Ask the Wise Grappler:
“I am at a great school with great instruction. I’ve been training
for about three years and been a blue belt for over two years now.
I train almost entirely gi only. I just do not enjoy no-gi and judo
kills my body. I also do not do tournaments. This said, the things
I “do not do” seem to be getting me over looked and at times
belittled. I understand the school’s future is in those who win and
bring attention to the school. But I train five to six times a
week, do drills on my home mat on the side and sweat and work just
as hard as anyone else in the school, any advice on how to handle
my situation? Is this something I just accept and keep working hard
towards my eventual goal of a black belt or is this something that
will hamper me my entire grappling journey?
The Wise Grappler writes:
Let me see if I got this straight: you’ve been training gi
grappling primarily for 3 yrs, train 5-6 days a week, do drills at
home and, in spite of that, get overlooked or occasionally
belittled because you don’t like judo, no-gi grappling or don’t
compete. And you’re wondering if something’s wrong with you or if
I have some advice for you, right?
No OG, there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with you or the way you
feel and I do have some advice for you… you’re training at the
wrong school and need to start looking for another one without
feeling guilty because you’ve been there for 3 years!
From the way you’ve described yourself, you sound like the ideal
student that every martial arts instructor that’s trying to run a
successful martial arts school wants in their academy.
What you’re NOT is the ideal student for an instructor that’s only
interested in building their overall school success through
competitions and their competition team.
Personally, I don’t think it’s a wise business decision to try to
force people that love to train (like you), but have no desire in
competing into doing something they don’t want to do. Competition
isn’t for everyone and NOT a requirement for being a good grappler.
But it happens all the time and your instructor has the right to run
their school the way they see fit.
To them, you’re probably viewed as “wasted talent” because you are
so dedicated (but won’t buy into the competition game) or a wimp
because you’re “too scared” to go out there and do what they think
you should do.
Either way, it really doesn’t matter what they think because you’re
a grown man capable of making your own decisions and don’t have to
justify it to anyone like you’re a child. You can’t change what
they want their students to do, but you can change whether you stay
there or not and give them your money since you’re paying for a
And as far as just accepting it and working through it, that’s
crazy! If you could’ve accepted and worked through it after 3 yrs
of being in that environment, you wouldn’t be asking me this
question, right? Even if your instructor saved you and your entire
family from some calamity and you felt you owed them your loyalty,
that’s no reason for you to stay in an environment where you have
to put up with crap because that’s the way it’s “supposed” to be.
You wouldn’t continue to go to a restaurant and pay for bad food
where the staff occasionally disrespected you. Why allow it to
happen because it’s a grappling school?
You already knew the answer before you asked me the question. So,
start looking for a new school and don’t worry about what anyone
thinks about your decision. There are plenty of good schools out
there where you can learn and not be made to feel like a punk for
training with your agenda in mind, not theirs.