I’ve been a black belt for over 10 years and take a lot of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes at LFF. The BJJ team here is one of many around the world that make up Fight Sports International.
What I love about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the self-confidence that it can give you and the lifestyle that opens up – it can have such a positive affect on your life both on and off the mat. I also love the idea that in BJJ everyone can win, you don’t have to be strong to restrain an opponent. We train with and without gi and although, with the latter, strength does become more of a deciding factor most of the time we train with gi.
When you train with gi it’s so much to do with technique and style and just because someone might be strong it doesn’t mean they’ll win. Hence it’s a pretty good sport for everyone and anyone to learn. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has many levels to it and a huge range of techniques, positions etc. I trained in boxing for about 4/5 years and really enjoyed it but when I started learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it really took over everything.
I love to teach and I like my students to be aware that I want them to ask lots of questions about what we’re practising. In BJJ – just like in life – there’s a ‘why?’ behind every action. I wish when I had started out I had a professor that not only showed me what I should do but also encouraged me to ask questions about why things had to be done in that way and in that order.
I’m really happy to have built up a sense of community at LFF and between the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu students in particular. Most of us aren’t related to each other but we’re a bit like a big dysfunctional family who’ll help each other out when and if we can.
I shout a lot during some classes. Students should know that I always yell for a reason though. Most often it’s because someone – or several students – aren’t doing as they’ve been told to do and/or aren’t doing it as well as I know they could. If you come to a class then you come to learn, otherwise what’s the point, and I’m here to teach you. But it takes teamwork, communication and motivation from all of us to make it happen. If a student isn’t putting in enough effort or wants to stay in their comfort zone when everyone else is pushing themselves then I’ll let them know this won’t work. Equally, if I ask the class a question then I want to get a response from everyone – if I don’t then I won’t know if everyone’s happy with what we’re working on, if they understand the technique, the position etc.
I enjoy teaching because it’s when I learn things again, it’s like reading a book that you’ve read before but some chapters are written slightly differently than the last time you read it and every time you read the book it just improves and improves until it’s a masterpiece – that’s the product I see myself in the process of making.