What BJJ Coaches Won’t Tell You!!!


Wow thought this article was super fantastic and really hit home… I attached a link below.


The writer of this article asked 11 different BJJ instructors from different clubs and different skill levels to state things that they normally wouldn’t tell their students. At my personal level, I consider myself a coach… been coaching on and off taking over classes here and there until our two main BJJ coaches left us to pursue aspirations in southern Ontario… the mecca of BJJ in Ontario, Toronto. I believe, I officially took over running these classes late last year pretty much after John Veale finished his last exam… i think or was it the year before… grrr not sure lack of sleep from baby waking up is blinding me lol… we helped loaded his cube truck and that was it. Full-time coaching the BJJ classes on Sundays and Tuesdays, I was a little bit perturbed, now I wasn’t allowed to be only focused on myself all the time, training always consumed me, especially competition. I was addicted to competition, especially after my first one, now I was limited to minus, yes two nights a week. Pros and cons… pros and cons… another part of my journey I guessed and trail blazed through… To fully understand technique you must know how to teach them accordingly… still frustrating though not being able to drill… yes I love drilling. Worst is when the classes are odds and with time management of having the classes run on time I had to remove myself from the mix at times, irrational it was. I used to train five to six days a week at its peak, addiction? Yes. Full-time job and wife. Coached two of those days a week so it went down to four or five depending on if the numbers were even including myself. No dice with drilling, so I started coming earlier to get the weights and some lifting in to keep up with the missed training. Baby popped out on Dec 23rd 2014… yes a baby, love the dude seriously… I love him… but now I’m down to four days a week “sarcasm?”. Two of them? Coaching is BS I’ll tell you BS… naw… its all good. Life I’ll tell you, similar to BJJ ups and downs, unforgettably moments and surprises . Mind you with the baby and minimal sleep, it has opened up other doors an opportunity to share what I’ve learned with all my years in BJJ, even though I consider myself a fetus compared to others in this Martial Art. It’s integrally why I started blogging, extra down time with a baby… hopefully someone else sees my BJJ journey, can sympathize, can relate. We humans need support systems. Support and welcoming of new practitioners into BJJ. It’s how we maintain positive growth in our BJJ communities. This article really hit home and is hilarious at the same time… Again I’m only a purple belt, not a black belt… yes #purplebeltproblems we have them too lol… I’ve added my two cents, or some may say half a cent of comments only, as additional feedback. lmao.


“We know it feels weird.  We know the positions are odd and that sometimes you feel a choke isn’t in correctly, but when we tell you to trust the technique instead of your feelings, listen to us.”

Personally, a lot of techniques I have learned, I’ve used OTM through trial and error… to me a technique I’ve learned and will teach may not 100 percent work for everyone based on personal attributes… based on your body type, your opponents body type, the functionality of the technique taught might not be necessarily for you. That’s why we drill and roll to work the functionality of the technique so you understand how the technique will be useful for you in multiple specific scenario’s.


“When you first walk into a club looking to take BJJ, we’ll normally ask if you have any experience…what we’re really looking for is if you have any grappling experience.  Karate, Tae-kwon-do, Jeet-kune-do…we don’t really care, and we really don’t want to sit and listen about your karate tournaments, just get on the mat and let’s start.”

I get this all the time… it is what it is… You’re a 2 degree black belt in Karate, fantastic… TKD awesome… just a head’s up I’ve explained,  there is no striking, slamming, eye gouging, wearing jocks or cups, biting, heel hooks, neck cranks or fish hooking in BJJ… oh you have to wear a white belt in our class… and please sign a waiver… after warm up’s, we drill, work on some technique, some positional stuff and then some live rolling. Welcome to BJJ. Most of the time their gassed from the warm ups… only 10 mins long damn… i remember the days of 30 mins or an hour as run by John Veale, miss the old days, god bless what he did for us with BJJ in Thunder Bay, all the meat heads hate warm ups. BJJ philosophy, burn your self out with warm ups-drilling-positional sparring and you will find time to only use technique while rolling from being sooo burnt out. Most of the time they don’t come back… however the guys that maintain course and continue coming to classes are the keepers as training partners. The best is when your rolling with them… and they are like I just want to punch you in the head, while in your closed guard… or gas tap when your on top of them… hahahahah


“We don’t like teaching arm bars over and over, and especially don’t like teaching side control hundreds upon thousands of times.  But like anything you want to be good at, it’s necessary, so please don’t complain that you aren’t learning anything.  We know its repetitive and kind of boring, but we also know that it needs to be perfect.  Plus, we are working on ours at the same time, not just teaching it”

Yes it is boring… but its the shit that works and we hit it during tournaments… just saying tried and tested… this shit works. Drill drill drill. Boring, but it works. Like Bruce Lee once stated… fear the man that has practiced one kick 1000 times, not the man that has practiced 1000 different kick’s? You get this with the enthusiastic white belts that have been training for a couple months and ask you about how to do a reverse de la riva sweep to a berimbolo back take, after doing research on YouTube cute… or from watching the BJJ pros executing it in competitions. Heck the white belt can’t even execute an arm bar from closed guard while positional drilling with their partners… I know your trying to be in the in and cool but its not… Just be fantastic and do the boring stuff please…


“We paid ours, and you’re going to as well.  We fought tournaments, we roll every class, and we did thousands of positional drills.  All this came with multiple injuries, hundreds of hours as the “choking dummy” and gallons of sweat, blood and mat-burn ointment. So no, we aren’t ‘good’, we are the product of thousands of ass-kicking’s, and you will be too”

