I am not a BJJ instructor nor do I do BJJ private lessons. So there is no real benefit for me selling you on the benefits of private lessons for Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I simply want to tell you about how private lessons were so beneficial to me and help you decide if they would be right for you. After all, are BJJ private lessons worth it for you?
If you can afford BJJ private lessons then they are very much worth every penny. This is, of course, assuming that you are going to a quality BJJ instructor who loves to teach. If so private lessons can help you fast track your understanding of the art of BJJ.
Of course, if you are reading this I assume you are having some reservations about doing some BJJ private lessons. The most predictable reason would be financial reasons. I totally understand this and realize many people cannot afford the luxury of private lessons. If you must choose between going to class or private you should probably just go to the classes. Especially if you are able to go multiple times a week.
That said if you can find a way to pay for even a few BJJ privates per year it would likely be worth it. This might require you to work a few extra shifts or rework your budget. But if you are serious about BJJ, then I believe BJJ private lessons are worth the extra effort. There are many reasons why but I just want to give you my top 7 reasons BJJ private lessons are worth it.
7 Reasons BJJ Privates Are Worth The Money
#1 BJJ Privates Are Worth it Because They Can Jump Start Your Fundamentals
One of the best times to try private lessons is when you are a white belt. It will quickly help you understand the basics of BJJ and help you to get an early game plan. In other words, it will help you to understand what you should really be focusing on from the start. I would suggest getting a private lesson after coming to class consistently for a month or two.
I didn’t try private lessons until about one year after I started BJJ. After getting a bonus check from work I decided that I would buy 10 private lessons from one of the teachers at my school. I feel like I learned more from those 10 weeks of training than I did from the first year. I probably didn’t but it certainly felt that way.
That is at least from the mental level. I was learning techniques in class but I didn’t really understand how to start putting it all together. I was like a basketball player who learned to pass, dribble, and shoot but still didn’t understand the rules of basketball. I had learned some techniques but I had zero game plan.
For almost a year I would always find myself in top half guard about 80 percent of the time. I would pretty much put myself there with hardly even an effort to pass my opponent’s guard. We practiced passing the guard in class but really didn’t understand how important it was.
I learned how much this was holding me back during my first private lesson. We worked on my guard passing quite a bit over the next ten weeks and it was a game-changer. That one simple concept that I didn’t fully understand was holding me back for way longer than it should have.
#2 BJJ Private Lessons Can Help You Avoid Developing Bad Habits
This is a good transition into the second reason to consider BJJ private lessons. I had developed a bad habit of getting into the top half guard without even trying to pass my opponent’s guard first. I did this so much that it became a habit. I would go into this position without even thinking about trying to pass my opponent’s guard.
It is, of course, best to stop bad practices before you develop them into bad habits. That is just one example but there is an infinite number of bad habits you might be forming. Another good example of mine was overcompensating with strength.
I’m not the strongest guy in the world but as someone who has been doing strength training for many years, I am certainly stronger than most people. I am also naturally taller and bigger than most people as well. This can be a great asset to your jiu-jitsu game but could cause you to develop some bad habits.
I would use my strength to get myself out of an armbar instead of using good technique. But like I said, I’m not the strongest guy in the world and once I rolled with someone just as strong I was, I learned that I didn’t actually know how to get out of an armbar. Not to mention the fact that I was simply wasting a ton of energy.
Perhaps you are developing some bad habits as well. Your BJJ instructor will likely be able to identify these bad habits pretty quickly. By doing private lessons you can address them before they become habitual.
#3 BJJ Private Lessons Can Help Prepare You For BJJ Competition
Whether you are an experienced competitor or are preparing for your first competition, BJJ private lessons can help you tremendously. If it is your first competition it is important to remember to just go out there and have fun. That said, it would not hurt to have a game plan.
Your professor will be able to help you develop a game plan much better than you could by yourself. They will be able to see what your strengths and weaknesses are and help you develop a winning plan. Of course, even with a great game plan you still might lose. That said, just getting out there and competing is part of the process of getting better at BJJ.
After a loss is one of the best times for a private lesson. Just make sure to get someone to film your matches. Especially the person giving you private lessons is not there to watch you compete. You will learn a lot from a loss. You can go over the footage with your teacher and they can help you understand what you need to work on.
#4 Private Lessons Can Help You Fix Holes In Your Game
One thing I learned from my first two competitions is that my stand-up game needed some major help. Unlike many people, I didn’t have a background in wrestling or judo. Most of my martial arts background was from boxing and other striking arts.
