Jiu-Jitsu Letter

You Never Know

Several years ago, I moved to be closer to Gracie Academy. The school has since moved and been renamed to Gracie University, but my teacher is still teaching there. The motivation was my teacher at the time was not teaching me and I wanted to get closer to the source. The thought was that I’d take classes taught by Ryron or Rener Gracie, but what happened was I ended up mostly taking classes taught by Alex Stuart.

I took a private lesson from him. I learned he was teaching an unlisted 7am class twice a week. I asked if I could attend. I started going to that, and I started weekly private lessons. (I continue with him today.)

I was thinking this week, what if that class was taught by someone else? The teaching staff at Gracie Headquarters has shrunk a bit in recent years. What if that class was canceled because the instructor was someone who quit or got fired? I suppose I might gone to an evening class, but I liked getting my training done before going to work. Plus, the evening classes had a different energy that I wasn’t into.

If you have a good situation at your school, don’t take it for granted. You just never know what could happen.

And if the situation isn’t that good, maybe you should find another place to train. Because the point is to train forever, and you can’t do that if you don’t love the place you’re at.

As a school owner, I recognize that my school isn’t the right place for everyone. Just today, I got an email from a student who wanted to cancel. I’d actually had a feeling he was going to quit a few weeks ago. While it’s a bummer to have to replace that membership fee, it’d actually be worse to take his money knowing he wasn’t happy. I didn’t try to convince him to stay, and just let him leave.

A few years ago, I attended a belt ceremony at another school, and the school owner lectured his students, “The reason I keep you on a contract is because you don’t know what you need. Some of you want to quit, but since you can’t break the contract, you have to keep coming. So you keep training with me, and eventually, you’re happy you did.”

I don’t subscribe to that at all. I’m just a jiu-jitsu teacher. I’m not my students’ father, therapist, life guide, or whatever. I know just a tiny percentage of who my students are and what they’re going through. Your teacher also knows just as little.

Subscribe to the newsletter to get updates in your inbox.