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Monday, 30 September 2013

Why is loyalty important?

Loyalty is a big part of the team aspect of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but why? And does it really matter?

I think the most important thing to consider is that loyalty should be an important part of everyone's life. Being a loyal person is a good character trait. What is loyalty though? To me it's a two way relationship, not just one person being loyal to another. Both or all people involved in anything should be loyal to each other, they should always look out for what is best for all not just themselves and should treat everyone involved fairly. Judging whether people are truly loyal is the hardest part.

Before I talk about jiu-jitsu I need to say that I am talking from the perspective of someone who trains under an instructor (Chris Rees) who is a really good person and instructor, so my feelings on things are shaped by that. I will do a piece about why it's important to choose where you train wisely at some point in the future.

So why is this important in jiu-jitsu? Students are just paying customers right? They should be allowed to go where they want? I feel bad for anyone who has this feeling towards jiu-jitsu. I love training, teaching, competing and everything else that is part of jiu-jitsu, and being able to be amongst a group of really close friends doing all that makes it even better. I plan on doing jiu-jitsu until I am dead or can no longer get myself onto the mat, I want to be surrounded by people I've known most of my life when I'm 65 not be the outsider at loads of different clubs. I also want to do everything I can to help my team mates, not spend some time training elsewhere. If you really are just paying for a service at your academy I feel sorry for you. If all you get is the class time while you're there, no other support, no competition coaching, no friendship nothing but the lessons themselves then you are at a bad place to train.

Other people make the argument that if you want to be the best you have to always seek out the best training. Fair enough, but what level are we talking about here? If you are a high level competitor with aspirations of winning the adult black belt Mundials then you do need to have a very high level training environment, but how many people are in that position and who got them there? For most people, any genuine academy with good level of instruction/competition performance will be able to give them the training they need to win anything but major titles. Anyone with the potential to be a world champion should be able to find training from their instructor's lineage... which is another reason why loyalty to your instructor is important.

But what does it mean to be loyal? Does it mean you can never switch teams without being considered a traitor? To me loyalty in jiu-jitsu is the same as any part of life, it means you should do everything to try to improve the team not just yourself. You should support your team mates and instructors, and they should do the same for you. Not all instructors deserve loyalty; some will only see their students as income sources, some will neglect their duties as an instructor, some might have worse problems... there are definitely cases where students should change team. Plus some team changes will happen by necessity due to either the instructor or student moving (although when both are high level there is no reason for this to cause a team change). It should be rare though, and if you do have to switch teams make sure you pick well.

One of the worst things I've heard proposed is that it's ok to leave your instructor and open your own school. I am sure that every instructor out there will be happy to help one of their most senior students to start teaching, so get yourself to that level and ask your instructor. If you're not a senior grade why would you want to start your own academy? It will only end up worse for all involved... the instructor loses students, the students lose high level instruction and the students of the new academy get a lower level of instruction than is available elsewhere. "But what if people want to make money from it?" ...tough. Money shouldn't rule things, don't screw over your instructor because you feel deserving of benefiting from their hard work. And if you love jiu-jitsu enough that you want to make a living off it, why does diluting the training available and starting an inferior academy seem like a good idea?

None of this means people can't train at other academies/affiliations while travelling, I have always welcomed any visitor from any where and I think any legitimate instructor would.

Basically, find somewhere enjoyable and successful to train and stick with them.

12 comments:

  1. Loyalty works both ways.

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    1. Yes, I said that more than once in my blog?

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  2. That would be me. I am in that situation. Not sure what to do. Right, now I put up w/ it b/c other schools are far away. :T

    "If all you get is the class time while you're there, no other support, no competition coaching, no friendship nothing but the lessons themselves then you are at a bad place to train"

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    1. Tough situation mate. Is your experience the same as all the students there or does the instructor have some students they are more friendly with?

      You may as well keep training, it's not your fault the instructor isn't making it somewhere you'd have no reason to leave. See what happens in the future.

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  3. I'm switching rotations at my job and won't be able to go to any classes at my current school, but a closer school to my job at the right hours will be available. Then what? I save 250 dollars a month by switch, in fees and gas. Tough choice.

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    1. Yeah, tough one for sure mate. How long will the job change effect you? How long have you been training at the current place? I guess you just have to think about those things and make your decision.

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    2. Supposed to be permanent but could be only for a few months. Been training at my current school for a year and a half. Trained at the other school when i was on days before , off and on at times. I don't want to burn any bridges that'sf for sure.

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    3. I think just speak to your instructor. It's not a very common situation. Personally, beyond anything else, I would want you to be training if you were my student, so I'd tell you to train at the other club and then hope you'd come back once you could :)

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  4. The problem with the whole loyalty thing is that while you did indeed state that it goes both ways, the students/competitors are under far more pressure to maintain their loyalty than the instructor/gym owner. Situations where instuctors/gym owners deny their students/competitors chances to earn money so they can continue to train/compete or even deny them the chance to earn medals is actually very common in jiu jitsu. The reasons vary but usually it has to do with money and team points. Not very loyal if you ask me. And then when the student/competitor leaves because they got screwed, they're the ones that get the "disloyal" label.

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    1. I don't understand... instructors prevent their students from competing? We would never do that at our team, we encourage everyone to compete as much as possible.

      I also don't train myself with people from any other teams, I wouldn't teach seminars with teams from a different affiliation/lineage.

      Not sure what you mean by deny them a chance to earn money?

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    2. I know a high level competitor that was essentially ordered by his instructor to bow out of the finals of a major competiton due to the instuctor wanting a student he didnt even know from an affiliate school to fight in the finals. On top of that, it was well known that the student who was ordered to bow out had been beating the other in the camp and had also beaten the guy he would have faced. He had a very good chanc to win the whole thing and he was denied the chance due to team points. Stuff like this happens a lot on major teams. And the money thing? Look at the Alliance competitor exodus in 2002.

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    3. I think I might know the people involved in the situation you described. Although the wrong decision was made, the problem is more to do with the 2 members of a team per division isn't it??

      Shame that money is normally the cause of so many problems. That's why our affiliates don't have to pay any fee to us :-)

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