When we form and promote a black belt, the excitement is great. These are special moments in the life of every instructor. The long-awaited black belt goes on the waist of a promoted student. Then begins the journey of the new black belt, more learning ahead. But sometimes, after being promoted, the black belt wants to start their own team. They do not want to continue being under the tutelage of their teacher. What should be done?
I, particularly, understand, and it’s best to let it go. No arguments, no hard feelings. And hopefully, I have the following premise: the better they become, the happier they will be and you, as an instructor, will see that your work has been well done. Of course, being with your black belts is always good, and always satisfying, but we have to respect the will of the one who wants to go solo.
I did this myself, so I can unsderstand. I decided to set up my team, my way. So, I understand when a student wants to leave, put their ideas into practice, test their concepts. It is up to us, instructors, to understand and encourage the student to leave and succeed. As instructors we would like our students to stay with us, to open branches, but if it is not their wish, what to do? Treat them like a ‘creonte’? Traitors? I do not that it’s right.
Now this knowledge we pass on belongs to them, and this black belt has autonomous ideas and thoughts, regardless of us, and sometimes we come across attitudes and thoughts that no longer meet our own. If the new black belt comes in to talk, in an eye-to-eye conversation to tell you that they are going, let them go and wish them success. It is better to stay in good terms than to become enemies.
As for the new black belt, being a team leader is a big responsibility. On and off the mat, we are Jiu-Jitsu instructors 24 hours a day. We are technicians, examples and, for countless times, “parents” of the students, even in personal matters. I left my house to help students in difficult times, I closed the academy and I was with students inside the dojo listening to their worries, sorrows … How many teachers did not go through these moments? Most.
Being a leader is basically serving, being an example, demonstrating the values you want to pass. Know how to stimulate your students, measure training, forward when you feel it necessary. It is not easy being an instructor, taking a training, managing the differences and aspirations of the students inside the dojo, keeping a team together. They are tasks of a team leader, but as teachers and leaders we are, we have to know how far we can go, and after that point we become just observers of our students.
Written by Luiz Dias for Tatame Magazine (translated from Portuguese)
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