Dance with who brought you

Loyalty, trust and respect are often talked about in martial arts. The student / teacher dynamic can be tricky to navigate 

There's a certain mindset left over from traditional martial arts that skews the balance very much in favour of the teacher, claiming that the teacher deserves respect, regardless of their actions, that the student owes loyalty, regardless of their own fulfillment. There is a sense that the teacher is somehow doing the student a favour by allowing them to attend the school, and the student must obey without question.

Martial arts are really the only area where this mindset arises. 

In reality, trust,  loyalty, and respect are a two way street. Freely given from both sides, not demanded.

The teacher should be interested in, and invested in the success of, every student. The student should be committed to learning and improving, and trust the teacher enough to take their advice. The teacher should commit to being trustworthy, to provide good instruction, and to make sure their student's needs are being met. You should be more than just a face on the mat to your instructor.

A relationship like this takes work, from both sides. Just like a marriage, it grows and develops over time, through shared experience. It can't be forced, and must develop organically. 

All this is in my head because I was recently promoted to purple belt by my mentor in the 10th Planet System, Jeremy Fields. Jeremy has been behind me all through my journey in the 10th Planet System. He took a chance on me that could have blown up in his face. He trusted me, believed in me, and encouraged me to take the plunge, because he's invested in my success and my development. That's trust, loyalty, and respect. It's a gift, unasked for, that I'll hopefully be able to repay someday.

What to expect in your first class

Starting a new activity can be a stressful time. Here's a little information to make the transition a bit easier.

  • A typical class will start with a warmup of some sort, around five or ten minutes. Then we will learn and drill two or three related techniques for twenty to thirty mins. Finally, we use the remaining time to run live drills, based off the techniques we learned, against resisting partners. 

 

  • You are not expected to know anything. As a beginner, you just need to turn up with an open mind, ready to put in some effort.

 

  • You will feel confused. This is normal. Like learning a new language, you have some memorisation to do before you will become fluent enough to hold a conversation.

 

  • You will be uncomfortable at certain points. This is normal. Remember you can tap at any point, for any reason, and your partner will stop. 

 

  • You will be partnered up with more experienced people. They will do things that seem like magic to you. This is normal. If you train hard for long enough, you too will learn to be magical.

 

  • Jiu Jitsu is a martial art for the small person, designed to use leverage to overcome physical advantages. As a beginner, you will be handled by people half your size and weight. This is normal, don't be discouraged, it just means Jiu Jitsu works as promised. 

 

  • Everyone there is usually pretty cool. Everyone there has started from the beginning, just like you. The only difference is training time. Introduce yourself, make friends, train hard, have fun.