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Should Professors Date Their Students In Jiu Jitsu?

Should Professors Date Their Students In Jiu Jitsu?


Is it worth it to date your professor or student?

Yes. I know. I am sure there are some epic romances because of Jiu Jitsu. They read like a Nicholas Sparks novel. The couple met on the mats. They shared a love for Jiu Jitsu. She taught him leg locks. He helped her with arm bars. They had a million kids. They loved each other. They took great vacations.  They died in each other arms in a loving embrace after an epic grappling match at the age of 125. Maybe you know someone like that. I would argue that is the exception to the rule. While it may be true love, there is a huge minefield of additional complications that need to be navigated. It can take on the complications similar to a college professor dating a student or a boss dating his secretary.

First, there is a struggle with authority. Just because you are the authority on Jiu Jitsu does not grant you the same authority in other parts of their life. Even if that fact is understood, the authority may inadvertently drift. For example, if a coach expects his student to be training a certain number of hours in preparation for a Jiu Jitsu competition. This authority in time may lead to undo control of other parts of the student's time.

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Another danger is it can lead to conflict of interests. One example of this is what is best for your career in either MMA or Jiu Jitsu may not be what is best for your relationship. If it becomes necessary to leave your gym that can be a tough decision. Do you want to compound that decision by possibly creating stress or even ending the relationship with your soon to be former coach? Another example of this is that with other students. It can put the teacher and students in a negative light over special attention, promotions and a variety of other things.

Some coaches take it a step further. They prey on people with a significant age gap. At times the age gap is inappropriate. Other times the age gap can be predatory.  The former should be scrutinized. The latter should be demonized.

Beyond that, it creates a barrier to Jiu Jitsu. Starting Jiu Jitsu is hard. Walking into a gym is tough. There are a million reasons to quit. Why make it more difficult by adding possible unwanted sexual advances?

Perhaps none of these things apply to you. You are only a weekend warrior. You don’t need to worry about maintaining an intensive fight schedule. There is no risk of conflict of interest. You both are mature adults where age is not an issue.  What if the relationship goes south? Do you want to have to sacrifice a gym and possibly even a sport that you love for the small chance that the relationship will work? Perhaps this view is too cynical. At the very least, instructors and students should be aware of the potential dangers of such a relations.

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