What Makes A Good BJJ Instructor?

What Makes A Good BJJ Instructor

Being a BJJ instructor is not an easy task. It takes way more than just skills to train grapplers. Behind every successful practitioner, there is an instructor who gives his level best to train his student so that he can reach and stay at the top position.

A BJJ instructor is like a guide for the practitioners who correct their wrongs and teaches them how to become efficient and outstanding fighters.

1. A BJJ Instructor

We are all aware of the fact that a BJJ instructor is the one that instructs BJJ techniques to his practitioners. He also gives his 100% to his students to transform them into excellent grapplers. A BJJ instructor is a person who understands his students and teaches them according to their individual caliber.

But it is not that easy to become an instructor. It takes more than just skills to become one. An instructor is like a mentor for practitioners. An instructor is not just a teacher, rather an instructor is like a fatherly figure for his students. Instructors are experienced practitioners who have achieved a high level of proficiency in BJJ and then spend their lives imparting their knowledge to others.

They are responsible for planning and conducting classes peacefully. They not only demonstrate techniques but also provide feedback to their students. They aid students in sharpening their BJJ techniques. Most BJJ instructors train, compete and instruct at the same time. It is just a matter of preferences for them.

2. Being a BJJ Instructor is a Challenging Task

To become an excellent grappler you have to work harder but all your hard work depends on your instructor too. The type of training that you are receiving is the main thing in the long run. There are many instructors in the BJJ community but only a few of them are loved and adored. It is because of the person they are.

A good BJJ instructor shapes the whole life of his student. It is not necessary that a great BJJ fighter can be a great instructor too. It takes a complete understanding of your students and their mindset to teach them the techniques.

3. Qualities of a Good BJJ Instructor

There are a few things that make any instructor the best one. To become one, you have to pay attention to the needs of your students rather than forcing them to do what only you think is good.

3.1. Complete Set of BJJ Knowledge

Only a Black Belt is officially qualified to teach Jiu-Jitsu. It is true that after becoming a Purple Belt you can start training to become an instructor. The eligible criteria for a BJJ instructor are to achieve the Black Belt status. It means that you must have a complete set of knowledge. Having a complete set of knowledge means that an instructor must be aware of all the techniques as well as how to apply them.

Most instructors have developed their own form of application of a certain technique. This is what distinguishes them from other instructors. They, later on, impart that secretive techniques to their loyal students, and hence the legacy goes on. A deep understanding of advanced and basic techniques is a must for a BJJ instructor.

3.2. Patience

One of the most important things for a BJJ instructor is patience. You need to be patient with your students if you want them to stay motivated and not get afraid of BJJ. BJJ techniques can be overwhelming especially for new students. That is why the instructors need to be calm and patient with them.

It happens that some students do not learn or adapt techniques as well as other students. In that case, being an instructor, you need not to rush. You need to demonstrate patience to your students so that it can aid them in becoming great grapplers.

3.3. Full Grasp on BJJ Techniques

Not only do you have to have a complete set of knowledge but also a grasp of basic techniques. It is a must for you to have a complete hold over the techniques/moves/submissions and defenses so that if your students question anything, you won’t be left speechless.

3.4. Discipline

Discipline is an important quality of a BJJ instructor. Discipline accounts for consistency and accountability. The teaching approach of an instructor must be consistent and based on the fact that all students are not alike. It might happen that some students have basic knowledge of BJJ and others have advanced knowledge. In that case, a BJJ instructor must devise a set of curriculum that coincides with the understanding of all students.

It is necessary that you must be a focused teacher who pays attention to the task at hand.

3.5. Safe Environment for Practitioners

Often during rolling and sparring sessions, students build animosity toward each other. It is your duty to calm down those students before they become harmful to themselves and other students. Create a safe environment that is based on love and respect so that students must feel free to bring their queries to you.

“And, as much as I would love to claim the success of my students as my own doing, I honestly think that – in order to create a good grappler – the most important thing is to create an environment where they can develop their own game and spend time problem-solving, workshopping, and specific training that game”.

(Lachlan Giles)

3.6. Inspiration for Students

You must be the driving force behind your students' will to train frequently. Being an inspiration for your students means that they are inspired by your techniques and your personality. It means that you have to become a source of true motivation and inspiration for your students.

3.7. Source of Motivation

Being a source of motivation means that you inspire your students to the degree that they become attached to BJJ. Especially after becoming a Purple Belt, most practitioners lose interest in BJJ. It is because they feel that they are not improving enough.

Now here comes the role of a BJJ instructor. You have to inspire your students and motivate them that BJJ is a constant journey. You have to explain to them that the Purple Belt is only the tip of the iceberg. When such words come from a highly experienced and professional instructor, students tend to listen.

3.8. A Reputed Practitioner

Not only does the instructor must be skilled but also of highly reputable status. If you don't have one it is most likely that practitioners wouldn’t like to train under you. Having a reputed status means that you are not part of any controversy or conflict.

3.9. Student Safety Must be the No. 1 Priority

BJJ is a submission grappling combat sport. It is based on self-defense techniques and it imparts the same to its practitioners. Takedowns and submission techniques such as choke can be dangerous for practitioners. It can lead to injury.

Being a BJJ instructor, it is your duty to ensure the safety of your students at all times.

Your number 1 concern must be to ensure your students' safety. If students have a grudge against one another, try to solve that so that your gym has a great peaceful environment.

3.10. Good Communication Skills

A good BJJ instructor must be able to communicate the techniques effectively. There are many complex BJJ moves. Being an instructor, it is your duty to divide them into parts so that practitioners can understand them. Having good communication skills means that you are understandable and your words and true meanings are being communicated and understood by your students.

