“The only thing worse than a coach or CEO who doesn’t care about his people is one who pretends to care. People can spot a phony every time.”
Unfortunately, all these stories below are true; tales passed on by scarred students, now recovering at Crazy 88.
The “Whatever You Want” Instructor
A few weeks, a guy in his late 30’s stopped by the gym. He was participating in the MMA Basics class and mid-class, asked for a break. As he sat on the Title MMA bag, catching his breath, he told Coach Jon his story. It turned out that an MMA show promoter had called him and asked him to do a fight and he decided to start training.
His movements looked like that a novice and he obviously was not in good shape.
Coach Jon told him straight up, “Hey, I think this fight is a bad idea. You’re not in shape. Plus we have benchmarks that we want our fighters to meet before stepping into the cage.”
To make a long story short, the guy told Coach Jon that backing out of the fight was something that he couldn’t do because he wasn’t a “chicken”. He told us that our mentality was “all wrong” and he would find a different gym.
He later messaged the Crazy 88 facebook account saying we did not know what we were talking about as he had just won by 2nd round TKO.
I’m glad he won and didn’t get hurt. But honestly…
Shame on the instructor who put this guy into this event. Its the equivalent of a driving instructor letting his students race without learning how to really drive – you might get away with it once or twice, but there is a spectacular crash coming up somewhere.
Case in point, we had a student at Crazy 88 who had done a few Muay Thai fights as well as many grappling tournaments. With the first punch of his first amateur fight, he got his orbital broken and required $10k worth of surgery (he ended up winning the fight but it was painful and expensive!). You have to be prepared for something like that occurring and I doubt the “Whatever You Want” Instructor is readying his students for that.
The “Bro, You’ll Kick Everyone’s Ass’ Instructor
I am preparing for the Worlds in Brazil – the toughest Jiu-Jitsu tournament in the world. I just sprained my ankle 2 weeks before the flight and have it bandaged up.
I ask this Black Belt who was visiting, “How is the level of competition down there?”
He says, “Bro, you’ll kick everyone’s ass.”
Wow! Confidence booster! But as I watched him, I realized he was giving some variation of that to everyone at the practice.
There is a time for pep talks and a time for harsh-reality talks. This guy chose only Pep Talks.
Over the years, I noticed a trend at this guy’s academy – none of his students were winning. They did like him though. He made them feel good. And as long as they didn’t step into the world of harsh reality, everything was cool.
You might say, “So what’s the problem? He makes everyone feel more confident! How does that even hurt anyone?”
This guy is dangerous because he lets people dreamchase just for dreamchasing’s sake. So he tells the 35-year old guy with no experience that he can be in the UFC so he should continue to work only part-time and struggle and put his family through hell. He tells the college student who is training two times a week that he can win the World Championship so the kid ends up spending all his money on an opportunity that he is NOT PREPARED FOR.
This instructor has forgotten that his students are coming to him for guidance, not just for moral support.
The “I Actually Don’t Know Sh*t” Instructor
This is the local guy who has been teaching martial arts for over a long time but never produced champions. You’ll notice on a trip to his school that there are very few advanced students. When you do his class, you’ll be surprised at some of the stupid stuff being shown like “grab the guys face and put your chin into his eye” submissions.
In the beginning, the inexperienced student believes that this instructor actually knows what he is doing (after all, he’s been in business for 10 years and you’ve ‘heard of him’). But then after you start to understand the martial art, you come to the unsettling realization – Oh, this guy actually doesn’t know sh*t.
The “I’m Just Being Crazy for Crazy’s Sake” Instructor
Another true story.
Two TOTAL beginners, just out of high school, want to learn Mixed Martial Arts. Psycho instructor tells them that they have to be choked out in order to learn “what it feels like”.
*** I believe there are practices that would be look “insane” to the outside eye and also that there is a need for certain practices to develop toughness. But there must be purpose and planning to these practices. ***
He points to a rackety old chair and tells one of them to sit down. He then orders the other to get behind him and choke him unconscious. They’re friends so the one whispers to the other, “Just pretend to go unconscious.” With a little acting, they manage to make it through this crazy exercise.
This guy could also fall into the “I Actually Don’t Know Sh*t” category as well since its possible his craziness is not based on some sort mental processing error but simply a lack of information.
The Lifestyle Instructor
This guy actually isn’t as bad as the others. He just doesn’t REALLY care. Or, a more accurate way of saying it is, he cares during normal business hours.
This is the “normal” instructor. He comes in, teaches a decent class, talks to a few of the guys, watches some competitions here and there, etc.
Of course, if one of his students makes it into the UFC, he would be happy. Yes, if his student wins the Jiu-Jitsu World Championships, it would be fantastic. But he doesn’t really want to come in and hold pads during off-hours for a HUNDRED different people in the hope that ONE might make it.
This guy has other things on his mind like where he is going on vacation with his fiancé and what is happening on his fantasy football team.
He prefers COMFORT to CONFRONTATION. He just wants everything to run smoothly and everyone to be cool so he can do his own thing.
This guy actually doesn’t hurt 99% of his students. He only hurts that 1% who have very lofty goals but won’t make it without that little bit of extra push from the coach. It sucks for these guys when they realize their coach doesn’t really care about it as much as they do or worse, they never realize it and end up wondering why they never reached their potential.