Be Honest in Your Training

Over the past thirty-eight years, I’ve observed a perse range of attitudes among students attending my Jiu Jitsu classes. Here’s a brief overview of the motivations I’ve encountered:

1. Learning Enthusiasts: Students who come to class primarily to learn, focusing intently on either absorbing knowledge or learning/trying something new.

2. Skill Developers: Inpiduals dedicated to honing specific skills within the discipline. When the instructor asks them to practice, they remain focused on what their instructor has taught them! Those intent on practicing 500 repetitions and waiting for the instructor to interrupt their practice.

3. Entertainment Seekers: Those attending class for enjoyment, treat each session as a fun persion from their normal life. Those who practice 5 to 10 reps and then chit-chat until the instructor shows them something new.

4. Socializers: Participants who use the class as an opportunity to socialize. Those who find creative ways to verbally interact with those around them.

5. Escapists: Inpiduals looking to get out of the house and into a different environment. These are people trying hard to escape from work and/or home life even if only for a couple of hours.

6. Competitors: Those who bring a competitive edge to their training. To them, everything represents an opportunity to compete!

7. Stress Relievers: Students who use the physical activity of the class to relieve the stress they have in their lives. They oftentimes have a “BROmance” with violence, realism, and/or competitiveness.

8. Fitness Buffs: Participants focused on the workout aspect of training. They use each session as an opportunity to improve their fitness.

9. Communal and Enjoyment minded: Those just trying to have fun and make sure those around them have fun! These are some of the most enjoyable people to work with!

10. Mix and Matchers: Students with a combination of the above motivations, often with their focuses shifting from month to month, week to week, and class to class.

It’s important for the safety and fairness of the group that if you are not attending with the primary intent to learn or develop skills, you should communicate your goals to your training partners. Martial arts training can lead to injury if everyone is not on the same mental page.

Illustrative Examples

Example One:

Joe attends class to relieve stress, wanting to convert every practice into a competitive sparring match. Tim, unaware of Joe’s mindset, is frustrated by Joe’s constant resistance. This misunderstanding leads to an accident where Joe is injured, and Tim feels guilty. This situation highlights the potential for miscommunication and injury.

Example Two:

Joe, nursing an injured elbow, attends class with a mindset of retribution rather than healing. He conceals his injury and engages vigorously with a larger opponent, which results in further injury. This example underlines the importance of honesty about one’s physical condition.

Example Three:

Alex arrives at a kickboxing class upset from personal issues and escalates a light sparring session into a full-blown fight, resulting in injury. This scenario shows how external stress can affect safety in training.

Advice for a Safer Training Environment:

If your mental and emotional state isn’t aligned with a collaborative training environment, it’s crucial to be transparent with your instructor and peers. This transparency helps maintain a safe training space and ensures the well-being of all participants.

Invitation to Instructors:

If you are an instructor or aspiring to be one, I encourage you to consider taking one of my instructor courses. Proper certification and training in managing group dynamics, first aid, and CPR are critical, not just for day-to-day management but also for legal and professional credibility. Questions about your qualifications and professional development may arise, especially following any incidents that involved injuries.

Should you be interested in enhancing your teaching skills or discussing professional development, please reach out to me at Whether you’re looking to refine your current approach or expand your qualifications, I’m here to help guide you through your instructional journey.


Roy Harris

P.S. Do you have questions or comments about this post? Let me know in the comments below, by sending me an email, or by clicking on the social media icon above and writing to me there!

Copyright © 2024 Roy Harris. All Rights Reserved.

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