3.11. Professionalism

Professionalism is an important quality of a BJJ instructor. Being professional means that you have a high level of expertise and skills. It also means that you must be prepared for your class. A professional BJJ instructor is one who never stops learning, but rather keeps his learning journey prolonged.

3.12. Egoistic Personality and BJJ Instructorship WiIl Never Workout

A good BJJ instructor is not a person full of pride. Rather you must have a calm composure and allow students to ask you for anything. A lack of ego and attitude means that you are a humble person. Being humble earns you respect from your students and they are most likely to listen to you than to an egoistic instructor. This is the reason why new students often leave the gym.

When students are looking for a place to train in BJJ, the most important thing they look for is the instructor. A reputable, skilled, and humble instructor is the demand of every student.

3.13. Athletic & Non-Athletic Students

There are many types of students at the gym. Some have an athletic background, either they were into sports or their family used to train in BJJ. And there are some students who do not have an athletic background and BJJ is the first sport for them. There is an obvious difference in skill set between the two. As an instructor, it is your foremost task to train them both according to their needs and desires.

Some of your students would be training for only self-defense and some of them would train to become professional grapplers. Your approach must be different for the two of them. It does not mean that you have to distinguish between your students. It means that according to their goals, their training would be different. And as a mentor, you have to ensure your students do not feel left out.

3.14. Respect for Rules

A great BJJ instructor respects the legacy and tries to keep it alive. As mentioned earlier BJJ is a submission grappling sport. It was first adopted by the Gracies and later on, they spent their lives in its propagation. They wanted to keep the gentle art in its true form. And that must be the goal of every BJJ instructor, keeping the art in its original form.

Your goal must be to teach your students so that no variations occur from the original form.

3.15. Teaching Certifications

It is important to be verified by the BJJ federation before starting to teach students. It gives clarity to the students as well as their belts are not questioned by any authority. Certifications prove that you are eligible for working as a BJJ instructor. Your techniques won’t be questioned as you have been verified by the sanctioning authority.

3.16. Awareness of Variations and Principles

There are many variations of BJJ techniques. A great instructor is one who is aware of those variations and asks his students to incorporate them into their training sessions.

3.17. Never Indulges in Other Activities While Teaching

For an instructor, it is crucial to pay attention to students. You should never be on your phone during class. Refrain from the activities that divert your attention from your students.

4. Importance of a BJJ Instructor

BJJ instructors play an important role in the practitioner’s professional career and life. They provide guidance and feedback to their students. It helps the students to work on their flaws. An instructor is not just a teacher who teaches you techniques. Instructors make you aware of the technical side of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There are many students who train without any instructor. And this clearly appears in their fighting style.

Your instructor provides you with a detailed description of when and how to apply certain techniques. Instructors demonstrate the techniques in front of their students to bring clarity to the students.

5. How Much a BJJ Instructor Can Earn?

In the United States, a BJJ instructor earns approximately $60,000 per year. The mentioned price can vary from country to country. In some countries, the income drops to $35,000 too. Overall, it is a respected profession and demands a high level of skills.

6. Certification For a BJJ Instructor

You can start training as a BJJ instructor once you have become a Purple Belt but in order to become a professional instructor, you need to become a Black Belt. And you must also have certification with you. It will verify your skills and proficiency level.

Following are some of the authorities that grant you certifications.

  • International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF)
  • Gracie University Jiu-Jitsu Academy
  • The United States Jiu-Jitsu Federation

7. Famous BJJ Instructors

7.1. Romulo Barral

Romulo Barral
Photo Credit: @romulobarral

Romulo Barral is a 5th-degree BJJ Black Belt and the Co-founder and head coach of Gracie Barra Northridge. Previously he was an instructor. Some of his famous students are Felipe Pena, Victor Silverio, and Gabriel Arges. He was the ADCC World Champion in 2013. He has also won many IBJJF World Championships.

7.2. Andre Galvao

Andre Galvao
Photo Credit: @galvaobjj

The King of grappling, Andre Galvao is a 5th-degree BJJ Black Belt. He is the owner and founder of Atos Jiu-Jitsu. Along with his wife, Angelica Galvao, he instructs BJJ techniques. Kade Ruotolo, Rafaela Guedes, and Tye Ruotolo are some of his students that are creating history in BJJ just like their coach.

7.3. Victor Estima

Victor Estima
Photo Credit: @victorestimagb

Victor Estima is a 5th-degree BJJ Black Belt. He is the Co-founder of Gracie Barra Nottingham. He also works as an instructor there. He along with his brother, Braulio Estima, developed the Estima Lock which is one of the deadliest locks in BJJ. A huge number of students train under him.

7.4. John Danaher

John Danaher
Photo Credit: @danaherjohn

John Danaher is a 6th-degree BJJ Black Belt. He is called the monk in the BJJ community. He spent his life training, mastering and now propagating BJJ techniques. His famous students are Gordon Ryan, Garry Tonon, Craig Jones, and Nicky Ryan.

7.5. Yvone Duarte

Yvone Duarte
Photo Credit: @yvoneduartejj

Yvone Duarte is the first female BJJ practitioner who attained the status of 7th-degree Coral Belt. She was also the first-ever female BJJ Black Belt. She is a motivation for female BJJ grapplers.

8. Conclusion

A great BJJ instructor is one who gives all of his attention and learning to his students. He is an unbiased human being who gives his life to teaching BJJ techniques to practitioners. There is not even a bit of ego or attitude in him. He treats his students like his own family and cares for them. That is why only a few of the instructors are loved so much in the BJJ community.

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