I may be only purple belt, not a pro nor a black belt… but I have spent a few countless hours OTM, especially at our gym… believe me it didn’t take a year to get my blue belt. I was a white belt for 4 years. When we first started there was only a few of us training in a GI… yes a few… grown quite a bit since leaving where the old club use to be…


“BJJ is about finesse, combinations and going with the flow.  We understand that up until a certain level your body isn’t trained to relax when it’s in a physical battle.  But we also know when you can relax and just don’t want to, and that causes injuries.  So when you decide to can-opener me and cause me injury, you’ll get a little friendly guidance on the rules of rolling and injuries.  Do it again and we decide to hold onto submissions a little longer and a little harder until you get the point”

OOOp’s… I’m guilty… my style is like a mouse or possum as others have explained. I’m small… and not strong comparatively to others, I rely on strategy and wait to counter off mistakes… so when your crushing my neck with a rape choke in my guard, digging your elbows into my thighs, or rubbing your forearm with a GI I might add into my eyes and decide to gas tap, especially for the newer big boys that come by and try out BJJ… I rely on technique and finesse. Getting pretty darn good at it and I can be fast at times, especially when you make a mistake… learn what is illegal, what is legal, rolling etiquette, and not how to be dirty with your training partner… Using your weight to control is cool, using your weight to crush someones throat can bite you in the ass… its your job OTM to be concerned of your fellow training partners… with out them you would be training by yourself and watching Youtube videos… choose.


“I absolutely love questions and I ask a ton of questions.  If you ask questions, I know that you’re paying attention.  I also know that you want to know why something works and why it doesn’t.  If you ask questions you’re automatically one of my favorites.”

This really hits home… I ask every time after I show a technique… ask me please… anything, even though its stupid. Not when or after, when no one is looking or worst off on how to do something else…


“Unless they’re the gym owner, head instructor or Master, your instructor probably gets very little compensation if any.  We train because we love to train.  We have regular day jobs, families and every day problems like everyone else.  So using your jitz buddies to gripe about life is a great release and great place to get your stresses out for the day so you can go home in a good mood to your family.  But when it’s closing time, don’t forget that we have families we want to see too.”

Yep I don’t get paid… and nope I’m not part owner of this club “TRUTH”… was hoping one day, but you never know.   I do this because it’s my part in helping with the growth of BJJ in our community. I do this to pass on what I’ve learned to others, not much, but something. I do this because I feel like its part of my learning curve to become a black belt, heck I kinda like it at times… especially when I can get a chance to get reps in during the warm up and drilling… You must learn the art, every aspect of it, from competitions, fundamental techniques, defending, even applicable self defence and to be able to teach ever aspect of it… said, something in my head that i thought I made it up… lol


“We can’t stand when we are going over a technique we’ve gone over hundreds of times (see #9), and while we are teaching, people are talking or working on a move that is completely different.  Don’t forget that every class has new people and it’s distracting and disrespectful to them while they’re trying to learn…after all, they’re paying a lot of money to learn what’s going on.  Not to mention it makes the gym look amateur.”

Yes, this just distracts others… work on the technique or help others on this technique if you are an expert…


“We’ve all had that ‘Aha!’moment, where a technique clicks and you finally got a hold of it.  We are absolutely happy and proud that you’ve got it…but unless you’re given permission by the instructor to teach, don’t teach.  The understanding is that we are only permitted to teach techniques that we have a firm grasp on.  For example, we can teach a kimura for short people, tall people, muscular and scrawny.  We can show you the leg position for each body type to make the technique more effective and different positions from where it can be applied.  If someone says it’s not working for them, we can see what’s wrong and fix it….can you?”

Yeah this is just distracting… your two cents is great, when you’re asked… I’m not perfect… may get things misinterpreted, or different words may come out of my mouth during a lesson… everyone makes mistakes, even your coaches. Believe me you will have to teach a class one day…


“Cockiness and arrogance destroys gyms…it takes away our ‘family’ environment, and it’s a sure fire way to get everyone gunning for you.  If we find out you’re using what you learn to bully kids at school, we’ll throw you into the shark tank – I remember a single mom bringing her disruptive teen into our gym.  He called her a ‘bitch’, punked kids at school, kicked people randomly on a whim and referred to himself as ‘God’.  His mom gave the head instructor $50 and told us to show him how badass he isn’t.  He returned her money and made him roll…and he realized really fast that he’s not Bruce Lee.”

Haven’t come across this yet… I believe that the majority of guys and girls that I have coached are well behaved OTM that is… but hey great idea per-say if this ever happened.


“No, I don’t know everything for every situation, that’s why your instructors have instructors.  The more experienced your teacher, the more situations they’ve been in, and the more they’ll know.  I know enough to teach, and in doing so, will discover little things that I didn’t know before.  After class, I’ll ask my teachers what to do in that situation and practice it to no end just so I have that knowledge.”

I’m a firm believer, as do others, that a good teacher or in my case coach, is always learning, evolving, and growing too. Similar to learning about BJJ… the art is continually evolving. Heck we are human and again we make mistakes. Teacher or coaches are not God… we don’t know everything… and if you do… different story, maybe you should teach. Student as part of their learning need to be researchers and learn on their own unless they are getting privates on the side… different story again. We can always lead a horse to water… but if the river is dry will that horse one day help his leader in finding another river, lake, or water source? huh?? Here’s a small clip of us doing a small warm up… in the summer… twas great… twas great…

Where’s my Albino Rhino?

Powder Puff Daddy??

Till next time…
Hopefully tomorrow… maybe Saturday 2pm, Sunday 10am?
Monday Openmat at noon or Tuesday 8pm? Yes lots of BJJ!!



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