Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Small Private Exclusive Group Class

The easiest way to truly master Jiu-Jitsu is through small, private, exclusive group classes. A small private group class is a martial arts class consisting of only 4-6 members that meets at a regularly scheduled time each week. It is exclusive because no one else is allowed to train in the class other than the limited members of that group. This is unlike the large classes found in the big martial arts academies where there almost seems to be a revolving door letting new students in as the old ones leave.

A small, private, exclusive group class functions very similar to a private lesson. The difference being that the cost of the private lesson is distributed among the members of the group making it more affordable. The small, private, exclusive group class will behave similar to a private lesson in that the content of each class is determined by the needs and desires of the members of the group. Similar to a private lesson there is a lot of hands on coaching, personal attention and focus given from the instructor to each person.

Here are some of the many benefits of training in the martial arts this way;

  • In a smaller, private, group setting there is far less competitive pressure enabling you to become free to make mistakes, learn and develop your game.

  • Fewer people in the exclusive group classes allows for more focus and attention on you. In the overly crowded classes of 15 - 20 people you can not get the attention from your coach that you need.

  • In a small private setting it is easier to pick-up the nuances that make the art of Jiu-Jitsu work. In a large class by the time everyone gets the general technique down there is very little room left to dive into the finer points of each movement.

  • Small group classes of 4-6 dedicated members enable everyone to keep the best interest of the entire group at heart. As your other class members focus on improving your game as much as their own everyone gets better.

  • No longer do you have to deal with the random people who show up from time to time. These people always tend to have only their own self interests in mind. The majority of them are really only concerned with finding out who in the class they can or can't beat.

  • Most Jiu-Jitsu programs I have observed running large classes in big gyms seem to always produce a few super athletes that win a lot of competitions. I have never found this to be very impressive. However I have been impressed with the many smaller size Jiu-Jitsu programs I have observed where in the entire group of people training together are improving and getting better on a consistent, on going basis, year after year.

  • It is is much easier to consistently raise the skill level of the entire group when that group is comprised of a limited number of highly dedicated members. In the large group classes commonly it is only the most athletically gifted that seem to do well while everyone else flounders aimlessly.

  • In the large hyper-competitive class setting you will only grow and develop as far as your natural athletic ability will allow you too. Once you hit that ceiling progression either stops completely or slows dramatically. In the small, private, group one can truly learn the art and easily continue to progress and develop far beyond ones natural athleticism.

  • The small group class allows each and every class to be tailor made to the specific needs and demands of the few exclusive members of that group. Versus the large group class where everything is either tailored for the few super athletes who are actively competing or the instruction follows a standardized curriculum designed for a large population without each individual taken into consideration.

  • Fewer injuries are prevalent in the small group class. Because the small, private, group class is exclusive those people who often train too hard, hurt others and are always trying to win at the expense of their training partners health are excluded. This alone dramatically decreases the chance of injury.
There is some Mythology concerning large group classes. Primarily that you need to train in a large Jiu-Jitsu program with lots of members so that you will be exposed to many different opponents who can challenge your game. This philosophy while it may seem logical is completely false.

First it is just as easy to challenge your game in a small private group as it is in a large class. If anything your game is better challenged in the small private group as you get more time on the mat, less waiting and less sitting around. If anything the larger classes seem to slow everyone down more than speed them up.

Second quantity does not equal quality. Most of the time majority of the members of the large classes suck while there is a hand full of members in the same large class that are really good. The few really good classes members always seem to have formed almost what I would call an elite inner circle. Everyone who sucks is training hard trying to be included with that elite inner group of guys that are really good.

Although you may be training in a class with 20 + people realistically only a handful of them will be any good for you to train with anyway. The vast majority of them will be a waste of your time. It is more beneficial to train consistently with four or five really good training partners who have been carefully selected than with 10 agro white belts and bunch of blue belts who are trying to break in to the elite circle of purple and brown belts found in the class.

Finally there are many ways you can still challenge your self against lots of different opponents should you feel the need to in a small, private, exclusive group class. You can get together with members of another group and train from time to time. You can go and visit another school for an open mat session or you can simply enter a competition and compete.

I began training in a small private group class with my Jiu-Jitsu coach Chris Haueter several years ago. Since I began training this way my skill level and also my overall enjoyment of Jiu-Jitsu as increased exponentially. It is so fun to be able to train with the 3-4 members of our group each and every week and help each other get better class after class.

Another huge advocate for small, private group classes is Rigan Machado BJJ Black Belt and Founder of the Crazy Monkey Defense Program Rodney King. In fact all of Rodney's gyms in South Africa only offer small, private, exclusive group classes.

Currently at our Martial Arts Life Studio in Carlsbad all of our classes are small, private, exclusive classes. If you are interested in learning martial arts this way and live in the San Diego area you can learn more about our program at

1 comment:

Cherry said...

This is great info to know.