My academy is, in my opinion, the best in town. But we did seem to focus a lot more attention on groundwork than we did takedowns. When rolling we would typically start on the ground or with one person standing and the other person on the ground.
The vast majority of the time I would find myself in top position. In competition, however, I found myself mostly in the bottom position. This is because I failed to take my opponents to the ground and secure the top position. Luckily in my first competition, I won two out of three matches but I truly felt like a fish out of the water. I found two holes in my game that I needed to address before the next time I competed.
Unfortunately, I did not get private lessons right after this competition. But if I could go back in time I definitely would. It would have saved me a bunch of time. Not only could I have learned some techniques, but I would have also probably gotten some good advice on how to work on my weaknesses outside of the private lessons.
For example, I might have been advised to let people take the top position more often when rolling so that I could work on my bottom game. Whatever hole you have in your BJJ game, private lessons can help you come up with a solution to fix your problem.
#5 BJJ Privates Are Worth It For People With Busy Schedules
The most common reason people don’t do BJJ is that they cannot afford it. Perhaps you have a different problem. Maybe you can easily afford BJJ classes but what you are lacking is the time to get to class. Perhaps you are trying to run a business and prioritize spending evening time with your family. Private lessons can help you save time in multiple ways.
For one, you will learn a lot more in a private lesson than you would in a class full of students. The one-on-one time will help you learn at a much faster pace. If you have a busy schedule and can only make it to class 2-3 days a week, having one of those days be a private lesson will help you keep up the pace with people who can go more often.
In fact, you might even progress faster than some of the people who are able to go 4-5 days per week. It is really hard to say but if you are not able to make it to class often then you should consider doing private lessons. This is especially true if it is not going to be a problem for you financially.
Another way that private lessons can save you time is the potential to schedule them at a more convenient time for you. Depending on your schedule this could save you hours of time. Let’s say that you get off work at 5:oo and your class is from 7:00-8:00 PM. You might be off work at 5:00 but there really is not enough time to get home and do anything meaningful before class starts.
A one-hour class can end up taking up your whole evening if it does not mesh well with your schedule. With private lessons, you might be able to schedule a class that works better for your busy day. So if you are strapped for time then you might want to consider private BJJ lessons.
#6 You Will Likely Get To Roll With Your Professor
If you have a big school it can be hard to get the chance to roll with your professor. By taking private classes you will most likely get some rolling time with your BJJ instructor. By actually rolling with them they will be able to see problems they might miss during class.
I am not a BJJ instructor but I would imagine it is pretty hard to keep up with 100 or even more students. We tend to want our professors to keep up with how we are progressing. Though I’m sure that they are doing their best to keep up, you can imagine that it would be a difficult task.
By rolling with your professor they might catch things that are harder to notice during class. It could be a technique you are doing wrong or maybe something else. Perhaps you need to work on your cardio or maybe gassing out early because you are using too much unnecessary energy. There are many things that might not get noticed by your instructor unless you actually get to roll with them.
Thankfully my professor takes the time to try and get rolls in with everyone at my academy. But still, if there are 40 people in your class it’s hard to expect to get to roll with your instructor. So even if your professor is trying his best you still might only get a few opportunities to get to roll with them.
#7 BJJ Privates Are Worth It Because You Can Get Specialized Training
This one is very much related to some of the other reasons to consider BJJ private lessons. The main difference is that specialized training does not necessarily mean working on one of your weak points. Perhaps you are really good at leg locks but you want to take them to the next level.
Now there is a chance that your instructor is particular about how he teaches private lessons. But most likely they will be open to specialized training. Especially if they are well known for that particular skill. For example, Craig Jones is known for his leg locks. So if you were so lucky to get the chance for a private lesson with Craig Jones, it might be a good idea to learn his specialty. Of course, if he does private lessons I would assume they are not very cheap.
Or perhaps you recently purchased a specialized online course such as Leg Lock Anthology: 50/50 by Lachlan Giles and want to make sure you are doing the techniques correctly. Online programs are great but you might be missing some small details. BJJ private lessons can help you solidity techniques that you might not have learned at your academy.
So Are BJJ Private Lessons Worth It For You?
Anyway if you were on the fence on whether or not to take BJJ private lessons then hopefully this post gave you some clarity. If you can afford private lessons you should definitely consider trying them out. Even if it is a few times per year, private lessons can help you fast track your BJJ game.
Whether or not BJJ private lessons are worth it for you at the moment depends on your current situation. Though I certainly think BJJ privates or worth it, you might simply only be able to afford to go to class at the moment. However, you should certainly give it a shot when you are able to.