Although Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, when compared to other types of martial arts, tends to be more relaxed and laid back, there still exits the culture of giving our instructors a deep level of respective and attention. But this doesn’t just apply to instructors, many high level competitors and world champions are afforded the same treatment as well, whether or not they are known personally.
This is not saying that they do not deserve this level of respect. The reason I am where I am today is because of my great instructors/role models who have taught me many lessons not just in Jiu-jitsu but life lessons as well. But at no point do I allow myself to blindly follow them, without keeping an open mind.
I want to clearly state this so there is no confusion or misinterpretation. I am not telling you to challenge and disrespectful your instructors or other individuals you are learning form. What I am saying is that you should listen, learn, but think it through to see if it makes sense or if its right for you.
Also, I don’t challenge what they may say because I perceive myself to be superior or due to arrogance. I do so because I am trying to consistently evolve and improve my game. Asking questions is not disrespectful nor is it a real challenge. It is merely a way to learn and get more information.
As Bruce Lee so wisely stated “Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own”. What I see with many students is that they try to apply what their instructors teach them movement by movement and word by word. What they fail to understand is that what may work for one type of person or body type, may not work with another. I use a lot of open guard, particularly spider guard. But I will never be able to use many of the open guard/spider guard techniques that someone like Leandro Lo uses due to our body type difference.
One individual may attack the arm bar from close guard with certain grips and movements where as another may approach the close guard arm bar completely different. The same techniques may vary but the basics remain the same. If you understand this concept, then you will be able to understand and adopt the techniques you are taught to fit your style very quickly.
So closing up this post, I want you to make sure to obey, respect, and listen your professor. If what they are teaching works for you, great! If not, make sure to at least have tried it, understand the basics of it and maybe come back to it another time. Remember, this post is a reminder that a student should never blindly follow every single thing they are told or taught (in general this should be a basic rule in life), not to give you cause to disrespect and/or disobey your instructor.