A Reader Question: Instructor seems out of touch. What should I do?

“When the gym first started there was energy. My instructor was giving 100% to the academy.
He’d teach class at lunch, and in the evenings. Now it seems he’s more interested in making music.
He stopped teaching kids class. (Has a blue belt running it instead).
He turned lunch classes into open mats since he’s up all night, and sleeps till 12.
He teaches for at least 1 hour and then leaves to go make music.
Several of our higher ranks have left to the gym across the street.
I’ve contemplated leaving, but the students that have stayed are like family. What should I do?”

Jiu-jitsu Times: When an academy begins to deteriorate, it is difficult to watch.
It sounds to me like the instructor has gotten mentally burned out running the academy and is looking to pursue other passions (and maybe income?).
For many gym owners, having to be at the gym all day ironically makes them not want to train anymore and bored of being at the academy.

Now this is not an excuse for the instructor failing to provide the students with instruction and keeping up the standards of the academy.
But it is an explanation of what is likely going on with your formerly great instructor.
Mental burnout leads to loss of passion.

I have 2 pieces of advice.

1) If you have open enough relationship with the head instructor, you could communicate to him (in a diplomatic fashion) that you notice that he seems to be burning out and ask if he needs any help.
It takes more than one man to run an academy and student contributions can go a long way to alleviating the pressures on the head instructor.
He may not notice that he is neglecting certain key areas and think that everyone is fine with the open mats.
No doubt that several senior students leaving caught his attention!
Mention that several of your training partners left because they were dissatisfied with some things.
Provide some specific suggestions that he can actually act on.

The instructor may or may not do anything about it.


2) You have to do what is the best thing for your own jiu-jitsu learning.
If that means moving to another academy (like several of the senior students have done) then so be it.
If you decide that you have to leave, give your instructor the required notice to terminate your membership.
Don’t just sneak off one day and bump into him on the street wearing the other teams tshirt.

Over the years of your jiu-jitsu training, you may have to move, have academies close, and lose training partners.
Don’t get overly discouraged.
Always remind yourself that “jiu-jitsu isn’t going anywhere” – that you will find a new academy and environment to continue to train with your friends.

If your current academy keeps heading in a downward direction due to neglect, then the other remaining students may soon move or see the academy close up altogether.

Academies open and close, instructors come and quit, but never stop your training.
You will always be able to find an academy to continue your learning on bjj.

read also: 3 Good Ideas For Jiu-Jitsu Instructors

Email us for questions at info@jiujitsutimes.com


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