Our best students are the ones you least expect.
When some of my best coaches and black belts started training with me, I didn’t look at them and think, “Here’s somebody who’s going to be a real beast on the mat one day.” In fact, I had my doubts about whether they would even come in for their next class.
Yet they turned out to be some of my best and most trusted students. The experience taught me to be less judgmental and give people the benefit of the doubt.
Students who train martial arts for fitness are no different. When they start training, maybe they’re not athletically inclined, but with hard work and consistency, they become amazing athletes.
At SBG we pride ourselves on having an environment for everybody. As long as they are eager students and good training partners, anybody is welcome on our mat.
Those students who start martial arts for fitness are more rewarding to coach than gifted athletes.
Coaching the Unusual Suspects
That’s not to say that we would turn away gifted athletes. It’s certainly much easier to take someone like that and get them to a high level of competition.
But for a whole host of reasons, people don’t find themselves on that end of the spectrum. They come to SBG with different motivations.
Maybe they want to be healthy enough to keep up with their kids. Maybe they battled a major illness like cancer and want to improve their quality of life. Whatever the reason, they are drawn to martial arts to get fit and have fun with a tribe who welcomes them.
It speaks volumes about your ability as a coach when you can take a martial arts student who isn’t naturally gifted with size, speed, strength, or youth and turn them into skilled athletes.
Most of all, it’s a reflection of our culture here at SBG.
Lean on Your Tribe
When someone starts martial arts for fitness, it’s not hard to imagine why they might feel intimidated by training BJJ for the first time. They’re trying something new and different. They want to know that they will fit in with the culture.
Most of our students started for the very same reason. That creates an environment, where everyone helps each other. We make room for different kinds of people and help them get to where they want to be.
It creates a helping hand kind of environment where everyone welcomes new members regardless of their abilities. When they see someone struggling, they go out of their way to encourage them and offer extra help.
Lean on your teammates. Celebrate their wins. This is SBG. You will be okay.