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Expanding your Role at the Academy

Expanding your Role at the Academy


What are you giving back to BJJ and Your Instructor

If you happen to frequent a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy with numerous higher ranked students, you will begin to quickly notice a supportive hierarchy of people who are not only students, but teach classes, aid new beginners, support head instructors in other classes, and so forth. An academy with such a structure has an increased potential for success and expansion when compared to gyms in which there are few instructors and limited opportunity for upper belts to carry responsibility. The objective of this article is to describe the benefits for both the academy owners and students for delegating responsibilities outside of the head instructor.

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By examining political and corporate structures, one will quickly deduce that the best leaders of these entities all share a few common characteristics, one of them being the ability to effectively delegate tasks to competent people. Leaders who are insufficiently capable at delegation have an increased risk of failure due to mistrust, increased work load, and poor work environments. The benefits for a head instructor to delegate tasks to those deemed appropriate are numerous. They include the ability increase the number of scheduled classes per week, having suitable help in children’s classes or classes with large groups of students, more time to work on the curriculum, reduced stress, and even more time to spend training rather than instructing. All these benefits ultimately promote a better gym environment and a greater chance of long-term success.


The benefits of entrusting students with responsibilities are not attained exclusively by the head instructor. Instructing, for example, is an excellent tool for a student to objectively examine the nature of various techniques and how to alter them based on unique circumstances. In certain scenarios, the head instructor may reduce or eliminate the tuition of a student who displays sufficient ability to benefit the academy in different ways. After gaining experience, your head instructor may ultimately begin to award you financially for the hard work you put in outside of your own training.

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In conclusion, I advise all experienced students interested in supporting their academy to attempt to expand their role. It may begin by helping with some classes, showing beginners techniques before or after class, etc. I also advise head instructors to trust their ranked students to expand their responsibilities if they so desire it and it is deemed appropriate. I am fortunate to train at an academy where the head instructor looks forward to delegate tasks to others, resulting in the blossoming of a successful academy with even greater potential for growth.

As you look to expand your role with the academy, it's important to make sure you have a good, strong foundation of BJJ knowledge to share.  One of the best ways to achieve that level of knowledge is to look to resources like Bernardo Faria's amazing Foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu DVD and Digital instructional from BJJ Fanatics!  You can get it here!





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