Brazilian black belt based in the United Arab Emirates, Marcio Silva reflected the other day on an essential definition of what it means to teach Jiu-Jitsu. His post, in open letter format, read:
Dear coach / Professor,
Sometimes when you have been asked what you do for a living, you may have received reactions that make you feel less than what you are. Underestimated, and treated as if what you do is not enough. When this happens, remember that you are not “just” a jiu-jitsu teacher.
You are a father, friend, brother, counselor. Your job is not just to teach a martial art. Your work helps children protect themselves from bullying. These same children can meet new ones in a safe place, learn how to interact and make new friends. Women can be able to protect themselves against violence, whether domestic or on the street.
Men who are often insecure and introverted find a way to feel capable, or to go to places where they know that at any time they can use their learning to defend themselves and especially defend their family.
People in general can improve their self-confidence, which may be low because of shyness, health problems, disabilities or maybe feeling out of shape or overweight. These same people will become healthier because of the training and the healthy habits they will be introduced to.
Your students will learn from you and from your knowledge they will become champions, may have a guaranteed job and therefore be able to have a decent life. People of the “best” age (elderly) will find a way to exercise safely and stay healthy. They will keep feeling alive and will know that age ain’t not but a number.
I could write a lot more things, but dear professor, never forget that your role goes far beyond the mat. You are a life changing agent. Think about it very carefully. Have a great week everyone and great training sessions too. Oss!