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BJJGround Forum >> Who trains without a blackbelt on the mat everyday


10/22/13 9:37 AM
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Open Mat Radio
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With OpenMatRadio I get a lot of requests to have "regular joe/jane" people on and not just people on the professional level competition circuit. On this week's show I had my best friend and longest training partner Matt Godden on.

We talk a lot about his training over the years, and how it's been a struggle as he never had a blackbelt coach on the mat with him everyday. We discuss how he has dealt with progressing through the belts, dealing with affiliations, "creonte" vs loyalty and more.

I'm wondering how many other people are in this situation and what your approach to it is.

Not trying to turn this into an ad for the show, I'm really interested in what everyone's training situations are like. You don't need to listen to the interview but if you'd like to check it out here is the link http://www.openmatradio.com/2013/10/...8-matt-godden/

10/22/13 9:56 AM
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UGCTT_Fillthy
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I'm part of a 'boot-strapped' program, where we follow the Gracie Academy's online curriculum.  Currently, we have ~ 8 no-sripe blues that work out together in the company gym.  I'm 'On The Mat' an average of 5 days a week.  We started out as a guy with a blue belt who wanted training partners.  We're mostly mid-late 30s, with some wrestling or other TMA background...what else would you like to know?

10/22/13 9:58 AM
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BillyShalimar
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I’m in the same situation as your friend Matt, minus being a full time instructor. I’ve been training for four years and for the first two years I thought it was the “norm” to have a colored belt other than black as an instructor. My first instructor was a brown belt and my current instructor is a purple. I live in a small city, but we have a few BJJ academies and none of them have a full time black belt instructor.
10/22/13 12:04 PM
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aarick161
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I'm in a similar situation. Been training 7 years, the last five under a brown belt (yes he's been a brown belt for 5 years). He definitely has no shortage of BJJ knowledge, so my growth as a BJJ practitioner hasn't been stunted in any way. The only downside, if you care about this kind of thing, is belting is very difficult since he can't really promote past blue. I used to care, but I got over it a long long time ago. Phone Post 3.0
10/22/13 12:22 PM
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SC MMA MD
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I train under a brown belt, with the corral belt association head coming 3-4 times a year. I am just a blue, and feel like this arrangement works fine for me. I get lots of attention from my direct instructor and don't feel like the arrangement has hindered my development. This is the only setting I have trained in, however Phone Post 3.0
10/22/13 12:25 PM
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A_Butler
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Haven't ever had a black belt instructor. Been training almost strictly in the gi for just over 5 years and I got my purple belt 2 weeks ago. However, all of the coaches I've had have been extremely good grapplers. One was a Rickson brown belt for WAAAAYYYY too long, and the other is very accomplished pro mma fighter that wrestled from 5 years old and has been grappling since who knows when and he's a brown belt now. Phone Post 3.0
10/22/13 12:30 PM
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A_Butler
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I think bjj all about getting out what you put in. We traveled a lot when we started training in the gi. Up to 2 hours to train at various gyms in he Atlanta area. I learned a ton from everyone I've ever trained with. From black to brown and purple and even blue. Keep an open mind and accept knowledge and tips and techniques from others. Work hard, drill, put the time in on the mat, and work on your weaknesses.

It's awesome having a black belt all the time. But how much individual time do you get with them? They often have lower belts teach beginners for them. And when they teach, they're not strictly teaching you, there's a whole class they have to attend to. So you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. In the end it's up to you to put in the work. Regardless of what you're being told you should be doing. Phone Post 3.0
10/22/13 1:02 PM
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TBoy2
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I've been training for 17 years w/o regular black belt instructor. Just got my brown this year and I guess you could call me a hobbyist, at least compared to other BJJ people. I train on average twice a week. Some years I was down to 1 day a week and others 3-4 days a week.

Started in 1995 under a Rickson blue belt when I was still competing in Judo. My first instructor in addition to being a blue under Rickson, was a Judo NeWaza specialist, and trained every year with Erik Paulson. Learned a ton the first few years. I eventually changed gyms because I was not learning anymore or getting better. Should have left a couple years earlier but stayed out of loyalty.

