When I was talking to Shihan about the fact that I was planning to leave the Jiu-Jitsu program at the dojo to train at Lincoln Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Center, one of the things he said to me was “Conan is your teacher, you should follow him.” The funny thing is that even though Conan is a co-owner of LBJJC, he is not a teacher there. Greg is the only person currently teaching classes, and Conan is a white belt right now, just like the rest of us.
Last week, on my first day back to Jiu-Jitsu after getting my stitches out, I asked Conan if he would be my partner for drills, because I wanted to make sure I had someone “safe” to work with, so I wouldn’t accidentally bump my head. I wasn’t as worried that my partner would get carried away, as that I would. I’m not always good at looking out for my own safety, so I figured working with someone who is as calm, cool, and collected as Conan would be my best bet.
That day was only the second time in four years that I’ve worked with Conan as a partner. We’ve rolled many times, and he’s worked with me one-on-one before and after class at the dojo, but during class he was always the teacher, so he usually didn’t get much of a chance to drill. It did feel kind of strange to work with him for the entire class, but no matter what belt he has on, or where we are, he will always be my teacher. I would say my Sensei, but he doesn’t like it when people call him that!
Conan has been training Jiu-Jitsu for about eleven years, and for the last eight of those he was the head instructor at the dojo. He didn’t have a solid, consistent Jiu-Jitsu teacher, and he took over as instructor before he was done being just a student. Although it’s impossible for me to see him as anything other than my teacher, I’m happy that he has this chance to be a student again. He’s even older than me, so he’s kind of old to be starting over as a BJJ white belt, but I bet it won’t take him nearly as long to get to black!
“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.” -Conan