Don’t be Afraid of Making your Students Better (Than You)


Normally in this newsletter I try to help you tap other people out, or at the very least make it more difficult for others to tap you out. This week’s advice will result in you getting tapped out MORE often, not less, but you’ll be a better grappler because of it.

Let me start with an example. Recently I taught a sparring partner a new choke to attack the half guard (the ‘Brabo’ choke). This guy is perfectly suited for the Brabo choke – strong like gorilla, long arms like chimp, smart like orangutan. If he ever catches anyone in this choke I bet they’ll be in a world of hurt.

I know for a fact that if he keeps on practicing this choke he WILL eventually catch me in it, despite the fact that he is only a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Will it suck to get caught in a choke I taught him myself? Certainly! The upside is that if he is always attacking me with the Brabo choke then my awareness of this submission, and counters to this submission, will improve tremendously. The bottom line is that I’d much prefer getting caught with this choke in class, sparring with a friend, than in a competition.

So give your students and sparring partners all the tools they need to kick your ass, counter all your techniques, pass your guard and shut down your game. This will force you to evolve as a grappler: you will develop new setups for your techniques, discover counters to their counters, and generally accelerate your game. Don’t get caught in the ego trap: accept ahead of time that you are going to get tapped out as a result of helping others, and rest secure in the knowledge that it will only improve your own game.

Happy New Year

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