3 Good Ideas For Jiu-Jitsu Instructors

A Jiu-jitsu Times reader messaged me and asked about writing an article for instructors.
They said that all of the articles have been directed towards students and wanted to read something geared for those who teach classes at their academy.

read also: A Reader Question: Instructors Behaving Badly

This advice can be especially helpful for those students of bjj who are assisting to teach beginners classes or feel that they enjoy teaching and want to improve their teaching skills.

Here Are 3 Good Ideas for Instructors

1) The 1st priority is helping the students
One of the compromises that a bjj lover must make when they teach classes is that their own training must take 2nd priority to the needs of the student.
The instructor may want to work on their advanced De la Riva game for an upcoming competition, but if the best thing for the students level would be a class on escaping side control and guard replacement, the instructor must sacrifice their own training for what is best for the class.

There is a tradeoff in being an instructor where your own training often has to take a “backseat” to the needs of the students.
The payoff is the satisfaction of knowing that you helped a student improve.
The look on the students face when they pulled off a move that you showed them and they look over at you with a huge smile on their face.

“They don’t care how much you know, until they know that you care.”


2) Teaching too much
I firmly believe in the saying “The best way to teach someone NOTHING is to try to teach them EVERYTHING!”
Beginners especially can be quickly overwhelmed by the details and steps of a complicated technique.
Now if you add all of the variations of the technique “You can also use this grip, or do this…also try this…” the student quickly becomes confused.
It is like trying to drink from a fire hose!

The instructor is likely so enthusiastic that they want to share all of their knowledge, which is commendable.
But put yourself in the place of the new student is struggling with “My right hand grabs where?” and we can see that less is better in these situations.
Stop showing new techniques and variations when you observe signs that their “brains are full”.
That is enough for today.


3) Don’t play favorites
This is a tricky one for instructors.
There are certain students in the class who are more outgoing, have a higher belt rank and might even be a personal friend of the instructor.
It is easy to spend a majority of the class time interacting with those students.

But the quiet new white belt in the corner who doesn’t say much is also deserving of your time to help them understand a technique.
One of the main reasons why new students quit is that they feel that they were not progressing and the instructor was not paying attention to them.

From Gracie Barra ICP course:
“Remind yourself of this every day before greeting your beginner class: There might be one student on the fringe – struggling with the class, struggling in life.
What can I do today to make him feel welcome and show him that he is a part of the GB team?”

One of the things I noticed about some of the world class instructors I have had the privilege to train under is that they treated the uncoordinated white belt with their ill fitting kimono with the same respect and attentiveness as the higher belts.
The student might be a “noob” white belt beginner, but might be highly accomplished in another area of life and deserving of your attention and time.
They are there to learn jiu-jitsu and deserve your best as an instructor.

What do you think is a great thing for an instructor to do?



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