#134 Changing Jiu-Jitsu Schools Part 2

san diego jiu jitsu fabio santos
The place you train – will it always be the same?

This week we conclude our conversation around changing where you train Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Our guest this week is Gumby from OnT heMat.com, who can provide a different angle to the topic than in our previous discussion. Gumby has been in the jiu-jitsu scene over ten years and is a black belt under Ralph Gracie and is in the process of opening his own BJJ school. So Gumby will provide not only the perspective of a jiu-jitsu student but that of someone whose livelihood depends on a healthy school where students are not leaving to go train jiu-jitsu somewhere else.

We will also hear from Pedro Sauer in our installment of The Black Belt Corner.

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The FightWorks Podcast: There’s a strange sort of dual set of relationships where, as a student, you’re a consumer, right? You’re paying for a service. On the other hand, the people on the [jiu-jitsu] mats become family.

Gumby: Absolutely. That’s one of the great things about jiu-jitsu. It’s why we enjoy it so much. Some of the camaraderie, some of my best friends come from guys that I’ve met on the mat. Literally. I am pretty sure that’s the same for anyone who’s listening to this right now. I have had very close relationships with people that I train with. So for whatever the reason, you don’t like to see those people go. You want to keep those people close to you (if it’s a good environment for you that is). And some people will do whatever they can to protect that.

3 Replies to “#134 Changing Jiu-Jitsu Schools Part 2”

  1. Regarding the Big Boy questions on BJJ, I wanted to check and see if anyone might be interested in getting together as a group of Big guys for a camp? Being a big guy myself (6’5″ 240) I know that it’s hard sometimes to find guys of similar size. If you guys would be interested I think it would be cool to do a big guy camp or seminar and try to get some bigger instructors to teach?

    On the gym thing, I will agree that it’s a completely awkward and painful experience if you leave the only school in town. I was called a “creote” by my instructor but it needed to happen because a negative vibe was not helping the gym. When my instructor and I broke apart I decided to open up my own gym in a very small area with only his school teaching BJJ. It was super hard at first and even though he still refuses to talk to me both schools have grown bigger and better and the “word” of BJJ is even higher in our area. That’s the upside. It forced him to work harder and provide a better service to his students and it made me have to prove that I could compete with him.

    What it boils down to is that BJJ schools are like anything in life, take pop. I like Mountain Dew but other people like Pepsi. It’s still pop but the flavor is different. When I was at his school some people did not like how my instructor taught and some people did not like how I taught and you can’t blame them everyone is different some like more instructional some like less and on and on.

    So here are my thoughts about switching schools. If you do it, do it early. The bond between an instructor and a student is like a marriage and the longer you wait the harder the bond is to break. I have no problem with a guy that has been with me for a month leaving but someone that has been with me for years is pretty hard to take. So do it early! If after a few classes you are seeing traits in your instructor that you don’t like you may want to look elsewhere. As far as being an instructor make sure that you allow your new students the opportunity to try the other schools before they decide on yours. That way when a student comes back you know he is loyal. If you are a high ranking belt, I would suggest talking it out as much as possible and talk to other guys about it. If you do leave I hope you have thick skin because hold on it gets rough but if you truly have to leave do it. Just make sure it’s not about money because good luck on finding money in BJJ!

    By the way just on a personal note, I have all the respect in the world for my previous instructor, he is a great instructor and he introduced me to the sport that I love. If you guys do leave keep the cat fights clean, there are far to many stories about mud slinging that is not needed to bring down the good name of BJJ.

  2. Very good points, Bruce.

    Another great podcast! It was great hearing from the perspective of an instructor. Not something that’s normally talked about during class heh

    Also, regarding the black belt corner, I like that segment. This was my first time hearing it, but I like that question that’s asked 🙂

  3. Love the site, listen to the Podcast each sunday.

    I realize there are many aspects, and factors that come into account when having to possibly change schools, and the straight up politics between camps must be the most touchy aspect seeing as you guys barely mentioned any camp vs. camp by name, but i go through this type of BS all the time at my school.

    While my school is not a Gracie Barra afflitiate, our instructor comes from the Carlos Gracie’s camp, so anything not traditional GJJ, can be frowned upon.

    I love my school and am not looking to change, but i also love picking up DVD lessons, and learning some of the other staple moves that are out there currently, wheter it be x-guard, rubber guard or whatever.

    Even more odd is to look at our master’s face when some new white belt unkowingly wants to represent the Gracie name and searches the web, and comes across merch from the other side of the family,

    You should see my master’s face when some one gets swept or subbed by a technique he knows he didnt teach us, it erks him good. On occasion he like for a student to demo a newer sweep against him, as if to prove its ineffective, but not realizing he’d kill us technically with any technique as his years on the mat dwarf most other people.

    So i doubt i’ll ever see a Brasa, Alliance, Checkmat, or other camp seminar at my acadmeny, not that we really need one, as the wealth of knowledge from our 6th degree blackbelt is nowhere near running dry, but i would love a bit mre openmindness.

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