My train is heading that way …

This is a topic that I have had numerous conversations about over the years; albeit mostly with instructors, rather than students. But here it is …

When I was a younger (financially desperate and less mature) martial arts instructor, I tried to be all things to all people. The more students the better right? Nope; not right!

I would like to offer this analogy to help clarify how I think now … hopefully, it might help some of you in your BJJ relationships; after all, those relationships really matter, and it often hurts when people go their separate ways.

I am very clear on who I am now. I know what is important, and what is not. I have learned a lot from a varied and interesting  life and have experienced many lessons, in many countries, at many different times of my life. Here’s how I now see the situation, in terms of instructor-student relationships …

I know exactly where my train is headed. My train is going to Denver. I know why I am going there, and how and I am going there. If there are others who also want to go that way; then they are on the train they need to be on. 

If however, they want to go to Tucson; then they need to be on a different train. My train doesn’t go to Tuscon; and it serves neither of us (student or teacher) to pretend that somehow, my train will suit their purposes.

The clearer we all are on what we want; the type of culture we want to train in; the focus we want to put on our training; the type of people we want to spend time with … then the clearer our choice will be as to which school we should be training at. 

This goes for both teacher and student alike. There are all kinds of trains, heading in all kinds of directions. And so it should be.

  • JBW


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