The Role of the Instructor in Shaping Your Jiu-jitsu

Some of the best conversations about jiu-jitsu happen on the mats when you are sitting on the mats trying to catch your breath after rolling.

Watching the other pairs rolling we laugh and exchange ideas about jiu-jitsu techniques and philosophy.
One of the new students was marvelling at the sheer number of different techniques that there are in bjj.

I offered my view that the instructor is responsible to teach the techniques, but the student has their own responsibility to put together their own game.

The role of the instructor is to:
1) Keep a positive environment in the academy by being a leader
2) Ensure the safety for all of the students
3) Teach the fundamentals (base posture, grips, movements,..etc) to the students
4) Instruct in the proper mechanics and details of the positions. To demonstrate the possibilities of a position to a student and allow the student to experiment.

For example: There might be 15 different submissions from side control.
The instructor must expose the students to ALL of the possibilities from the side control (obviously beginners are not ready for a rolling Ninja choke).
The instructor must provide the information and then step back and allow the students to try the techniques out.

Out of those 15 techniques they may pick 5-6 that suit their game and discard the ones that do not feel like they fit the students attributes, style and game.
Only the student themselves can select and decide which techniques that they will make part of their game.

As one of the students described it “The instructor teaches you the alphabet, but the student has to create their own words and sentences.”

Check out this EXCELLENT talk by Shawn Willams where he talks about the students own role in learning jiu-jitsu.
On Jiu-jitsu Times : Bjj training advice from BB Shawn Williams

“I got a sumi gaeshi from Butterfly guard to work today. Feedback! Oh wow, I’m doing things right!

“I’m doing things right on the white belts, I’m doing things right on the blue belts but the purple belt level I have a hard time.
Why do I have a hard time? Maybe I am not flexing my foot up and pointing it to the corner of the room on my sumi gaeshi sweep.

Something like this. Something little but you get feedback every single day that you train and it is up to you to take the responsibility to use it and make yourself better.”
Shawn Williams


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