Sunday, January 13, 2013


This is a very difficult topic for me to blog on especially from an American Jiu-Jitsu instructor perspective.  In America team loyalty is important BUT students leave their instructors for various reasons all the time.  Are they wrong?  Not necessarily. 

I have thought long and hard about this issue before giving my thoughts because I'm torn…but here goes.

 A “Creonte” is a Brazilian term that derived its meaning from a Brazilian soap opera where one of the main characters would constantly switch allegiances with the other characters. This term carried over to BJJ to mean that a “high level” student leaves a school he or she is training at to go train with a rival team, in essence becoming a  “traitor”.  

Before the popularity of the internet training academies would literally have secret moves that they used against rival schools. In many cases the instructor took a poor kid off the street and trained them for free as a future champion, only to see that student go into the hands of the “Enemy.”   To lose a top level student to another academy was a disastrous proposition. I would personally say that this is a moral character defect on the part of the student and I would hope that Karma would pay him back one day.

In America things seem to be a bit different in the sense that most students pay a fee to train at a specific academy.  This is mostly a business transaction here in America and thus as customers they are free to go and train at whatever school they desire.   

Many do so because they live closer to the other school, or want to pay a cheaper fee or they don't like the other students, they might be getting hurt too much, the instructor could be a dishonest person or they don’t do tournament training or they DO do tournament training or heaven forbid, the school might just be better than the one they were at.  Does that make them a traitor?  If you’re the instructor I’m sure it would be “Yes”, in my mind, again, not necessarily.   

This is especially true if the student is a LOWER level student who might have just found his first school by accident. He knew nothing about BJJ and he decided that the schools logo was cool and that’s why he decided to train there.   Does he have a right to go somewhere else if he wants?  You bet.

What I don’t accept is a medium to high level student who has been training for years, proclaiming to love his school, the people, the instructor and the training who for one reason or another decides to leave to better himself  through another instructor’s promises of quick belt promotions, teaching opportunities or promises of free tuition.  I refer to this kind of student as “a piece of crap”, in other words a Creonte.   It’s happened to me before including taking some of my students with him! What are you to do?

 If you are an instructor who has experienced this as I have you need to turn the focus back on you and ask yourself (as I did) some fundamental questions, Am I really giving the VERY best classes I can? Am I up on the latest techniques of Jiu-Jitsu? Do I really want my students better than me?  Am I doing my best to make my students succeed?  Am I fair in my promotions? Am I NOT playing favorites with some students at the expense of others?   

If you can answer all of these questions in the affirmative then the fault probably lies in the student and not you.  It still hurts though.

Take a good hard look at your students.  If they are people with low morals, long criminal records and bad attitudes then what are you expecting from these types of people?  Loyalty? Really?  If they are good,honest people, are you giving them opportunities to shine, to teach, help the school and consequently themselves? It’s only right.

If you’re a student you need to show loyalty to your instructor!  Look very hard at your motives before deciding to leave your current instructor. Talk to your instructor first! In many cases, the grass is not always greener on the other side.  If you do leave an excellent instructor because of selfish and disloyal motives (in your heart you know) then be prepared to wear the moniker of “Creonte.” You deserve it. 

I heard a saying that goes like this “If your best friend borrows 20 bucks, promises to pay you back and then skips town…Wasn’t that a cheap price to get rid of a bad friend?”   Better to not have given that disloyal student a black belt from your linage because he will be your black belt for life.  I promise you that you will be better off with that student gone.  I know I was.

P.S. If you are a student who trains at two different BJJ academies without the knowledge of both instructors then you are a "Creonte." Pick a school and be loyal.

Subscribe to my new YOUTUBE page Survival Skills 101 at


Sign up your email at my website for more videos and blogs!