Do You Really Want to Spend Money on that Seminar?

By Joshua Rozenboom

Imagine this: your professor announces that an awesome black belt who’s name you may or may not know is coming to your school for a seminar, and you’re being “volun-told” to show up and support it, but it’s going to cost money. Or imagine one of your favorite world champion heroes is flying in from Brazil, but he wants HOW MUCH?! Why should you spend the money to learn from these guys, when you already pay to learn from the instructors at your school?

It is a valid question, but if you feel like you need more convincing than “it helps you get better at Jiu Jitsu”, here are a few reasons why seminars are valuable tools:

1.     You will always walk away with something new. On average, a seminar from an experienced black belt runs two to three hours, and occasionally consecutive days. That’s a lot of information to absorb, and depending on the teaching ability of your guest instructor, it may seem impossible to retain it all. So… don’t! Pay close attention and take notes, but know that if only one or two details stick in your brain and make their way into practice, you’ve gotten your money’s worth. You will find that most high-level players teach fundamental techniques that they have adapted and perfected over years of practice and competition, and one person’s unique detail could be a total game-changer. He or she may show one tiny thing that significantly improves your understanding of a position.

2.     You will get exposure to another world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Arizona is home to a fantastic Jiu Jitsu community. High-level Jiu Jitsu is taught all over the Valley, and every school has instructors and students who are masters of the art. Regardless, one really cool thing about seminars is that they allow us to learn from another perspective. While many instructors are peers and probably long-time associates of your professor, they have been asked to come to your school because they have something different to offer. And here’s a secret: your professor is likely just as excited to learn from them as you are!

3.     You will get the same instruction from a different perspective. Seeing or hearing about your favorite techniques through a different lens is a valuable experience. Some black belts, famous or not, are natural, effective teachers. Some are world champions, even legends of the sport, and may have signature moves that everyone asks about (“Roger Gracie Cross-Collar Choke”, anyone?) Whether conceptual or analytical, the instructor leading your seminar might have a teaching style that matches how you learn and open your eyes to a new way of thinking about Jiu Jitsu.

4.     You are helping someone else! It takes a lot of time, money and sacrifice to achieve a black belt and compete at a high level, often resulting in opening an academy and passing the fruit of that hard work on to the next generation of students. Travelling and teaching seminars is one way of supporting themselves and their families, so it helps to give a little back to those who have dedicated themselves to this art we all love.

The truth is, while there are many reasons to attend seminars, the simplest reason is that it always pays to learn from different people. The more exposure you get to different Jiu Jitsu minds, the deeper your understanding of the game, pure and simple. So keep an eye out for seminars around town, be supportive of those who teach us, and get every piece you can from the ever-expanding universe of Jiu Jitsu knowledge. What are some other benefits of attending seminars? Let us know in the comments!