WHAT DO YOU CALL A JIU JITSU TEACHER?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become an increasingly popular form of Martial Arts around the globe. The ground fighting combat started off as a self defense system, designed to help smaller and weaker people defend themselves against bigger and stronger opponents. Throughout the evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the art has developed significant innovations from many different high calibre, and talented practitioners. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of those Martial Arts that incorporates a series of dynamic, and systematic movements, designed to neutralise and submit an opponent. The movements in Jiu Jitsu involve takedown techniques, transitional elements like guard passing, sweeping, positional control, positional escapes, and submissions maneuvers.
What This Article Covers:
- Showing Respect
- The Mestre
- The Sensei
- The Professor
- The Coach or Instructor
- The Master
- The Role of a Teacher
- How to Integrate Into a BJJ Academy
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu derived from the ancient form of Japanese Jujitsu used by the Samurai in feudal Japan. Over the last few centuries the proven benefits of jiu Jitsu have become astronomical, as the formidable grappling art has grown exponentially. During the evolution of the art, including the rise of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, teachers have been called many different things like instructor, sensei, professor, coach, master, teacher or mestre. The difference in the names of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructors, has depended on the origin from which they are from. No matter what an instructor of BJJ is called, they all represent the same thing: hard work, dedication, efficiency, humility, integrity, and respect.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all about respect, as students of the art will soon learn how they will adhere to the unspoken rules of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. BJJ is a traditional Martial Art that involves students bowing to their instructors, at their opponents, and at the referees during competition matches. Students have also been known to bow to the mat before stepping on and off, and although this is not compulsory in all BJJ academies, many of these athletes love to abide by this old tradition. Showing respect to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor, or any other member of an academy is compulsory, and is expected of all students in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school. Some BJJ academies will have other expectations, like the lower ranked belts are not permitted to ask black belts for a roll, and even though this might seem absurd to some, it can be heavily enforced at some traditional Jiu Jitsu schools. Learning a traditional Martial Art like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be an extremely daunting prospect, but once the student has become accustomed to all of the traditional components involved, they will enjoy the atmosphere, and the journey of learning this extremely comprehensive, and technical ground fighting combat.
The term mestre is a Brazilian word which translates to teacher, and this terminology is commonly used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools throughout Brazil. In South American countries the term professor is not always the first choice for an experienced instructor, as they are often referred to as a teacher. To become a teacher in the art of BJJ it takes practitioners a large capacity of hard work, perseverance and dedication. Learning many of the intricate movements involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is only one half of the concept, as the more important aspect is for a teacher to identify how to teach, and develop students to become exemplary in the Brazilian art.
The term sensei comes from Japanese culture, as the meaning is broken down into two parts, sen and sei. The term sen translates into a person born before, which can be known as an endearing term of respect for someone who is higher ranked. The term sei translates into life, and when the two are combined, sensei translates into teacher, or someone who has attained a certain level skill or mastery in the arts. Many students from Japanese, and East Asian cultures call their Martial Arts teachers sensei, as this term is a form of respect that holds a special place in the world of Martial Arts. Some students will call their BJJ teachers sensei, and even though Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not Japanese, it did derive from the early form of Japanese Jiu Jitsu. The term sensei in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu may not be the most common name for an instructor, but in some cases it is a sign of respect, as it pays homage to the formidable Japanese culture that inspired The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Many practitioners these days refer to their black belt teachers as professors, but there is a misconception that all black belts are professors. Technically a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does not become a professor until they are a third degree, which is achieved after nine years as a black belt. In some BJJ schools this is highly traditional, but for the majority of the BJJ community the term of professor is often given to any student that achieves the level of black belt. Quite often when a student becomes a black belt they are still on the path of learning the art of teaching, which leaves them a large portion for improvement. This is why the term professor is commonly given to an experienced black belt who is a higher level then the newly appointed black belt practitioner.
