Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Mixed Martial Arts
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Here is a highlight video of Rob's private class with 9 time world champion Caio Terra. Caio has a reputation for being a bit... standoffish. Ok, some people straight up think he's a dick. However, after a few days training at CTA, our head instructor noticed that Caio simply seemed to take a bit of time to warm up to new people, and after that was exceedingly friendly and helpful, especially when you consider that Rob was only there for a couple of weeks and is not a CTA affiliate. Caio was generous with his time during the private class, telling Rob not to worry about the clock when he showed concern he was going to run out of time before all his questions were answered. Caio rolled with Rob in every group class he attended, and was very encouraging and congenial during those rolls.

Anyone who achieves excellence in any field does so because of immense dedication, and it has unfortunately been our experience here at Island Top Team that some people need to justify and rationalize their unwillingness to pursue excellence by labelling anyone who is actually good at BJJ, and honest about having no appreciation for poor quality jiujitsu, as a jerk. Hell, our head instructor has been called a jerk for suggesting that if someone wants to be good at jiujitsu, they should train with a champion black belt instead of a blue belt that has never even competed, or for mentioning that perhaps a notorious fraud might be unqualified to teach. When did we reach a point in our culture that proclaiming obvious truths became the defining characteristic of an asshole?

It was probably around the time that someone decided that everyone should get medals just for participating, and that no one should ever feel like they've failed. The problem with that of course, is that there is no success without failure, and that if everyone is a winner then no one is. Words either mean something or they don't. You can pretend all you want, but no amount of ad hominem can add any strength to your argument if you're terrible at something, and someone who is quite good at it remarks on this fact. This is even more important if you're terrible at something and are still finding a way to charge people for teaching it. Politeness in such cases only gets unaware customers fleeced, and as we have seen with the powerful camarederie and, alas, groupthink, fostered by most martial arts training, even discovering that you're being fleeced isn't enough to change most people's behavior. Like doomsday prophets who, when the world doesn't end on their foretold date, can go back to their followers and just say they forgot to carry the one, people who make a living providing suspect instruction can always rely on tribalism and us vs them mentality, which is hardwired into all of us, and just characterize highly skilled instructors as dicks, or disrespectful, or whatever irrelevant quality that shifts the narrative from competence vs incompetence, to good vs bad people. And of course your guy is good, you know him personally, and the other guy is bad, look at those bad things he says!

Of course this has nothing to do with the instructor in question actually being a bad person, and everything to do with cognitive dissonance. Once people get the feeling that the BJJ they are learning is a step (or a few steps) down from what's readily available, they experience cognitive dissonance, and most people don't react logically to dissonance. Instead of acting on the new information and changing their training, they vilify the source of the dissonance with spurious vituperative and call it a day, because that's the approach that doesn't require any change to be made and sadly, inertia is the most powerful force in human affairs.

Do you really want to learn a complex skill from an incompetent "nice guy"? Cool, prepare to spend a bunch of money to suck forever. Just whatever you do, don't train with the "jerk" who has devoted a lifetime to cultivating his craft and dedicates nearly every waking hour to improving himself and his students, because he might tell you your technique sucks, and so what if it's true, he's a dick, and your mommy told you that you're perfect the way you are and no one gets to talk to you like that!

Grow up people, no one is just one thing, look up fundamental attribution error, and when you're looking for a BJJ instructor, try to find someone that's actually qualified, you might find that person is actually pretty nice once you get to know them.

P.S. What do you reckon the over/under is on certain people using this post as an example that our head instructor is a jerk? If not this one, the next one oughta do it. Self awareness is funny thing.