Professor Greg is out of town, so Jerad was in charge of the kid and adult advanced classes at Lincoln BJJ on Monday. When he was demonstrating a technique during the kids’ class, he slightly altered a detail from the way Greg teaches it, so one of the boys told him “You did that wrong.”, and Mike (who was the assistant teacher) pointed out that there are often several different ways to do the same things in Jiu-Jitsu!
I can relate to that boy, because I used to have more of an open mind when it comes to accepting instruction that differs from what I’ve been taught, but since I started training at LBJJC, if someone tells me to do anything other than what Professor Greg has told me, I usually think “That’s not what Greg said!”, but I don’t believe they are wrong, because I know other options do exist. I’m fully aware that The Professor is human, and it’s possible that he doesn’t know everything, he may even be wrong once in awhile, but I have complete faith in him, because as far as I can tell, he’s never given me any bad advice. He understands what it’s like to not be the biggest person in class, and the instruction he offers me is specifically geared towards someone of my size, so it works for me, and if Greg tells me to do something a certain way, you can bet your sweet ass that I’m going to try to do it exactly like he says, until he tells me otherwise!
One of the reasons the details of techniques can vary in BJJ is because the same thing doesn’t always work the same way for everyone, so when you’re looking for someone to emulate, I think it’s best to choose a person who is similar to you in size, and who better for me than The Professor? Having said that, it doesn’t mean I believe that teachers who are bigger than me have nothing to offer, I’ve actually learned a lot from Jerad, Conan, and many others, and I enjoy getting varying perspectives, because sometimes it helps me to look at things in another way.
So, if someone offers an alternative to what you’ve learned from your instructor, you shouldn’t think they’re wrong and dismiss it, because the only way to really know if it’s good advice for you is to try it. The beauty of BJJ is that it doesn’t take a “one size fits all” approach, you can customize it to match your own strengths and weaknesses, but first you have to figure out what those are, by experimenting with different options.
“I’ve got a right to be wrong. My mistakes will make me strong.” -Joss Stone