Are you in the habit of taking private Jiu Jitsu lessons from coaches in your gym? If not, you are missing out on a great and unique opportunity to learn the Jiu Jitsu you individually need to grow and become better at the sport.
Private lessons are an incredibly valuable and irreplaceable learning tool for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Let’s explore the benefits of this amazing learning tool and see how private classes can help improve your game!
Types of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not like any other martial art out there. As such, if we teach BJJ as other martial arts are often taught, we’d actually be doing people a disservice. However, this also means there’s no unified method of teaching BJJ, which is exactly why there’s so much inconsistency in terms of class organization.
A few types of BJJ classes that are more or less the foundation of any academy are:
- Group Classes (often divided into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)
- Open Mats
- Drill Classes
However, there are also other types of classes that, while different from those gold standard classes we all know of, are invaluable for learning.
Question and answer classes, competition classes, and semi-private, and private Jiu Jitsu lessons are just a few of the different BJJ classes that should be on every academy’s curriculum.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying that students would benefit from theoretical workshops classes and match analysis classes, but for now, I won’t push it, and I’ll just keep those on my academy’s curriculum!
As a Jiu Jitsu coach, I put long hours into planning classes and forming curriculums. I particularly tend to point my students towards group classes, competition training, and private Jiu Jitsu lessons as the holy trinity of learning BJJ.
Who Can/Should Teach BJJ Private Lessons?
Jiu Jitsu private lessons are training sessions where you work one-on-one with a qualified coach or instructor. Now, while I hold the belief that belts don’t matter too much when it comes to teaching BJJ, I maintain the stance that only experienced grapplers should offer private lessons.
The reason for this is that you can learn an incredible amount in just a few private lessons, but only if the person teaching you knows what they’re doing. Given the high-focus, low-stress environment of private Jiu Jitsu lessons, an unqualified person can teach you things that turn into bad habits that will be next to impossible to weed out further down the road.
So, first and foremost, make sure the person whose private lessons you’re looking to take is qualified and experienced! While there are undeniably purple and brown belts who have the skills to teach private lessons, if you are new to the sport you might not be able to tell who is and is not qualified. Go with a black belt and most of the time you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
The Benefits of Private Jiu Jitsu Lessons
There are many reasons why Jiu Jitsu privates are a very important learning tool for anyone involved in grappling.
#1. You Decide the Subject Matter
You get to spend an hour (or more) working on a subject of your choosing. That said, make sure that you choose something that you can actually use rather than going in and asking a coach to teach you Imanari rolls on your second week of BJJ training.
The possibilities that private lessons offer are plentiful. You don’t just have to ask for the latest craze. Ask for instruction on a position, a submission, or a concept. Ask how you can solve that one person’s trick move that gets you every time. Ask how to improve your favorite guard pass, or add more sweeps to your favorite guard that you play.
Note: To get the most out of your private lesson it is best to let your instructor know what you’d like to cover in advance. Even highly skilled black belts benefit from having some time to process your questions.
#2. You Get the Undivided Attention of the Coach
In a private lesson, you are the sole focus of the coach. That means that you will be able to get details and insights that a coach cannot offer during a group class. An hour of private lessons can provide depth that a month of group classes might not reach.
Because so much information is given in a private, it is highly recommended that you take notes! A knowledgeable coach is not going to hold back during a private, as we tend to value the opportunity to teach someone who has booked one very much.
#3. You Get to Build Your Game
If you are a competitor or aspiring to be one, turning to private lessons will provide you with an invaluable opportunity to develop a game tailor-made for you.
You won’t just learn moves in private Jiu Jitsu lessons, but can also develop strategies, talk tactics, plug holes in your game and make sure you get the most out of your best moves. Also, you will get the chance to develop backups to your A-game, which is extremely useful and cannot easily be done in a group class setting, even if it is a specialized competition class.
#4. You Get Lightbulb Moments
These are the moments we’re all after in Jiu Jitsu, despite how rare they are in practice. Private lessons will ensure you get more of these Eureka moments, and you will also get the expert guidance to connect them to one another, thus helping you to understand the never ceasing streams of information inside the Jiu Jitsu matrix much better.
#5. You Get “Exclusive” Rolls
This one is a big one. As a Jiu Jitsu coach myself, I can tell you that we don’t take rolls that happen during private lessons lightly. Rolling with a student that schedules a private should be about that student, not about the coach’s ability to tap someone a dozen times in a roll.
Rolling during a private lesson is a teaching roll, one that is intended to take the student to the next level and help them grow. Do not expect a tough competition-style all-out roll with a coach just because you’ve scheduled a private. Instead, expect that you’ll be taught a lot during that roll, most likely about the subject matter of the private class itself.
#6. You Learn a Lot Even if You Can’t Make It to Group Classes
For those that lead busy lifestyles and cannot make it to regular classes, privates are a reliable way to ensure you’re progressing in Jiu Jitsu. A private lesson can have the same worth as a month of training. A few privates a month will have you progressing as fast as other students that visit group classes and even faster.
If you’re ever in a tight spot in terms of time for training, privates are the best way forward.
Are BJJ Private Lessons Too Expensive?
A very common complaint I hear is that private Jiu Jitsu lessons are too expensive. Well, as valuable as they are to you, they also require a lot from the coach. Remember that the coach also has group classes to teach as well as other private lessons. Moreover, they have spent decades accumulating the knowledge they are sharing with you.
Add to that the rigors of rolling and the fact that everyone has a number of rolls they cannot exceed in their life, and a coach is basically lending you their body to help you learn, you cannot expect the price for such a class to be purely symbolic.
I agree that some people tend to inflate their prices, but for the most part, I think private lesson prices in the world of BJJ are fair, and you should think about what you’re really getting for your money when you start wondering whether BJJ privates are worth it.
Private Jiu Jitsu lessons are an essential learning tool for grapplers. They are invaluable in giving you one-on-one time with a coach in order to help you understand BJJ better and develop a highly functioning individual game. They are a great investment into your development as a grappler that cannot be substituted by any other type of class.
Ogi is a black belt that does Jiu Jitsu full time and is very passionate about anything grappling-related.
He is also the head coach of Enso Jiu Jitsu in Macedonia and an aspiring Globetrotter.