The new gym was taught by a very good purple college student, Rylan Lizares. He got his brown, finished school and moved back to Hawaii. He later got his black and is one of the top instructors in Hawaii. Then Jeff Rockwell took over after Rylan left who was a purple at the time. He left a year or so later and is also now a black belt. After Rylan left we have had other purple and brown belt instructors. A couple of these instructors moved away and started their own schools. Now I am one of 4 brown belt instructors at the school. The head instructor is very close now to his black belt.

It has been a long journey for me. I commonly ask myself "Who the heck trains a martial art for 17 years and is not a black belt?" Crazy, huh
10/22/13 1:04 PM
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TBoy2
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Just wanted to add we only recently got 2 black belts in the city I live in. James Puopolo and Ben Baxter.
10/22/13 1:41 PM
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Easters
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I have a brown belt instructor who is amazing. Even though he's only a brown belt in BJJ he has loads of wrestling experience. If there was a "grappling" black belt he would have one.

Amazing coach. He rolls with his students every day, gives an insane amount of personal attention to all of us, and genuinely cares about everyone on and off the mats. There are at least two black belts in the area and we get a good number of their former students because they are unhappy with their instruction, the politics, the insane prices, or a combination of all.
10/22/13 9:01 PM
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gtownhoya
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I take private lessons with a BJJ blackbelt 4 days/week, and have for about 7 months. A bit pricey, but it fits my schedule and it kicks my ass. Phone Post 3.0
10/22/13 9:19 PM
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Magic Mago
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I've trained under a brown belt, no complaints, he was a great coach very active competitor and he trained with his black belt coach almost daily at another location. Phone Post
10/22/13 10:02 PM
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ozjiujitsu
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Started as a white belt training under a purple belt. He recently got his brown belt. To be honest I did struggle for the first couple of years. I actually struggled till I came to terms with that fact I needed to stop blaming anyone else for my lack of improvement. I became pretty single minded about improving. Not only did I watch instructionals and train harder but I also traveled with the sole purpose of training. My training consists of traveling 3 times a year for week/two week blocks and training 3 times a day. Most times
Traveling between 2 or 3 academies.

I also have a zero ego policy when it comes to training. I let everyone take my back, I let everyone pass my guard, I stick my neck out and I always am trying new things. The classes i attend now are split pretty evenly between a blue belt and a purple belt, with a brown taking some classes.

I believe even without black belt instructors you can still reach a relatively good level of Bjj. Deep down I hope that I can reach a high level doing what I do now.

I recently came second in the blue belt division at the Australian champs for Bjj. I tapped everyone before the final. I realise this is only blue belt and I have a long way to go. But I'm still training hard. Phone Post 3.0
10/22/13 10:47 PM
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LEMon
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^^ great post.

I've learnt a lot from a lot of different people. From blue to blackbelt. When i started sydney only had blues and they were all awesome ( De Weaver, Lange, etc)

I think to some degree it was an advantage as they had limited moves but explored and developed the method of coaching to a great depth and there was a certain excitement around the problem solving element at the time.

Some of the best coaches I have met have the same things in common and it has little to do with their belt...

1. They remember what it was like to be a beginner and what their fears, needs and desires are.
2. They have good communication and teaching styles that can help the different styles of learning
3. They keep it fun and interesting
4. They don't just randomly show a bunch of techniques or just their own game, they teach strong fundamentals in a hierarchy.
5. They love jiu jitsu!

I'm lucky to have a black belt instructor and to be able to give my students one, but I never felt that I was disadvantaged when I didn't have one. It just meant I had to practice, drill and think more for myself Phone Post 3.0
10/23/13 2:08 AM
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Jimwilly
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U got those gates up yet oz jiu jitsu? Phone Post 3.0
10/23/13 6:10 AM
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Robobear
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Your training partners do more for your overall development than the instructor.  Your coach or instructor steers you in the right direction and corrects when he needs to but your partners are the fire your metal is tempered in.  If you have weak partners, your development will suffer, no matter how good the instructor.

10/23/13 6:18 AM
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ozjiujitsu
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Jimwilly - U got those gates up yet oz jiu jitsu? Phone Post 3.0
First post. I'm calling troll Phone Post 3.0
10/23/13 9:21 AM
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jakubceefin
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TBoy2 - I've been training for 17 years w/o regular black belt instructor. Just got my brown this year and I guess you could call me a hobbyist, at least compared to other BJJ people. I train on average twice a week. Some years I was down to 1 day a week and others 3-4 days a week.

