I’m a believer in taking private lessons with instructors, especially those that you don’t get to train with on a regular basis. And I’ve taken my share of privates; some were great, but others were real stinkers. I’ll get into real trouble if I mention names, but here are some of the reasons why I should have taken my money and given it to charity instead:
First, there are some great competitors who are just plain crappy instructors. Would you rather learn boxing from Mike Tyson or Angelo Dundee? If the person can’t string two coherent sentences together then you may not want to throw them $100, $200 or $300 for a private lesson.
Another problem occurs when you have a great teacher who doesn’t want to show ‘the good stuff’ to people outside of their school or from another team. They might show you some techniques (and accept your money), but they’ll ‘forget’ the details and concepts that really make those technique work against a good opponent. Try to figure out if this is going to be an issue ahead of time.
Finally, every instructor has his or her specialties, and sometimes you can get into trouble if you try to get them to teach you a topic that they don’t really understand themselves.
Let’s say that you really wanted to learn about the Spider Guard (pictured on the right), and let’s say that I had the time to teach privates (which I don’t).
If you wanted me to teach you about the Spider Guard I’d probably give you your money back and send you to someone else. The Spider Guard is NOT my guard! Sure, I know the basics of that position, and I have a couple of moves that work well for me, but as far showing you the details that really make that position tick – forget it!