techniques and strategies. Watching others roll and practice can give you ideas on what to work on and help you gain a better understanding of the sport.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment and try out different techniques or movements. BJJ is all about trial and error, and the open mat session is an excellent opportunity to test out new moves and see what works best for you.

Remember, the more you practise and attend open mat sessions, the more comfortable you will become, and the better your BJJ skills will get. So, don’t hesitate to ask for help, observe, and experiment during your next open practice session.

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

When it comes to BJJ open mat sessions, you want to push yourself to become the best grappler you can be! But, don’t push so hard that you end up tapping out before you even get started.

It’s essential to challenge yourself by trying out new moves, rolling with higher-level partners, and testing your strength and stamina. However, you also need to be mindful of your limits, so you don’t get hurt or burned out.

Think of it as a BJJ dance party – you want to move your body, try out new steps, and impress your partners with your skills. But, you also want to make sure you don’t trip over your own feet or pull a muscle.

So, find the sweet spot between pushing yourself and taking care of your body. Listen to your body’s signals, take breaks when you need them, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance.

With the right attitude and approach, you’ll be the king or queen of the BJJ dance floor in no time!

Should White Belts Participate in Open Mat?

Are you a white belt eager to improve your BJJ skills but hesitant about attending open mat sessions? Fear not, my friend, for I have the answer to your question!

Open mat sessions are like a playground for BJJ enthusiasts, a place where you can practise what you’ve learned in class, test your skills, and have fun while doing it. And the best part? Everyone is welcome, regardless of their belt colour.

Yes, that’s right! Even white belts can join in on the fun and take part in open mat sessions. It’s a fantastic opportunity to roll with higher belts, learn from their expertise, and gain valuable experience in a safe and supportive environment.

Sure, it might be intimidating at first, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a shot. Remember, everyone was a white belt at some point, and they all know what it’s like to be in your shoes. So, step onto the mat with confidence, embrace the challenge, and unleash your inner BJJ beast!

Benefits of Open Mat Sessions 

Open mat sessions are like a treasure trove of benefits just waiting to be unlocked. Not only do they provide the perfect opportunity to practise your techniques and test your skills, but they also offer a whole host of other perks that will leave you feeling stronger, more confident, and ready to take on the world.

Open mat sessions are the perfect place to put your skills to the test. You can drill certain moves, engage in combat, and engage in companion rolls. Whether you want to work on guard passing, submission strikes, or positional escapes, open mat sessions offer endless opportunities to perfect your BJJ game.

Open mats are perfect for beginners to gain knowledge through practical application. You can gain experience by rolling with other practitioners, regardless of their skill level. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn from others and practise new tactics.

Open mats also provide a relaxed environment where you can invite anyone to roll with you. If you’re feeling fatigued, you can sit out and take a breather. And after a roll, you can exchange advice with your training partners and practise the tactics that were used.

Are you preparing for a BJJ match? Open mats are the ideal place to get ready because they mimic the competition environment. You can master new methods and play for extended lengths of time, which will prepare you for anything that may happen during a match.

Open mats also allow you to try out new moves and expand your game’s capabilities. You can even consult with your coach or teammates if you’re having trouble with a particular skill. They can explain how to perform the move, and you can practise it until you master it.

Finally, open mat sessions provide you with additional rolling time to refine your technique and apply the muscle memory developed through exercises. You’ll be able to focus on any techniques you need to improve and develop the skills necessary to become a BJJ master.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 

Are you tired of tripping over the same BJJ open mat mistakes time and time again? Fear not, my grappling guru! Stay ahead of the game with Spartacus MMA‘s tips on how to avoid them and roll like a pro.

  • Going too hard, too fast: This is a mistake that many beginners (and even some experienced practitioners) make. Trying to overpower your opponent can result in injury and can also hinder your progress in BJJ. Instead, focus on technique and pacing yourself.
  • Not tapping out when you should: This is a common mistake made by newbies who feel embarrassed or ashamed to tap out. However, failing to tap out can result in serious injury. Always prioritise your safety and tap out when necessary.
  • Using strength over technique: BJJ is all about technique, not strength. While strength can be an asset, it should never be relied on over proper technique. Make sure to focus on learning the correct technique and using it to your advantage.
  • Ignoring the basics: It’s easy to get caught up in the more advanced moves, but neglecting the basics can hurt your progress. Make sure to regularly practise and master the basics before moving on to more advanced techniques.
  • Not practising with a variety of partners: Rolling with the same partners can lead to stagnation in your progress. Make sure to practise with a variety of partners of different sizes and skill levels to challenge yourself and learn new techniques.

