Basically, the Open Mat times at ZenQuest are intended to be for supplemental training in the art that preceded that time. In other words, Open Mat times which happen after Karate classes should be a time for Karate sparring or Kumite, Karate strength and condition exercises, Kata, Partner Drills, etc. Similarly, Open Mat times following Jiu-jitsu are for Jiu-jitsu sparring or rolling, Jiu-jitsu strength and condition exercises, Technical Drills, etc. And, Open Mat times after Muay Thai are for Thai sparring, strength and condition exercises, Technical Drills, Bag-work, etc. In addition to the Open Mat times listed in the schedule, we typically have “Team Sparring” sessions on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons where students can do almost any kind of sparring they wish. Many people use this time to practice a Mixed Martial Arts format (especially when we have fighters preparing for fights) which is amazing self-defense training! Even though this can be somewhat intense, any student can participate in this, and scale the intensity to a level appropriate for themselves. Even the most hardcore fighters will adjust there level to help newer people make that time useful.
Here is a quick list of what Open Mat time at ZenQuest is not:
¨ A time to teach, coach or mentor other students...especially if the “coach” is not a member or student. Students looking for this type of training should schedule private training with the head instructors.
¨ A time to practice material that is not consistent with the preceding class (IE. Jiu-jitsu after Karate, etc.) At times it is OK to do this with permission only.
¨ A time to get some training in after missing classes. Generally, Open Mat time is a continuation of the preceding class, not to be treated as a separate training time. People should not try to squeeze in drills in the Open Mat time if they have missed the mainstream classes. Again, if the student is having trouble making classes they should seek short term approval for this, or consider some private training time with the head instructors.
¨ A time for outsiders to practice other martial arts or their own team sparring. (Yeah, we’ve had inquiries for that, too.)
¨ A time when students throw caution to the wind and go extra hard on sparring. Even though Open Mat and Team sparring times can be used for competition training, students still need to walk the fine-line of making the training as intense as can be...without injuries! The risk of injuries naturally goes up during this type of training, but we always need to put safety first and keep them to the absolute minimum.
So, please respect the intent and purpose of the Open Mat and Team Sparring times at ZenQuest. If everyone does this, the collective level of play and knowledge continues to go up! Now, go train.