Doing what’s best for my students is something that is continually on my mind. Every day, I try to go above and beyond what it takes to enhance my students understanding of BJJ or MMA. I am not a $20-dollar gym. We have 4 BJJ classes a day, and my prices reflect what I put in and what my students receive. I help my students to achieve their goals, and while I understand, some people want to do BJJ on a budget, if they never achieve their goals, they wasted their time and money.
It has become increasingly common that I will get the budget BJJers or guys from other teams who want to drop in once a week to cross train. They tell me, “I really love my team but want to work with someone with a different style.” I completely understand this thinking. I was so lucky at ATT because I had 20-30 real black belts’ brains to pick, and it’s why I still stay in contact with them, set up 2016 training visitors and continue to study. However, I recently polled my students, my team, asking them if they felt good about potential local competitors dropping in for a class and sharing in their lesson. The answer was a resounding “No, coach.” When students join an academy, they become part of a team, work hard together and invest a lot in each other. They develop bonds and loyalty.
I am the voice of my team, so while I don’t make all team decisions, I do speak for the team. This is my students’ school. They are putting in the work, and taking the lessons I teach seriously. Why should they share with their competitors? The betterment of the sport? I have plenty of competitor friends that I have not trained with. They have theirs; we have ours, and that’s ok. They work with what they have; we work with what we have, and we’ll meet on the competition mats.
So, I’ve come to the point where instead of making some extra money from visitors from local schools, I have turned them away. We respect members of the local BJJ community, and if at some point they choose to join us on a permanent basis, we would welcome them into the team. What we do requires commitment!
And BJJ practitioners from out of the area who are in Charleston on business or pleasure? That’s another story. We understand the BJJ jones. I welcome you and I’m sure that my team would welcome you too.