THE COACH OR INSTRUCTOR
In BJJ the term coach or instructor can be given to any student that is teaching classes in a BJJ Academy. To become a coach of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school, a student does not need to be a black belt, rather they just have to be certified by another black belt practitioner. Quite often black belt professors will accept the help of many of their higher ranked students, as this can be anywhere from the purple belt level to the black belt level. The term coach or instructor, means to be able to demonstrate a series of different techniques, and help develop students to become more effective at applying these techniques. Even though coaches may not be at the black belt level, they still do need to have an extremely good fountain of knowledge, as well as being able to efficiently apply all of the techniques that they will teach. Nowadays in the modern era of grappling, many coaches are at lower levels of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as this is mainly due to other combat sports like Mixed Martial Arts and wrestling that have somewhat amalgamated into the art of BJJ. Students now have an excellent array of knowledge at their fingertips due to some of the best bjj instructionals, as the coach or instructor plays a vital role in the development of many jiu jitsu beginners starting out in the art.
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the term master is reserved for a BJJ practitioner that has achieved an extremely high level of grappling. Becoming a black belt is a massive honour which can take most people anywhere from ten to twenty years to achieve. Once a practitioner has become a black belt this is basically where the journey begins, as they will spend decades trying to reach the pinnacle level of master in the art. To become a master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a practitioner needs to earn their red and black coral belt, which is a seventh degree black belt. Many fans of the art may wonder how long does it take to master jiu jitsu, and even though a student can reach a black belt in less than ten years, it will still take a considerable amount of time to master. It takes practitioners thirty one years as an active black belt to reach the coral belt level, and in most cases the practitioner also has to add some type of innovation to the sport. Becoming a master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely rare achievement, as most practitioners will be well into their fifties or sixties before they will achieve this extremely rare and honourable title.
THE ROLE OF A TEACHER
In the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, students will come from all over the world to learn this intricate style of ground fighting. As a student embarks on a journey into BJJ, they will be constantly seeking guidance, and asking questions like is brazilian jiu jitsu hard to learn. This is where a teacher comes into play, as many different instructors have their own way of developing students in the art. The role of a teacher in BJJ is extremely crucial, as they are the main source of wisdom to help guide a student towards progression. Teachers of the art must develop a series of extraordinary skills in identifying how each individual learns, because most students will learn differently. Some students will need visual demonstrations to help them connect the dots, while others will rely on understanding concepts of different positions. A teacher of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu needs to be precise, and masterful in how they orchestrate their technical advice.
Among many of the technical aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a teacher must also have understanding and patience. Many students of the art will learn at different paces, as some of them will struggle with even the basic concepts of BJJ at first. A teacher of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu must be able to help students of all different cultures, and levels of their ability to learn. Becoming a high level teacher in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, also involves teaching kids as young as five, many of the concepts and techniques involved in the art. Teaching BJJ is an art form that is quite different to being a great practitioner of Jiu Jitsu. Even though some athletes are exceptional at grappling, this does not mean they are good at teaching. To be a great teacher of BJJ, an instructor needs to develop different game plans in order to help their students navigate through many of the difficulties that they will face while learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
HOW TO INTEGRATE INTO A BJJ ACADEMY
A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy can be extremely daunting for many students, as they first step in the door. There is no real trick to integrating into the atmosphere of a BJJ school, as all a new student has to do is take a leap of faith and try out. The most important aspect for a student to remember, is to show respect. Being respectful in a BJJ academy is a part of the non negotiables, and will help a new student become part of the team. Some good bjj tips that will help to validate a student's worth inside a BJJ school, is to ask plenty of questions, as this will change the dynamic of their learning, and put them in the sight line of their instructors. Students should be humble, as there is no place for egotistical people in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This means that students should not be stubborn, and should make sure they tap out, so they don't get injured. The same goes when they are the ones submitting their training partners, as a student needs to show respect, and humility in these moments.
Once a student can apply these principles to their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu experience, they will be able to adjust into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lifestyle. Training in BJJ can be an intense form of Martial Arts, as students will need to come to class with the right attitude. Students should also help themselves by staying away from many of the bad temptations in life. This includes bad foods, toxins to the body like drugs, or alcohol, and they should include various cardio based, and strength and conditioning workouts. Applying these principles will help students have the best chance possible to succeed in the art. To be successful as a beginner in the sport of BJJ, students will need to embody hard work, perseverance, consistency, and dedication, to all of the training regimes involved. With the right attitude, then a student will easily fit into a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy, and begin to forge a pathway towards successfully learning the art of Jiu Jitsu.
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