Spartacus MMA’s Fighter Training Insights

Open mat sessions play a crucial role in the overall performance of fighters in the Spartacus Fight Events. They provide a platform to experiment with new techniques, practise strategies, and learn from others.

We’ve compiled some tips and advice from Spartacus MMA’s fighters:

Plan Ahead

Before attending an open mat, always have a plan. Identify what techniques or positions you want to work on that day. Having a clear focus will help you make the most out of your time on the mat.

Quality Over Quantity

It’s not about how long you’re on the mat, but what you do with that time. Try to concentrate on executing techniques correctly rather than rushing through as many as possible.

Learn From Everyone

Spartacus is home to a diverse group of fighters, each with their own strengths and styles so the promotion’s take fighters every opportunity to roll with different people, learning from their unique approaches.

Embrace Mistakes

Open mat sessions are learning environments. Don’t be afraid to try new techniques or positions, even if you get tapped out. It’s all part of the learning process.

Take Breaks

Open mat sessions can be physically demanding. Make sure to listen to your body and take short breaks when needed to recover and avoid injury.

Reflect and Adjust 

After each session, spend some time reflecting on what worked well and what didn’t. This will help adjust your game plans for future sessions.


Open mat sessions are like the ultimate BJJ playground where you can unleash your skills, make new friends, and level up your game. It’s where drills meet combat, where camaraderie meets competition, and where laughter and sweat mix in perfect harmony.

So, grab your gi, tie that belt tight, and step onto the mat with confidence. Open mats offer a unique opportunity to roll with practitioners of all levels, try out new moves, and sharpen your technique. It’s a place where your potential knows no bounds, and where the journey to BJJ greatness truly begins.

Remember, open mats are not just about the physical aspects of training. They’re about building lasting friendships, gaining valuable experience, and enjoying every moment of this incredible martial art. So, roll with passion, learn with curiosity, and never forget to celebrate every submission, every sweep, and every triumph.


What is the BJJ open mat and who can participate?

The BJJ open mat is like the dojo’s secret playground, where the BJJ magic unfolds! It’s an informal session that lets you practise what you’ve learned in class. Anyone can join, regardless of belt colour, making it a treasure trove of learning and rolling opportunities.

What happens during an open mat session?

Imagine an hour of pure BJJ joy! Open mat sessions are generally split into rounds of about five minutes each. Warm-ups kick it off, then it’s all about free-rolling. You choose who to roll with, and it’s all pretty laid-back. You can even sit out a round if you’re tired.

How do you participate in a BJJ open mat session?

Stepping onto the mat is the first victory! You can focus on drilling specific moves, engage in sparring, or just roll with different partners. It’s a buffet of BJJ activities; pick what satisfies your martial appetite for the day.

What should I wear for a BJJ open mat session?

Functionality and comfort are your wardrobe keywords. Most people wear a BJJ gi, but a rash guard or fitted t-shirt and stretchy shorts work too. And hey, keep it clean—personal hygiene is a must.

What should I do if I’m confused during an open mat session?

Lost in the maze of moves? No worries! Ask your coach or training partners for guidance. You can also learn by watching others roll. Open mats are your lab; it’s the time to experiment and ask questions.

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

You’re the DJ at this BJJ dance party! Challenge yourself with new moves and partners but know your limits. Balance is key. Take breaks when needed and listen to your body.

Should white belts participate in open mat sessions?

Absolutely, yes! Open mats are like a crash course in BJJ awesomeness. It’s a non-intimidating way to roll with higher belts and soak up their wisdom. Step in, embrace the challenge, and unleash your inner BJJ beast!

What are the benefits of participating in open mat sessions?

Open mats are like a BJJ goldmine! They’re perfect for practising techniques, testing your skills, and even mimicking competition environments. Plus, they’re a social hub to discuss all things BJJ.

What are common mistakes to avoid during open mat sessions?

Don’t be that guy who goes full throttle and gasses out! Focus on technique over power, and don’t let your ego prevent you from tapping out. And mix it up—rolling with the same partner all the time won’t level up your game.

How do open mat sessions contribute to fighter training?

Open mats are the secret sauce in any fighter’s training regimen. They offer a sandbox to experiment with new techniques and strategies. Whether you’re prepping for a match or looking to diversify your skill set, open mats provide a practical, real-world training ground.

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