Started in 1995 under a Rickson blue belt when I was still competing in Judo. My first instructor in addition to being a blue under Rickson, was a Judo NeWaza specialist, and trained every year with Erik Paulson. Learned a ton the first few years. I eventually changed gyms because I was not learning anymore or getting better. Should have left a couple years earlier but stayed out of loyalty.

The new gym was taught by a very good purple college student, Rylan Lizares. He got his brown, finished school and moved back to Hawaii. He later got his black and is one of the top instructors in Hawaii. Then Jeff Rockwell took over after Rylan left who was a purple at the time. He left a year or so later and is also now a black belt. After Rylan left we have had other purple and brown belt instructors. A couple of these instructors moved away and started their own schools. Now I am one of 4 brown belt instructors at the school. The head instructor is very close now to his black belt.

It has been a long journey for me. I commonly ask myself "Who the heck trains a martial art for 17 years and is not a black belt?" Crazy, huh

Jeff Rockwell is almost always the main instructor at every class I go to and that dudes awesome.
10/23/13 10:30 AM
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ilnosnirx
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Out of the 8 or so years Ive been training (currently purple).....5 of them have been WITHOUT a black belt.

Currently I dont even have a coach, just my training partners who are purple and brown. But they keep me progressing because they are amazing purple and brown belts
10/23/13 11:13 AM
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ninja316
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Our black belt kinda let's us do our thing. He kind I oversees things like a network. Our school has a brown almost black belt teaching the majority of classes as well as a newer brown belt and myself who is a 2 almost 3 year purple. We see our black belt every few months or so. Phone Post 3.0
10/23/13 2:44 PM
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odennis
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I started when my instructor was a purple belt. But it didn't matter at the time cause I thought blue belts were Gods. Now that I'm a purple belt I cant believe my instructor had the balls to open his own academy, to me it seems terrifying. But he went for it, got his black belt along with building up his school. He's very respected in this area as well by many of the other schools/coaches/competitors. It's a great thing to be a part of that.
10/23/13 3:00 PM
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Double Gold BJJ
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Another question to ask to those of you that don't train with black belts is, Is there a blackbelt in your town? Do you not train with a blackbelt out of choice or are you forced to?
10/23/13 3:01 PM
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Double Gold BJJ
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Also, for those of you that have listened to the episode I don't typically sound like I'm a depressed or something... I had been sick for almost three weeks.
10/23/13 3:41 PM
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rmenergy
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I train under my friend who is a new brown (he was a purple since '96 and for some reason always avoided promotion).

Anyway, there are two BB's in my area. One runs a public school associated with a well-known sportive team and is a great instructor IF you are really only into sportive bjj.

The other now runs a private, invite only, garage type gym (also sportive based with a bit of sd thrown in). Used to be public but had personal issues that forced the gym to close and become a small private thing.

Both my instructor and I used to belong to the latter gym. When I was a white belt I picked up much more info from my friend than I did from our instructor. Not to say that the BB was bad at all, just that the teaching style and what was shown happened to resonate more with my personality and body type.

So anyway, after the gym closed to the public, my friend and I got together and decided to open a new academy (All I did was help out with a bit of cash for mats, signs, etc, company is his). The main goal was to have it be available to as many people as possible being open6 days/week and having multiple classes a day. The focus of the school is also traditional sd with some sportive "thrown in". We associated with Rodrigo Gracie (who belted Mac in '96 to purple and got a good laugh when he saw him still wearing it) and use a curriculum that the two of them came up with. We have picked up many "expat" students from the other local gyms that are looking for a more traditional approach or a more flexible schedule.

So as to why I never went and trained with the BB's in the area. Neither was convenient. I work rotating shift work and could only avg. 2 days/week when with one and the other school is farther away and wouldn't offer much better of a schedule for a lot more money. Plus as a white/new blue, I was learning plenty from my "purple belt" friend. The gym has been open about a year now and I can say that my progress have come quite a long way this year. The schedule has a lot to do with it as I get about triple the mat time now as before training under a BB.

Sorry for the frat.
10/23/13 4:41 PM
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redenstein
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No black belt head instructor on the mat very easily turns into inmates running the asylum.

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