Everyone Can Teach You Something in Jiu Jitsu
There are so many sources of great information on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu out there today and they continue to grow and expand every day. Let's look at some of the most common sources of information and one that perhaps is not commonly thought of but is no less important and should not be overlooked.
Your direct instructor
Your direct instructor is the person who teaches the majority of the classes you attend. They may also be the owner/operator of the academy you attend. Your direct instructor should be your primary resource for questions about techniques and your own development. Your direct instructor will most likely be a higher belt with much more mat time than you. They will have experienced many of the feelings, thoughts or doubts that you find yourself having and can help share their own experiences and give you advice. The lessons you can learn from your director instructor are not limited to only BJJ techniques. Your instructor can serve as a role model from a business and customer service perspective as well.
Your affiliate leader
Depending on your academy and direct instructor, you may also have an affiliate head who is typically a black belt who has an established academy of their own. This person serves the role of your direct instructor's instructor and helps guide not only their BJJ development, but also the business side of having an academy and effectively working with the public. This person can also yield great insight to you as a student through seminars, visits to the main academy to train, and through social media.
As jiu jitsu schools develop and begin to build the number of higher ranked students, some of these students become coaches themselves. This is one of the most valuable roles one can take in their own personal development, because it show commitment to giving back to the school through mentoring their fellow teammates and even teaching classes. Your coaches are unique learning resources because they are typically well respected by the instructor and can help guide you, but are also usually closer in rank to you than your instructor may be, therefore, the challenges and experiences they've faced are still fresh in their minds and they may also have sought advice from the instructor, so the information gets disseminated through both sources, strengthening it in your mind.
One of the most important sources of information and learning in BJJ, but one that may be overlooked is our fellow student. Whether it's that white belt, nervously taking their first class, or that middle-aged brown belt with the unstoppable americana that they seem to catch you with every time.
Your teammates can be some of your best teachers and should not be taken for granted. No matter what their level may be, there could be something that they show or reveal to you that can impact your BJJ in a positive way. Even if they show you a reaction that was totally incorrect, it could be something that you've never seen before and can better prepare you should you see that reaction again.
In the video below, world champion Bernardo Faria shares his philosophy on learning from everyone.
Another way to improve your jiu jitsu is to invest in yourself and your own gas tank. To learn more, check out this article from BJJ Fanatics with ways to up your conditioning.
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