Tonight, we had a contest for two of the brown belts and one of the purple belts. Since learning to teach is an important skill at that level, the contest was a teaching contest. Each coach was given three categories of techniques, from which they could pick an appropriate technique, then tie all three techniques together. The three categories were smash down half guard, 50/50 guard, and Judo. The class was divided into three groups, and each coach had 20 minutes to teach their group. At the end of the 20 minutes, a pair of students from each group had to demonstrate what they learned to the panel of judges (a black belt and another brown belt). I was chosen, along with another female white belt, to represent our group. I felt she had a better grasp of the details of the movements, so I volunteered to be the “grappling dummy”. The Judo portion was a move called drop seoi (also referred to as kneeling seoi nage). I was able to use my Judo experience to throw myself a bit, so as to make her technique look more impressive. It’s kind of the same thing that Hollywood stuntmen do when taking falls for the action hero. Thanks in part to my selling the throw, our coach advanced to the finals. For the final round, each of the two remaining coaches were given five minutes to demonstrate a basic move to half the class. At the end of the five minutes, the coaches switched groups. That way, each individual student could compare the teaching ability of the coaches side by side. At the end of this, the coaches left the room, and we were asked to close our eyes and raise our hand for the coach that we thought did a better job. It was a tough call for me, because both coaches have helped me out a lot in the past. However, I felt one of the coaches was more engaging than the other, so I voted for him. It seems as though others felt the same way, since he was the one that ended up winning. Still, a tough call. The only drawback to the runner up was that he has a bit more of a laid back personality, where as the winning coach displayed more passion for his subject. Regardless of the topic, the passion of the teacher for their subject can be contagious. In the case of Jiu Jitsu, even though we are all paying for classes, some nights, the student may be tired or distracted because of a long day at work, dealing with kids, or a nagging injury. A good coach with a positive attitude can make you forget all that, and really want to be there, rather than counting the minutes till the end of class.

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