Should those who instruct or pass knowledge have to have experience with fighting, competition or titles? This is an interesting topic I've seen have always wanted to share my thoughts, so here we go. Over the years I've seen people debating this. My question is this, look at the majority of NFL and other coaches, why are nearly none of them professional athletes themselves? There's a giant difference between those who can compete/perform and those who can articulate. And even those who can articulate to adults to kids ages 5 to kids ages 10. Teaching is a skill in its own and its not just repeating what you do. A good instructor will be able to explain something multiple different ways. A good instructor will be able to run a class and running a class is done on multiple tiers. Some can run a class of 10 but cannot run a class of 20. Some can run a class of 20 but cannot run a class of 100. I've seen some of the best competitors out there instruct and its quite cringe worthy. The breakdown and explanation of whats taking place requires skill of its own. A prime example is who I believe to be one of the best instructors on the planet, John Danaher. When you think of the greatest competitors of his time, he is not necessarily one of them. Should he coach? If you have ever had the chance to learn from John or watch his videos, the way he breaks things down is so intellectual and allows you to understand the mechanics and concepts of the technique. Now I have not personally had the pleasure of seeing him run a kids class so I dont want to voice something on that, but teaching kids is an entire different level. Competitors spend hours and hours developing their timing, technique and understanding of the game while teachers are spending their time focusing on articulating whats happening and identifying the common mistakes their students will make before they even make it.
What I've noticed as well is some schools believe that advertising they have "world champions" or stating the instructors titles and credentials in their lead generating ads. I've even seen a lead generating ad that was using the terminology we use on the mats and I find it funny. No one coming off the street is looking for world champions, could care less about titles or how many fights you've been in and everyone who doesnt train has no idea what de la riva is. I've been teaching Jiu Jitsu for the past 8-9 years and currently teach and manage one of the most successful academies on the east coast called Rising Tide Academy in Maryland. People come in because of a pain they have. That pain could be a number of things, weight loss, self defense, confidence etc. For adults, the number one reason is fitness, second is self defense curiosity/confidence, and third is a hobby, or a "thing". When coming in, they want to find the solution to their pain, if you can offer the solution to their pain, they like the environment/community, the class is fun and the money lines up with the value then the student will sign up. None of this has to do with medals or titles and quite frankly, declaring your credentials like titles and such comes across as ego to me. Now who does care about titles? Students currently training. If thats your market, then go ahead but I find that to be a very very slim market. The truth is Jiu Jitsu students make up probably less than 1% of the population, why fish for 1% when you could hit the 99%? It's not about yourself and about the customer. What I am getting at is people's pain is not "I've always wanted to learn Jiu Jitsu from a world champion", those may people who currently train and again, thats the 1%. Market towards the people who "I need to lose 30lbs but hate the treadmill" or "I'm a police officer and need self defense" or "My child is lacking confidence, what can I do?" people.
So because you are a good competitor, does that mean you can teach? 100% NOT. I'm 100% positive I can teach and run a better class than the majority of the instructors along the east coast, can I beat them in a match or fight? Absolutely not. But I can sure as hell articulate how to do something and run a structured class thatll be engaging, attention grabbing, make you sweat, laugh and have fun to students of all ages no matter the skill, or amount of students in class.
Hey! My name is Stephen Miller and I am currently a Brown belt under Relson Gracie, training at Gracie Maryland (www.RealJiuJitsu.com)