What Are The Benefits Of Teaching Jiu-Jitsu?

ONE Superstar Shinya Aoki teaches students how to maintain the mount position

As one of the advanced jiu-jitsu practitioners at the gym where I train, I have begun receiving opportunities to teach classes both at my gym and at affiliates, and I’ve found that teaching is a fantastic learning tool.  Very often, those of us who receive instruction but never deliver it don’t realize how valuable teaching can be to the teacher.  Here 5 ways that teaching jiu-jitsu helps the teacher learn.

  1. It provides clarity.  Very often when I execute techniques in training, I don’t think much about them.  I simply do what I do, and if it works great, if not I go back to the drawing board and try something else.  Teaching forces me to take the techniques that I am demonstrating and break them down into their components.  In doing this, I am forced to clearly see the technique in its entirety rather than relying upon already learned skills.
  2. It allows you to think about the techniques from a new/different perspective.  If I am focused entirely on technique execution, I may miss some of the key details necessary to make a technique work.  Even if I know those details in the back of my mind, being forced to be mindful and conscious of them is in and of itself beneficial.  Teaching provides me with a deeper and more active understanding of what makes a technique work.
  3. It allows you to see where techniques fail.  Watching less experienced practitioners try and fail to execute techniques allows me to see what an opponent may try to do to mess me up.
  4. It allows me to start building training partners.  This is a purely selfish exercise that is part of the teaching experience, as I improve I find that people are less able to shut down my game.  When I teach, I am teaching the people in the room how to do techniques that I personally favor, and in that process I am showing them how to defeat those techniques.  This translates to more challenging and rewarding rolls with the more advanced students in the class: they now know the inner workings of my techniques, and are able to develop strategies to address my techniques.
  5. It allows me to gain a different kind of positive feeling from jiu-jitsu.  Jiu-jitsu is tough, even as you become more advanced and are able to enjoy success on the mat some days can be frustrating.  When I see a student hit a move I taught them in rolling or better yet in competition, it makes a lot of the frustration worth-it.  I watched one of my students, an amateur MMA fighter, hit a technique I showed during a fight.  It was one of the proudest moments I’ve had, as good or better than winning a tournament or match myself.

Teaching is extremely valuable, but if you’re going to teach make sure you focus only on techniques you feel confident in.  It’s important to not create bad habits in those you are trying to help.

For the instructors out there, what are some of the benefits of teaching?  How has teaching improved your game and your jiu-jitsu experience as a whole?


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