“1,2,3 Oss!! I yell as all my morning class claps at the same time… Partner Up! Lets Get it!! You see everyone hurry to position as the buzzer sounds the beginning of the rounds….That’s me Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I teach a Basics and Fundamentals class from 6-7:30 a.m. and I absolutely love it. There is a Great Satisfaction I receive from teaching, seeing their progression as they travel thru the ranks is truly amazing. Watching them hit that technique yall have been drilling the crap out of in a live roll is a very satisfying and proud moment. I’ve compared it closely to watching your kids take their first steps… All the time you took holding their hands, guiding their feet, all the verbal encouragement, seeing them try and fail. It’s all part of the process. But one day, all the stars align. They had some great sleep, woke up had some great food, they remembered how to tie their belts with the bar on the correct side, and in class while they are rolling, you see it. The Light Switch Turned On!!! Suddenly they have the answers for the positions plaguing them. They are flowing beautifully, and they hit that technique yall have been working. The Expressions on their faces, the Wide Eyed, Ear to Ear Smile, the confidence they gain in themselves.. That’s what its all about.
But just like a Coin… They’re 2 sides to the story. When does the Teacher become the Student? How does the Teacher Advance him or herself if they have no one to push their limits and skills? How the heck are you going to do that while still having a Full Time Job and Wife and Kids!!?!? I know right.. This was just one of the issues I had when I started teaching. How did I do it you ask?? Let’s get right in to it. I am embarking on my 8th year of training Brazilian JiuJitsu, I am currently a Brown Belt Under Professor Bryan Evans and Professor Rafael Lovato Jr. here at Austin Submission Fighting in Austin, Texas. We are a small school of 60-65 active students which for the most part, train in the evening. Professor Evans has a Full Time Job just like everyone else while running the Academy 6 days a week. That being said, we had no morning classes at the time, that is until that little thing called life came knocking.. My Full Time Job happens to be Welding. I am a Welder and Fabricator at a Fab Shop that is very productive. Being how we are busy they decided to add a 2nd shift and I was heading it up.. WooWhoo!! Booo!!!! How would I train? I’m not Switching Schools! No Way! Creonté, Not Me.. In Comes Professor.. Why don’t you just open the Academy in the Morning? Run a class, still get to train a little and still give you time to hit an Open Mat elsewhere if needed.. BOOM…DONE…. I have been teaching in place of Professor in his absence since I was a 3 strip Blue Belt anyway, so teaching the class was no biggie. I always received positive feedback from my peers on my teaching skills, so now, the opportunity presented itself and I accepted graciously.
3 months in to working nights and teaching days. I have only managed to attend 4 classes taught by Professor Evans since i began, and I get the crazy notion that I want to compete.. I am an Avid Competitor and Pro. 2x Veteran of Both F2W and Texas Submission Hunter. Im no Marcelo but I can definitely hold my own. That being said. There was a Local Tourney coming so I registered. Had 5 matches and Lost Every Single One. Now, everyone has different excuses as to why this and why i didn’t win. I’ve been in this game long enough to know where to look. Film. I felt slow. My mind was sharp! Knew what to do at every moment. But when the body doesn’t respond as it should, holes are left and filled quickly by your opponent and then you get caught. A Competitor needs to train with other competitors with similar mindsets and skill level, if not better!! Drilling and rolling and battling your peers. Fighting thru those 10 min rounds when you are just utterly exhausted.. That’s where warriors are made. Or so I thought. Now that I had the answer, how do I get that quality of training when I can’t attend the evening classes? The Answer has been in front of me the entire time…
I failed to realize something… I wasn’t the only person facing this problem. You see, Professor has been dealing with the same issue since the beginning. How does Professor get better without the help of other Black Belts to push him?? The answer is .. Us.. Just like Fingerprints no 2 peoples JiuJitsu is the same. Everyone has Strengths and Weaknesses. You see, that’s beauty of Brazilian JiuJitsu. Everyone has something to bring to the table. Tough Guards to pass, heavy pressure passers, crazy flexibility. You have to find what they are good at and use their skills to improve your own! Put yourself in Bad Positions against their Best Positions. No Ego Remember. You might get caught, it happens. But you are learning and Advancing your skills using the tools you have. As they continue to progress and get better, they too will have more tools to help push you to your next level.
In conclusion, its been a year since I’ve been working nights and teaching during the day. My guys have gone from beginner White Belts to Yellow Belts! As their skills have grown, so have mine. I was 3 stripe Purple Belt when I first started teaching. As I stated earlier, I am now a Brown. My guys in the morning have a lot to do with my progression and promotion. I was able to pin point their strengths and use them. I would force myself in some tough spots and figured out the puzzles all while still teaching them to improve their games. Now, The Teacher Becomes The Student Every day. As I teach them, I too have been learning to improve my game.. Absolutely love it.. See yall on the mats.. Oss.