Each academy has their way of starting and finishing each training session. Some depend on the type of class being taught or who’s instructing the class. Some line up by rank and others not at all.

At NG, we “circle up”, in no particular order, and share two symbolic bows as a team. One inward, and one outward.

Our first (inward) bow is towards the rest of the circle. We do this to:

-Show our level playing field of teaching and learning. Black belts learning from white belts as well as white belts learning from black belts, and all belts between.

-Remind ourselves of our shared goal of safety, and applies to all members of the circle up, regardless of rank.

-Acknowledge all others in the circle up. We show the tops of our heads and bare our necks as we bow to the entire team in a show of trust that our missions are the same, and we’re here to support each other.

Our second (outward) bow is as a team towards our masters that came before us. We do this to:

-Show trust in something bigger than ourselves. For some it’s the greater BJJ community or affiliation, the outside world in general, or to country or personal god. As each individual is part of a team, each team is part of something bigger to be grateful for. As each individual has a different view, we are united in the simultaneous acknowledgement of something bigger than us.

-Show commitment to applying the lessons learned on the mats to the world off the mats. What we learn within the confines of this class, and within this circle, must find it’s way outside the circle and the academy walls.

After class, we share a double bow once again in celebratory gratitude. We kept each other safe, we’re more fit than before, we battled and the battle is over. for today We share praise to all members of the circle up for sharing this session and keeping us safe. The tide in this room has risen because of all our efforts. Some of us had to nearly crawl to get to class today, literally or figuratively, but they made it here and made it through another class. Whether we were the hammer or the nail today we’re grateful for each roll and each teammate we had them with, as well as those around us that helped keep us safe while we rolled. We all mattered, and all contributed. Grateful for our own presence and our 1% improvement as individuals and as a team.