Cross training is good!
I encourage everyone to visit other gyms. We all benefit from the sharing of information, and grow a sense of community. When we do this, a few things are important to keep in mind.
Call or message before your first visit, and be clean.
Most places are cool, some are not. A quick heads up goes a long way, and offers the owner a chance to politely notify you of drop in fees. Ask if you have to wear a white gi. And just like at home, don’t be a pig.
Pay attention to their customs.
I like keeping things fairly informal at my place, but some people enjoy a lot of formality. Introducing yourself to the instructor is usually a good idea. Either they or an upper belt will give you a quick rundown. Watch to see if people turn around to tie belts, stand during the lesson, ask to use the restroom, etc. Also, pay attention to how hard they roll. Some places like going really hard, others will be offended if you go hulk on them.
Have a home gym.
I have actually met people who float between gyms with the bright idea that nobody has enough time to learn their game. Needless to say, these guys didn’t stand the test of time. Instead, have a consistent presence at your home gym first. Your coaches and friends will do the most to help you get better. From here, you can go once a week or once a month to a friend’s place and get a fresh outlook.
Try affiliate gyms first, then others.
A gym in the same association is likely to have similar customs, and you can focus mostly on Jiu Jitsu. The coaches likely talk, and will share an interest in making you better. Visiting other associations is good too. You will need to be mentally prepared for a more dramatically different approach, but it should be fun.
Always train on the road if you can.
If you’re traveling for business or on vacation, visiting a gym is good for your Jiu Jitsu. You are also guaranteed to make some interesting friends. Don’t be shy, it’s well worth it!
Be there to learn.
The bottom line is that our mission is exactly the same as at home. We can share information freely, but only teach a seminar if asked to do so. You can and should be both friendly and competitive, but save tournament mode for tournaments.