Instructors Should Encourage Students To Find Their Own Unique Grappling Style
Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter Cascao Vital. He runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.
As an instructor, we must realize that it is not about us anymore, it is about or students. We take on the role of coach and training partner, and its an interesting combination of roles. At one moment we are rolling or sparring with our students and playing our bread and butter game and in another we are exposing ourselves to see how they take advantage of the holes given. But one of the real challenges we have is developing their individual game that lays outside of our own style.
If you notice, black belts under well known legends of Rickson, Marcelo and Roger almost never have a style that mimics their coach. They may have some elements of their masters game, but it is a unique style all of their own. We always say there is not a one size fits all, so now it’s time to help develop our students own game. Here are a few easy strategies to help with this goal.
One obvious tactic is to make sure you teach techniques to your class that are not apart of your own game.
We never even use half of the moves we know while rolling for one reason or another so teaching a larger arsenal is not too challenging. It also helps to learn, practice and study techniques from other legit sources simply due to the fact that our art is always evolving and no one source has all the answers. You might be a Gracie school, but incorporating the 10th Planet half guard lockdown is a smart idea.
A second tactic is to have your students do defined positional sparring.
This goes beyond just start in guard and either pass or submit, instead be specific. The bottom guy can only play spider guard, the top guy can only play reverse Judo side control etc., this allows the students to get comfortable in a well rounded way and discover what they may like and dislike.
The last and most important thing for a coach to do is watch his student roll and spar with the other students and notice what techniques and positions they naturally gravitate towards.
Talk to them and figure out what style they want you to help them develop. Once you get this data, the two of you can start game planning and execute.
It’s a very satisfying moment when you are able to pass on your knowledge and develop your students skills and abilities. The challenge is developing them into their own best version, not your best version. Try these strategies out and watch the class’s diversity of styles blossom like a mountain full of wild flowers.