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Today I am going to address the question should beginner and advanced grapplers train in the same class. I received this question from Mike Check. He has a small jiu-jitsu academy. He wants to know how to make the classes beneficial for both the newer students and the more experienced grapplers.
In my opinion, it can be very difficult to find a balance when you teach newer and advanced students in the same class. You don’t want to bore the more experienced grapplers. Also, you don’t want to make it too difficult for the new students.
I really like the system that Fabio Gurgel uses at his Alliance Academy in Sao Paulo. Fabio uses a system that divides the classes. He has a beginners class for only the new students and a more advanced class for the experienced grapplers.
I don’t know what your teaching schedule is Mike, however, if you can divide your classes that would be great. For example, if your class is 2 hours then do 1 hour for beginners and the other hour for the more advanced grapplers.
In the beginners class I would allow the more experienced students to attend as well. I mention this because many times I see purple, brown, and black belts attending the Fundamentals 1 class under the Alliance system. The Fundamentals 1 class is for beginners. However, many higher belts like to attend this class. It allows them to train more and review the basics. I think it’s a good idea to review and refocus on the fundamentals no matter what your belt rank.
For these reasons, Mike, I really suggest you try to divide the classes. I think it would be more helpful for all your students. The new students can learn solid basics. I think your higher skilled students would be happy to attend a more basic class just to go over fundamentals they may have missed during their training. Also, higher level grapplers know their games well and they may be having problems with certain positions such as escaping from side control. Therefore, reviewing fundamentals can help a great deal.
The Alliance system has beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes. In the Fundamentals 1 class there is no sparring. It’s only techniques and drilling. This class combines a chain of techniques that the students connect with their partners. For example, one student does the torreando pass, to mount, and then to the armbar. Next, their partner escapes from the armbar and gets on top. The first student then escapes from the mount and the partner gets to his feet. Now he can start the entire sequence with his partner all over again. Therefore, each student connects the sequence of techniques. This is a great way to see how techniques come together and the students learn good fundamentals of jiu-jitsu. It’s just a rotation of the techniques in class.
After the students have 2 stripes they can attend classes where they roll. This usually takes 2-3 months. I think this is a great system because by this time the students have some skills when they spar. When students spar without fundamentals it can be overwhelming and there is a good chance they will get injured. More importantly, they will enjoy jiu-jitsu much more.

Here is the breakdown of the key points regarding should beginner and advanced grapplers train in the same class:

  1. I recommend that you try to divide the class. The first hour of class can focus on the fundamentals for beginners. I would also allow the more experienced students the opportunity to also attend this class. It’s a good chance for them to review the basics.
  2. The beginners class should focus on teaching the newer grapplers a solid foundation for jiu-jitsu. Let them work on a sequence of techniques.
  3. Let the new students learn the basics for 2 or 3 months before they roll. This will help them avoid injuries and enjoy jiu-jitsu more.
  4. The main goal of every instructor should be to help their students enjoy their jiu-jitsu journey.

I hope you enjoyed the video. Mike, I think your academy will soon grow and someday become a large academy. Thank you for your question. Oss.
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