Reader Question: Hi Jiu Jitsu Times. I’ve been training bjj at an academy that has multiple locations. Mine is the 2nd school the instructor (3rd degree black belt) opened and as a result it’s not the main academy he teaches at. I have access to his training only once a week, if he can make it to the 2nd academy, which sometimes he can’t.
As a result, there is a different instructor nearly every day of the week, with only one of them being a black belt who teaches twice a week. I’ve counted 7 different instructors on a regular basis and with that information I would love to see a discussion on the topic of the benefits of having one main instructor throughout the bjj journey.
I can’t help but feel like after 5 months of training that this structure is holding my progress back despite training at least 5 times a week, because I don’t have the one instructor who’s really in touch with my progress or who really knows my strengths and weaknesses enough to help me develop my style.
Maybe its white belt blues? Or is there really something I’m missing out on?
Jiu-Jitsu Times: This is an interesting question (we love reader questions at the Jiu-Jitsu Times!).
Allow me to paraphrase your question: “Is training with multiple instructors holding back my progress?”
I want to share a few thoughts with you.
1) I think that you are exchanging consistency of the main instructor every day with exposure to different instructors and their different styles and games.
It is quite natural that you might prefer the teaching style or game of one instructor over another. Whether it is due to personality, your learning style, or body type differences, some instructors will more profoundly influence your game than others.
While seven instructors sounds like it is a bit disorganized, I like the idea of being exposed to different teachers and their variations. One guy can explain that same technique in a slightly different way and cause a click in your mind that helps you to grasp it in a way that you were unable to previously.
2) You really don’t need to see new techniques every class to get better. If you are getting a solid technique once per week from the main instructor or your personal favorite of the other instructors, then that will provide you with something for you to drill.
To really learn and internalize a technique, seeing it in only one class is not sufficient. You need to bust out some reps that week with your training partners and start to ingrain some muscle memory. You will try it in rolling and get some feedback on how it is working or where it breaks down. Then you will go back to drilling and refining the details.
Take the best technique that you saw that week and really drill it inside and out to keep the technique. Brick by brick you build your jiu-jitsu.
3) You said “really in touch with my progress or who really knows my strengths and weaknesses enough to help me develop my style.” Truth is that in the first year of your training, you will be best served by learning the so-called “basic” techniques that work for everybody. This is building your foundation and preparing you for your future progress. It is a bit early to be overly concerned with building your “A Game.”
While we are on the topic of developing your personal style, I think your game will reveal itself to you organically. That is to say that you don’t need to analyze your game too much, as some positions will come naturally in rolling. Those early successes will provide a starting point for which direction you will start to move.
From the way your message is written, it is clear that you have a critical and analytical mind (me too!) and look for the most efficient way to learn. My best advice is to learn the hell out of those basics and don’t fret too much about the multiple instructors.
When you click with one of the instructors, ask questions about your personal game and allow your game to be shaped most by them.
Good training to you!
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