Why Don’t BJJ Students Ask Questions?

Photo courtesy of Adem Redzovic

I have observed a pattern in BJJ classes and numerous seminars over the years: most BJJ students are afraid to ask questions!

Here are a few examples:

I was at a seminar with a high level black belt who had an affiliate academy in my city. The black belt would visit the affiliate academy twice per year to run seminars and grade the students.

He would always allow time for questions at the end of the seminar to discuss whatever topic of jiu-jitsu students wanted to discuss.

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“Does anyone have any questions?” he would ask.

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The room would go uncomfortably silent. Somewhere in the distance a dog barked. People stared at the floor. They shifted nervously from foot to foot. No one had a question.

Wait a minute! Your school sees your head instructor every six months, and you can’t think of a single question to ask???

I started jiu-jitsu at an academy with a fifth-degree black belt from Carlson Gracie. The man was a veritable encyclopedia of jiu-jitsu!

He would begin each class by asking if students had any questions about their training.

Like the aforementioned seminar, the room would go silent.

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However, I would stick up my hand and ask about how I got tapped the previous class, how my guard got passed, or what he thought of a position that we saw in last weekend’s UFC?

This is how I learned the majority of my jiu-jitsu from the instructor. I encountered problems in my training and I asked questions. Question by question, I built my jiu-jitsu game.

Ask your instructor questions about what is happening in your rolls. He wants to help you!

One of my friends told me most people are afraid to ask a stupid question.

My response would be that questions are merely a reflection of your current experience level. What is obvious to you now was not when you first started, so just ask!

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The next roll you have, observe what worked and what didn’t go so well, then ask your instructor. He holds a wealth of experience and technical knowledge. All you need to do is ask.

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