A Reader Question: “Subject: Looking out for my own progress.”

Photo by: Stewart Uy | Instagram @stewartuy

“My instructor last year decided one day (overnight) to pick up and close the school due to him not agreeing with how things were run with the owner of the gym(shared space).
We were left without a gym and had to travel to sister schools which made our commute from 5 minutes to an hour(one way).
Our head instructor never returns our texts and had not kept us updated on how the progress was going on opening a new school in a new space.
In doing so we lost most of our students to other gyms in the area (lower quality bjj).
4 months had passed before he opened a space in his home town 45 minutes away from us.
Only a handful of the original students remained. Low and behold though this new space is about the size of a large hallway.
Barely enough to fit two rolling groups at once(4ppl).
Often alot of us are sitting on the sidelines waiting to practice moves and if we go last we might get two reps in before he moves to the next technique.
He shortened the rolling times to 3 minute rounds and im lucky if I get to roll twice with how many students we have now after a year of being open.
Lately because he’s preparing for a tournament he’ll take up half of the matspace and do the gauntlet with some of the students.

Mind you he trains on the off time with much higher level practitioners.
Daily example- he did a 2 hour class of just rolling, I was lucky enough to to roll for 3 5 minute rounds.
I find myself lately driving 45min 5 days a week to just sit around watching other lower belts practice moves and its so frustrating!!!
The sucky part is he’s become a friend over the years and it would be very emotional and hard to leave in search of a different gym.
Any advice how to cut the cord or handle the situation?”

Jiu-jitsu Times: As the Simpson’s Ned Flanders would summarize: “That’s a dilly of a pickle!”

It sounds like you have a dilemma between:
A) Remaining loyal to a friend and instructor (who is the highest quality bjj instruction)
B) The deteriorating quality of the school and the practical difficulty of getting to training regularly.

I have two thoughts on this.

1) The current difficulties “might” be temporary.
The small training facility and farther location might be a “stop gap” measure until he can find a better training facility.
It isn’t easy to find an affordable space to run a bjj gym in a good location
You describe the instructor as having the highest level of jiu-jitsu around your area and that is important.

I have always tried to seek out the highest level of instruction available in my geographic area.
The current situation is unlikely his ideal setup and he is likely looking for an opportunity to improve it.

You may just have to be patient and deal with the increased inconvenience IF…
and this is a BIG “IF”…
you feel that your relationship with your instructor is that important to bear with the less than ideal training situation.

2) “The imperfect plan that you will follow is better than the perfect plan that you can not sustain”
The MOST IMPORTANT thing is that you continue to train bjj and not quit.

If 45 minute commutes to unsatisfying training sessions continue, there is a high chance that you will begin to skip training sessions and then stop training altogether.
To my thinking, it is better to train regularly at the 2nd best academy than to hate training and quit at the best academy.

Do you see my logic?

Better rolling times and partners and more convenient class location might be the difference between you continuing to train (and improve)and quitting.

Given the facts as you have described my advice is:
1) Talk to your instructor about your concersn and see if there is any solution on the horizon
2) If not, then train at the closer location which is best for your jiu-jitsu development and more enjoyable.

Hope this helps!

read also: On Jiu-jitsu Times A Reader Question: Instructors Behaving Badly


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