David Jacobs' BJJGround Am I Wrong? (About Students & Comp)

10 days ago
5/30/03
Posts: 41520

I notice a lot of students (who don't compete) and go to AOJ or other high end schools are upset with the instructors for focusing so much on the top guys.  By "high end schools" Im referring to competition schools or schools that charge around $200/month for unlimited training.  Can you really fault the instructors for focusing on the best guys?  I understand that you pay just as much as the best guy, but why would an instructor with limited resources spend his time focusing on someone who trains once or twice a week?  

 

If the instructor focuses on top guys who compete, the student's competition will reflect on the academy.  Obviously, the normal students are the ones who keep the doors open but how can instructors resolve this?

10 days ago
3/15/15
Posts: 12157
This has always been the case, for the most part. Despite people thinking to the contrary, competition in BJJ is not done regularly by the majority of people who train. I am guessing somewhere near 85% do not regularly compete and/or only compete a few times.
But what is visible, is success in tournaments so that is where the emphasis goes.
Same with top MMA gyms. You are there to keep the lights on. How well the few students do in competition is highly important and that is where the emphasis must go.
To contrast, combat sports like wrestling and Judo are primarily seriously practiced by very young and younger students, mostly male. Competition life is relatively short for almost all except the best.
This is why I think it is important to focus on what flavor of BJJ (linked to your purpose for training and goals) rather than the latest popular gym.
10 days ago
9/26/07
Posts: 710

I remember fabio gurgel saying in an interview that less than 5% of his entire association compete or have ever competed. This sounds like a low number but I think it’s probably accurate. If you count the number of students who walk through your door every week (including beginners, trials etc) and then see how many have competed I think most gyms will arrive at a similar figure. 

There are probably some gyms out there where there is a much higher number of competitors but those are usually the gyms that don’t last long. The hardcore competitors train hard, get injured, injure their training partners, put off newbies then switch team because the gym is getting too soft. 

10 days ago
2/28/03
Posts: 47686

The people competing have a deadline to get all the information 

9 days ago
1/22/05
Posts: 22445
checkuroil - 

The people competing have a deadline to get all the information 


Equal pay should equal the same attention. You're providing a service. If people competing want extra attention they should pay for privates.
9 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 64673
I go to MGA and have never seen this sort of favoritism, but honestly if you're a serious competitor I feel like you shouldn't be getting the majority of your coaching/instruction from big group classes anyway.

BJJ is a very strange world sometimes. I doubt in wrestling or judo you have a lot of 18 year olds who have designs on being a world champ training with 35 year old hobbyists who have been training a few times a week for a couple of years.
8 days ago
6/24/08
Posts: 181
Tomato Can - I go to MGA and have never seen this sort of favoritism, but honestly if you're a serious competitor I feel like you shouldn't be getting the majority of your coaching/instruction from big group classes anyway.

BJJ is a very strange world sometimes. I doubt in wrestling or judo you have a lot of 18 year olds who have designs on being a world champ training with 35 year old hobbyists who have been training a few times a week for a couple of years.

I agree with this,, there could be a club squad if you will, with pictures on the wall of fame that every new student and parent would want to be part of.
While these people could train with the regular class or help teach it there should be time set aside for only competitive members, they would not pay fees but instead have to compete at a certain level and do other stuff to promote the school.
Which would bring in a lot of new people to keep the lights on.
7 days ago
8/13/14
Posts: 188

competitors should get most of their training/skills in competition class. They should toy around with techniques/refine techniques against regulars in normal class.

7 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 10767

For people who are bothered by the extra attention being paid to the competition team - perhaps you're missing something about the lifecycle of jiu jitsu instruction, and something that I think is quite wonderful in the Jiu Jitsu world (in contrast to many other sports).

With respect to the "lifecycle of jiu jitsu instruction". Generally speaking the first part of the instruction is directed at everyone. You get shown the technique a number of times from different angles and the major details are pointed out, you're then partnered up to practice the technique.

Most instructors I've seen (even the ones who appear to favor the competition team) go around and correct most people or are at least available for questions if you have any. During this period they *might* spend a bit more time on someone on the competition team, but for the most part - the extra attention the competition team member gets is during rolling periods or competition team training where their sparring gets a closer eye and more analysis than the average student. Part of this is because they want to make sure their team does well, and part ofthis is because there is probably a greater return on "investment" so to speak.

But the benefits to that scenario don't stop at the person who is competing. They're also our training and sparring partners, and when the coach is busy they're often able to help us out (when they're not pushing us by being a more formidable roll). I can't think of a good analogy for it yet but this seems to be a pretty good way at ensuring everyone gets the most out of training. 

If you're talking about a situation though where the instructors essentially ignore people who aren't on the competition team then that's different (luckily I've never seen that)

Regarding my last point -- I just think it's absolutely amazing that I get to train with people who compete internationally on a regular basis. High level competitors still working and training with the average club member is something that isn't seen in every sport - the higher up the competitive ladder they get the more isolated (and inaccessible) they become.  But in your first six months of training you might find yourself opposite a local killer who will of course take it easy on you, but it will be an educational moment where you have a level of access I don't see often in other sports. 

7 days ago
6/24/08
Posts: 187
robert bentley - 

For people who are bothered by the extra attention being paid to the competition team - perhaps you're missing something about the lifecycle of jiu jitsu instruction, and something that I think is quite wonderful in the Jiu Jitsu world (in contrast to many other sports).

With respect to the "lifecycle of jiu jitsu instruction". Generally speaking the first part of the instruction is directed at everyone. You get shown the technique a number of times from different angles and the major details are pointed out, you're then partnered up to practice the technique.

Most instructors I've seen (even the ones who appear to favor the competition team) go around and correct most people or are at least available for questions if you have any. During this period they *might* spend a bit more time on someone on the competition team, but for the most part - the extra attention the competition team member gets is during rolling periods or competition team training where their sparring gets a closer eye and more analysis than the average student. Part of this is because they want to make sure their team does well, and part ofthis is because there is probably a greater return on "investment" so to speak.

But the benefits to that scenario don't stop at the person who is competing. They're also our training and sparring partners, and when the coach is busy they're often able to help us out (when they're not pushing us by being a more formidable roll). I can't think of a good analogy for it yet but this seems to be a pretty good way at ensuring everyone gets the most out of training. 

If you're talking about a situation though where the instructors essentially ignore people who aren't on the competition team then that's different (luckily I've never seen that)

Regarding my last point -- I just think it's absolutely amazing that I get to train with people who compete internationally on a regular basis. High level competitors still working and training with the average club member is something that isn't seen in every sport - the higher up the competitive ladder they get the more isolated (and inaccessible) they become.  But in your first six months of training you might find yourself opposite a local killer who will of course take it easy on you, but it will be an educational moment where you have a level of access I don't see often in other sports. 


Well said, thank you for your perspective.