If you’re training Jiu-Jitsu for more than a year, you’ve surely been to at least one BJJ seminar. It doesn’t have to be a seminar that involves travel, it may just be something your Academy organizes as an annual thing. Whatever the case, seminars are fun, and everybody likes going to them. However, you don’t have to attend a “classic” BJJ seminar per se to get all the benefits. You could achieve all the benefits (and more) by having mini BJJ seminars take place in your academy. If you’re an academy owner, pay close attention.
One competition is worth one full year of training in terms of experience. Truer words have never been spoken about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Then again, not everyone likes to compete or competes. In fact, the majority of people that taint Jiu-Jitsu do not compete actively. Luckily there are also other ways of speeding up progress and learning. A BJJ seminar might not bring you as much in terms of experience as a competition but it will definitely broaden your perspectives, give you access to in-depth knowledge in creating areas an allow you to roll and train with different people than you’re used to. I’d say that earn a solid seminar the right to claim it is equivalent to about 6 months of training.
Anatomy Of A BJJ Seminar
How does a typical BJJ seminar look like? Who knows? There’s no typical format of a BJJ seminar. However, there is a certain structure that most seminars tend to revolve around. First things first, if the person teaching the seminar is a Brazilian, you can bet they’ll be late for the start. It is a pet peeve of BJJ seminars that all particularly enjoy and it does seem to be the case over and over again.
When it comes to seminars, if you’re expecting a lot of rolling, you’re probably in the wrong place. A Jiu-Jitsu seminar will last in excess of several hours, and it will be so filled with information that your head will probably be buzzing at the end. This is exactly why seminars usually revolve around a specific topic. If a seminar went into a Q&A, with everyone asking different things, nobody would really learn something, Actually, the power of a BJJ seminar is in that you get to go deep into a very specific area of Jiu-Jitsu for hours, most often with an expert in that field or an overall superstar of Jiu-Jitsu.
Longer seminars tend to have blocks of learning and trying stuff out, with the odd round of two of light rolling dispersed in between is important to know that seminars are not just giant open mats to train competitively, but rather learning opportunities. If you’re at a Roger Gracie seminar, it is wiser to listen to him and try the stuff he’s demonstrating rather than trying to murder training partners with the moves you usually do.
Speaking of material, if a seminar is not recorded, it is wise to write stuff down as it takes place. Use whatever technique you want, writing, drawing, using shortcuts, but make sure to put stuff down. And not just the things that whoever is teaching says and does, but also any questions you might have after you try them out. Those notes will provide you with a ton of material to work for months at your own Academy. And that is another reason why seminars help speed up your Jiu-Jitsu progress so much.
The Concept of The Mini BJJ Seminar
The thing about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminars is that they tend to be few (in certain areas of the world). Moreover, they’re usually not cheap, depending on who is teaching. If you factor in travel and accommodation it tends to add up in terms of cost, sometimes even more than a competition would. That’s where local seminars come into play. But not just regular type seminars but rather an interesting and underused concept. Have you ever heard of a mini BJJ seminar?
A mini-seminar is something you organize in your own gym. Moreover, it is something that doesn’t require a black belt, or a world champion in order to set up. It does, however, take an expert in a field of BJJ, regardless of their overall training experience. Luckily, given that everyone has their favorite moves and distinct styles, this is not too hard to come by. In fact, any purple belt will already have several favorites that they’ve spent years working on. Why not put knowledge like that to a good test?
Here’s’ how a min BJJ seminar works. You get someone in an academy, preferably other than the instructor’s that are usually teaching the classes. For example, let’s say you’ve got a purple belt who is an expert in guillotines. You give him the task of organizing all his knowledge in a seminar-style. The duration can be anywhere from a couple of hours to 5 hours or more. You then make the seminar open to everyone from the gym, for a very nominal fee. There’s a reason why there is a fee, and I’ll make it clear later on.
The trick with mini seminars like this is to organize them at the right frequency. One a month, or even a bi-monthly seminar is all it takes. People won’t get fed up with them, they’re more than affordable and people still get to learn specific subjects from experts (or experts in the making0 in a certain area. A win-win scenario for everyone involved.
What Are The Benefits?
A mini BJJ seminar benefits everyone involved in it. For starters, everyone that is attending will get to learn something new. And that includes the instructors that usually teach. As an instructor, this is a part of mini-seminars I particularly enjoy. For example, getting to learn the ins and outs of the worm guard from a student that has been practicing it relentlessly for the past there years opened my eyes to plenty of interesting opportunities. I can only imagine how much everyone else is learning from this setup.
Next up it benefits the person doing the seminar. First of all, they get to sit down and plan a seminar. While not everyone is cut out for teaching, most people end up as instructors or coaches eventually. This is a great way to expose them to the whole teaching experience and help them get ready early on. Moreover, they get to experience the sweet feeling of earning at least a few bucks from the experience. In my academy, all the fees go to the person that held the seminar. It is a small token of appreciation, but people do receive it extremely positively and get motivated to train even more.
Finally, the entire academy benefits from having a BJJ seminar on a monthly basis. Apart from needing next to no logistics to pull one-off, and no traveling, it is great marketing for the academy. Organizing such in-house small seminars will quickly lift the Academy’s level to a whole new dimension. Plus, it tends to draw in other new members, whether they’re brand new to BJJ or people with experience that like what’s going on. As I said, a win-win scenario.
To be completely honest, you can’t expect a mini BJJ seminar to replace a full-blown seminar with the likes of John Danaher or Bernardo Faria. However, those types of seminars do happen rarely and require a lot of planning, especially if you’re the one organizing them. Mini seminar on the other hand costs nothing, you can fit them in any weekend when there’s not a class on the schedule and everyone gets to learn and enjoy a new experience. It’s what BJJ is all about anyway, right?