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Thread: Private classes and how to get the most out of them

  1. #1

    Default Private classes and how to get the most out of them

    Just seen the surgeon who reconstructed several ligaments in my knee after a BAD judo injury and he's told me I can start training again this weekend! Starting off slow, then building up to full sparring. I'm in an incredibly good mood right now!

    While I've been out of action, I've saved some money from monthly fees so was thinking of doing some privates. Hopefully they will help me catch up and surpass the level I was at before the injury more quickly.

    I've got a few questions about privates:

    Is once a fortnight enough? (I'm thinking it will give me a chance to work on what I was taught in time for the next one)

    Should you get them from different high belts at the club, or stick with one?

    Are they worth the cash?

    Any other tips anyone has to make the most out of them?

    Cheers in advance!

    p.s. I know I've seen a couple of threads on privates before but couldn't find them.
    Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.

  2. #2


    I don't think privates help unless you haver a specific reason. Maybe you want to improve guard passing, half guard, etc. Maybe you keep getting passed and want to pinpoint why? I use privates to overcome sticking points and open up new areas of my game.. maybe your mount is shit but you can't reason out why.. that's how I use privates.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Glasgow / Stockholm


    Don't take any until a 2-3 months into your comeback IMO. You want to get back some confidence and let your brain readjust to rolling I'd say. It took me a few months to get used to it all again. Then take notes of problems/weaknesses and then use privates to address them if you want to.

  4. #4


    My rules of thumb for privates is:

    1. Go over specific techniques or positions. For me I always found I was getting into certain position in sparring and needed some options. Instructor sorted me out with techniques for that position, or nuances of ones I knew.

    2. Go for a roll with instructor and ask him to point out weaknesses and how to work on them.

    I was trying to do one a month, for me thats enough as it takes time to work on what the instructor teaches you.

    Finally don't think there worth having until you have a reasonable understanding of the basics, for that stick to the regular classes.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Neon_Belly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    South Yorkshire


    I'm a white belt, and i have two private sessions each month - usually with my immediate coach. Like others have said they really only work if you use them to work on specific techniques/situations. I use mine to concentrate on a technique i am struggling with, or a situation i usually get stuck in, and then try and use it when i'm rolling after that. Once i've got it down to a point i feel comfortable with, i have another private class and work on the next thing i want to improve.

    Its helped my game A LOT in the past few months.

  6. #6
    Its not his cup you can feel.... Mike Bishop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    I really disagree with the statement that they only work if you use them to work on specific techniques. Of course that's one way they're useful but if you're taking privates from an instructor who knows you and your game he/she can help your jiu jitsu in a much deeper way. I do 1 a week with my instructor - 40 mins teaching/coaching and 20 mins rolling. He's really helping me to develop my game and my understanding of BJJ as well as improving and refining my technique.

  7. #7


    Hi 6million$man, I'm glad they found the technology and that they fixed you

    I think the most important thing is to consider why you want to take privates.

    If you don't mind, I'll quote your original post:

    I've got a few questions about privates:

    Is once a fortnight enough? enough for what?

    Should you get them from different high belts at the club, or stick with one? It depends what you want to get out of them. Do you want different solutions to one challenge, or do you want different players to offer you their own specialities within the game?

    Are they worth the cash? That only makes sense if you know what you want out of the privates.

    When I give private sessions, I have different structures:

    1. Intro clusters. This is a collection of 3 x 1hr sessions that introduce people to the bare minimum in the different "big" positions in grappling. I explain that after these three they will not be profecient, but whatever major problem they may run into, they can at least identify where they're going wrong and I provide the athlete with a print-out of exactly what was covered so they can refer to it later.

    2. Build-ons Cluster. This is a further 3 x hrs where I introduce the concept of linking positions (sweeps, guard retention, mounting, back-takes) and a couple of common submissions. Once again, this provides a map, not a step by step guide. It wouldn't be fair on them or on me to expect that. But thankfully, they will have the tools to fix any major obstacles either with me or without me. The print out I give helps too.

    3. Individual lessons. Before the private, I ask the athlete what they want the session to be about. I make sure the session covers that because that's what they are paying for. Once the session is finished, I summarise for them what we covered, give them the print out and check that they are happy.

    I am happy to say that I've never ever finished a 1-2-1 session where the athlete did not shake my hand and thank me for a great session. This is not because I'm that good, but because the session met what they wanted out of it. More importantly, it's a great pleasure to see them use concepts and techniques that we discussed/drilled in a live roll (wether positional or free)

    So, after all that waffle (sorry bro!) what I'm trying to say is: You need to know what you want out of the sessions BEFORE you even book the private and you need to tell the person that.

    If you want the sessions to be a way to get back in the game, you must expect:
    1. it's gonna take time
    2. it's gonna take time
    3. it's gonna take time
    4. The sessions need to have a horizontal structure that cover the major positions of the game
    5. it's gonna take time
    6. You need continuous communication with the coach.

    From that perspective, it'd probably be best to get all of them with one and the same coach. Check if they have a plan. Make sure that plan is tailored to your needs and in that case then of course the privates will be worth all the money!

    I've had privates with Gunnar Nelson and I wanted to work on open guard passing. I paid him before and we worked for one hour and I swear if he had, at the end of the session, asked for more money I would have thrown it at him. But that was a specific segment that I wanted to work with him and it exactly met my expectations.

    Way back when I was still doing just one or two sessions a week back home in Gothenburg, before I took up BJJ as my main sport, I took a private with a world famous BJJ black belt. Bless him, he had a great structure to the session and his explanation was very detailed (I still have the notes) but I came away from the private feeling robbed. It wasn't that expensive, but I had ZERO GAME to integrate what he was showing me into. I actually look at my notes NOW and get loads of pointers out of them!

    Once again, I'm sorry for waffling but it seemed like you were contemplating an investment and I thought I'd share a few thoughts so you're not disappointed. I hope this helped matey.
    The Part Time Grappler - Just Google BJJ / Grappling Tips and you'll find me

  8. #8


    Cheers for the advice everyone!

    A lot of you saying it's really important to know what you want to get out of it before you start. I'm not going to go straight back and do them right away. I'm going to take some time finding my feet again and see what I feel I need to work on. Seems like that would be the best way to get the most out of it, rather than just showing up with a blank canvas.

    At the moment there's not one specific thing I'm looking to work on. A lot of what I want is helpful criticism and pointing out stuff I'm doing wrong/need to work on.

    to pick up on this:

    "Is once a fortnight enough? enough for what? "

    I meant enough to get some continuity between the sessions and progress from one session to the next, rather than having the occassional lesson when I'm stuck with something in particular.

    I think for continuity, I'm probably best sticking with the one instructor. Maybe get the odd session with Geddes on half guard

    Cheers again for the help!
    Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.

  9. #9


    I'm glad you find this useful. Please let us know how it goes and of course the main thing is that you're back on the mat.
    The Part Time Grappler - Just Google BJJ / Grappling Tips and you'll find me

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