Monday, January 26, 2015

Never Drown The Man Who Teaches You to Swim.

“The Master should want the apprentice to surpass him but the apprentice should never forget who his master is. If those two things are understood the student should never have to leave.”
                                                                          - Keith Owen
Lately, I have been asked from different people across the country, “Is it ok to surpass your master?  Is it ok to be more famous than your master?  Is it ok to tap your instructor out if you can?”

I want to answer with a resounding, “it depends” to that question.  I can only speak to my Master and how he is.  Professor Pedro Sauer is one of the most technical Jiu-Jitsu instructors in the world but what’s more he is one of the greatest men of character I have ever met.  He recently told me that I needed to get more of my own “personal” affiliates, the only reason being that he wanted me to do better and have greater success. He knows I want to grow in Jiu-Jitsu and he wants to help.   Having a master of this caliber I cannot help but succeed!

Having said this, I am acutely aware of the saying, Never Outshine the Master.” Outshining your Master can lead to significant issues for some students. Many students get affiliated or involved with a particular master because of his or her ability as a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.  They think that just because he or she has won World Championships that he will make a fine instructor.  I will say that a person’s technical ability does play an important role in addressing the decision to join a school or organization however; I think it should only make up 50% of the equation.  The other 50% should focus on the character of the instructor. In the immortal words of the Templar Knight guarding the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, “Choose Wisely.”

The fragile ego of some masters just can’t handle their student outshining them and the jealousy issues will, over time, rear its ugly head. This can come from showing awesome moves to other students in class, gathering a large personal following online or even starting to tap out the master when they roll.   You must be careful and watch for these negative attributes in your instructor or you will pay.

The same can be said for a bad student whose only intention in the first place was to gather as much knowledge as he could and then take off to another; only to repeat the process. He is the one who is always making himself look good and never mentioning where he acquired his knowledge, like he was somehow born from the womb knowing how to do Jiu-Jitsu. The student might have honesty issues, sociopathic tendencies and even criminal leanings. That is why giving a BJJ black belt in ten years is a good thing for an instructor because they really get to know the character of the student in that time.  The student can’t hide their true selves for that long.

The problem of a student leaving boils down to either that master is angry because the student wants to set out and grow and he, as the instructor, can no longer CONTROL the former student’s actions or the former student no longer has USE for his tired, washed up master because he has learned all he can and now wants to cut ties. Both people will point to the other reason as to the departure. 

As many of you know I’m continuously giving ALL the credit to my Professor, always trying to make him more famous then myself. Not because he really needs it at all, he’s Pedro Sauer for god’s sake.  I do it to celebrate him.  It’s my way of thanking him.  If it weren’t for him…there would be no me.  I don’t forget that.

Professor Sauer has been instrumental in setting the example for me in this area.   I see Professor Sauer continuously giving praise to his instructors Rickson and Helio Gracie.  I don’t believe I have ever seen Professor teach when the subject of one of these two men didn’t come up sometime during his lecture. He cherishes them greatly!  In fact, Professor Sauer bought all of Helio Gracie’s personal household possessions because he feared that the great man’s belongings were going to get thrown out. He couldn’t bear to see that. He was loyal to the end.  

Do I want to be like my Professor?  Do I want to have as much knowledge as him?  Do I want to be successful like him?  Yes, and Professor knows this and wants to help me get there, not stop me!  I see my personal students and affiliates the same way.  I want only the best for them.  I WANT them to outshine me.  I expect them to go on to do great things.  I don’t want to hold them back.   They are like my children.  I take care of my children without any thought of being “paid back” in return. I don’t keep score.  I EXPECT them to grow and be successful.  I expect them to tap me out one day (good luck).  I didn’t spend all this time and effort to have them not excel.  If they excel past me then how could a father not be proud of that? I expect to be surrounded by great men and women.  It’s who I am.

Remember, as a student, always know your place and respect and celebrate your master.  Bring the master along with your success. You will want your students to do the same for you one day!   A student should thank God above for bringing this special instructor into their life that had such a remarkable influence on their progression.  In the words of Professor Sauer on loyalty, “Never drown the man who teaches you to swim.”  

I know I won’t. 

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Beyond Technique

There comes a time in every culture where we encounter a “paradigm shift” or a change in thinking on the way things are done.  This is happening now in the culture of Jiu-Jitsu with the video release of Beyond Technique by Black Belts Nic Gregoriades and Kit Dale.

Beyond Technique represents a shift for the better in Jiu-Jitsu videos from the days where instructors simply showed individual techniques to instructors highlighting Jiu-Jitsu theory.  This is the theory of how to do Jiu-Jitsu......better...... "overall" and not just with one static technique. 

Many of you know me as an instructor who has produced a number of videos on a wide variety of philosophical subjects ranging from how to be a better student to the CONCEPTS that everyone must know in Jiu-Jitsu.  At the risk of sounding egotistical I like to think of myself as a pioneer in this field.  Nic and Kit have done me one better and produced an entire video on the concepts that will make your Jiu-Jitsu easier and better and not just how to submit someone with the latest move or position.

In this video they cover such subjects as the “Porcupine” concept (one of my favorites) to "Size Specific Strategies" to the “Border Patrol” Idea.  All very effective and something I have put into my game. 

My only gripe is that it really left me wanting more.  You could really do volumes and volumes on this.   I hope they continue.  

*Please be aware that I am only endorsing this video and have not recieved any payment for this review or  royalties or profit on the sale of it.  In other words..I aint gettin paid in anyway...So go check it out!

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