The Birth of Guest Instructor Monday

Not long after we added regular Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) classes to the weekly schedule at my home studio, Seiya Dojo, we began expanding the schedule. Attendance was pretty good on most days considering the fact that we were training out of my home and weren’t really advertising. Things grew organically, by way of word-of-mouth, through the network of people we used to train with who were no longer training at any particular school. Monday nights, however, were consistently poorly attended.

This always seems strange to me because, at the school I used to do BJJ at, Monday night was always the most well attended class of the week. Part of that was the way the schedule was marketed at that school. It was actually very smart. The head instructor, the owner of the school, began the week with the first move or moves in a series that would continue throughout the week. It was important to show up on Monday to get the first part of the series. At Seiya Dojo, with different people training on different days, this approach was really not practical.

Consistently, on Mondays, the same one person would show up and no one else. I have always had the attitude that one person is enough for a good class, but I wanted more for him than just training with me, by myself, every week. One day, I had an idea. There was a guy from Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Maryland who I wanted to learn from. Specifically, I wanted to become a student of his knee-on-belly techniques. I asked Naqi Sayed if he would come out once every few weeks to teach a Monday class. Part of my aim was to boost class attendance, but I also just wanted to learn what Naqi had to teach. Attendance on Monday evenings went up and I started having a different guest out every Monday, including Mike Stewart, Jordan Stewart, and Toney Waldecker. That is how Guest Instructor Monday was born and the tradition continues at Kogen Dojo.

 Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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