Been Thinking about Belts and What They Mean

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by Pretty In Pink, Apr 25, 2020.

  1. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I felt the same. I'm looking forward to the challenge of doing more. I think it was most evident when Simon taught a grappling class better than I could. That's all just teaching experience though.
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  2. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    It's a semi perishable skill too, I've covered a couple of classes since I've been back training, and it was really hard getting back into being clear and concise, making eye contact, and having an appropriate volume, it's a great life skill to have.
  3. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    You know your instructor is Rick Young right?
    There are very few people IN THE WORLD who at Rick's level!
    If you're waiting to be as good as him before feeling as though you're worthy you may be waiting pretty much forever?

    I was at an Iain Abernethy seminar a few weeks back and he got onto talking about Rick Young (can't remember why). He knew him through various events with the British combat association. Iain basicallly said..."Rick's good at trapping...oh and he's good at kicking...and punching...and sticks...and he's a bjj blackbelt and there anything this guy can't do?!"

    Essentially Rick's an instructor OTHER world reknowned instructors look up to! :)

    I'm not saying that's not a good role (roll?) model to aim for (he clearly is) but I wouldn't beat myself if I wasn't as good as him.
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  4. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    To be fair, the gi grips help loads when pulling off a suplex. I've not competed in Gi yet, was planning 3 comps this year. Otherwise, "yay Judo"! :p
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  5. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    This isn't about Rick Young personally, as I've never met him and I'm sure he's a world-class teacher, but as a general point ability will determine the technical ceiling that you can bring students up to, but that doesn't mean that the teacher with greater technical understanding will always communicate that better to all people.

    I've learnt more about teaching from students than instructors. Especially listening to how they communicate technical concepts themselves. Teaching isn't drilling something into someone, it is finding ways to communicate concepts so that they might bring that out of themselves. You are just a guide, helping people navigate a process that only they can travel. Of course, that isn't all verbal, and in martial arts the physical is the prime effective way of communicating, though in the beginning stages students often don't have the body awareness to take that in without verbal cues.
    Smitfire, Dead_pool and Dunc like this.
  6. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I feel that to be a good teacher you
    a) have to have a great technical understanding from day 1 to be credible
    b) continually deepening your knowledge otherwise your students will reach a point where they can't learn anything more from you
    c) communicate well in an entertaining way
    d) learn to balance teaching with stepping back so people can make their own discoveries (& probably this balance is different for individuals)
    e) create an environment where students feel that they are safe, enjoying themselves and flourishing

    Having a successful competition career really only plays a small part in that

    For example Roger is quite adamant that being a great black belt instructor has nothing to do with being a great competitor. They are two separate things
    Probably John Danaher is the best example of this

    Although it's worth noting that great competitors who have the wherewithal to become great teachers are really in the sweet spot

    The other point that's worth noting is that there is a big difference between creating an environment for successful competitors (say 10% of the BJJ community) and non-competitors (say 90% of the community)

    I think one of the mistakes I made when I first started teaching (not BJJ) was to focus too much on the more brutal kind of training. Now I consciously train very kindly with beginners or when I teach seminars and only ratchet up the pain/brutality when I know a student will benefit from it (which in some cases is never)
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  7. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    I'm glad it's not just me that says "judo or ippon" loudly when taking people down, or mat returning a turtle!
  8. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I would just add:
    a) while this is definitely desirable, as long as you are a step ahead of your students, they can still improve. That will be more of a shared technical journey.
    b) and always be open to learn from your students!
    c) this is generally true, but there are some dour, serious people who find this off-putting. In my experience, people are more open to learning with someone they click with, and that will trump technical knowledge (up to the technical ceiling of the instructor). One of the benefits of keeping classes very small is the opportunity to tailor communication style to the individual. Who you partner people up with for exercises comes into this as well - knowing what needs to be brought out of a person and which other student would best facilitate that.

    I think this is very common. I also wonder how much age has to do with it in general. Again, it is something best tailored to the individual, as much as possible.
  9. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    Can also relate to this.

    If you aint limpin you just gimpin. :D
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  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Oh absolutely.
    I was merely commenting that, in PIP's case at least, he does have quite the high bar to get over if he'll only feel "good enough" to teach if he's on the same level as his instructor. Not many people reach that level IMHO.
    I'm sure when Rick Young started teaching he had similar feelings with his relationship to Dan Inosanto? And yet he still decided to teach.
    I'm sure Dunc feels the same about Hatsumi or Nagato? Not at their level but still at a good enough to teach something useful.

    I think anyone considering teaching sneed to look at the wider picture of the art as a whole, realistically appraise yourself and your skills and really think about what you can offer as a teacher.

    Personally I think with PIP's rise up through the ranks, his competition career and battles with his own self doubt he has a tremendous amount to offer as a teacher.
  11. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Haha, yeah I know but I've never seen him struggle to execute a submission in demonstration. There are still a few techniques I cannot apply even against an unremitting opponent.
  12. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    That doesn't make you any less competent at teaching.

    Last time I saw you, when we both taught at the last MAP Meet, you taught a class that everyone enjoyed and everyone learned something new from, both newbies and experienced practitioners alike.

    Have confidence in yourself and your own ability. Worry less about the ability of others. If you always put yourself on a pedestal next to your instructor you will never look past what you are, who you are, and what you can eventually become.

    It's your journey, not Rick's. Own it, live it, enjoy it.
  13. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    At least you know what to work on!

    It's always good to have a few more advanced guys to assist you, and to shed techniques with so that you are crisp and on-point when it comes to do them in front of your class.

    (is "shedding" in the wider vernacular, or is that just a term us musicians use? You gotta shed it before you shred it - practice in your shed until you're good enough to go out and shred in front of other people)
    Woodshedding - Wikipedia
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  14. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Never heard it before, but I get what you mean. I'm really hoping that one day when I do open up my brother will come with me and help. Who knows though.
  15. hewho

    hewho Valued Member

    I've had a few different instructors over the years, and the ones I've learnt the most from aren't always the best competitors. My traditional jiu jitsu instructor would lose, say, a no gi match with the guy who used to teach at another club I've attended, but his understanding of HOW to teach has had a much bigger impact on me as a student. I'd love to end up teaching, and when I do I hope I'll be judged on my ability to improve others, as opposed to my (currently shocking) competition record.

    As far as your ability to teach goes, your session at the meet hit the spot, it was fun, you broke it down well, and everyone got something from it. Teaching/coaching is as much of a skill set in itself as a martial art, and just like a martial art the best way to improve is is to keep showing up, and seek feedback.

    Everyone will have days where they question their own ability to teach, or get asked a question they can't answer. The important thing is to be honest with people, tell them when you don't know something and then either find out, or tell them how they can find out. I've been doing personal training for 6 years, and I still sometimes get asked questions I can't answer straight away.

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