6 Types of Difficult Students

Running a bjj class can be challenging for an instructor with students who have so many different experience levels, personality types and talent.
Experienced instructors will recognize some of these student types that can be …errr…a challenge to manage in the class.

Students of jiu-jitsu will also likely recognize some class training partners who exhibit some of these behaviors (which can be funny at times).


1) the Cranker
This type is so competitive that they lunge for submissions in rolling and crank it on as hard and fast as possible to get the tap.
The tap is their only measure of how they should roll.
Their training partner yelps in pain as they had no time to tap to the sub and have a sprained elbow.
Add heel hooks in the mix and you have a potential disaster waiting to happen.
* This type also can refuse to tap and injure themselves!


2) the Uncoachable One
Some students simply don’t want input and want to keep doing the same things they have always done.
I recall one student (who had been training 4+ years) trying to choke an opponent from inside the opponent’s guard.
I called out for her to try the guard pass I had shown the previous class.
“I tired it and that doesn’t work!” she spat out and resumed her choking attempt. The bottom opponent promptly armlocked her and ended the roll.
Top athletes like George St. Pierre are praised by their coaches for being “coachable” even though they may already be world champions!


3) the Unfocused
The position in class today is side control, but you look over during the drilling portion of class and “the Unfocused” is talking about a spider guard sweep that he saw on Youtube that morning.
Often these types of students are “move collectors” they can “show” you 100 variations of that spider guard sweep, but can’t actually do any of them in live sparring.
Not only are they derailing their own progress, but they are distracting their training partner.
It is a sign of respect to the instructor to drill the position that is being taught in class that day.


4) the Stinky Guy
Gi that smells like nacho Cheese, unwashed armpits, rash guard that is a bacteria colony and talon like finger and toe nails.
Everyone is aware of their pungent aroma it seems except for “the Stinky Guy”.
It is indelicate to come right out and have to tell a student that their personal hygiene is lacking, but it has to be done for the good of the other students.


5) the Two Left Feet
Unfortunately, not all students come into jiu-jitsu with the same athletic ability and potential.
Some students are “physically dyslexic” and seem to mix up the moves in seemingly impossible ways.
The triangle is crossed the wrong side. They trap an arm and yet try to sweep to the incorrect side.
The student may very well be dedicated and earnest, but are just not naturals when it comes to coordination and movement.


6) the Who Tapped Who Guy
The club gossip is more interested in academy politics, “how long did it take for John to get his bluebelt?” and studiously records every tap in training.
“Who Tapped Who Guy” can be harmful in the gym by creating rivalries and slighting hard training individuals.
I have actually observed one student be expelled from a gym for his ceaseless and destructive bad talking (behind their backs of course) about other members!
It is considered bad etiquette in the academy to discuss who tapped who.
Remember,..it is JUST training!

read also: A Reader Question: Instructors Behaving Badly



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