Loyalty vs Convenience: Switching Teams When Your Instructor Leaves
It is no surprise to see black belts switching teams/affiliations for a variety of reasons. But what happens when that black belt is the head instructor at your academy and you are faced with the tough decision to either stay with your current team or leave and follow your instructor? For many, this seems like a no brainer… you’d follow your instructor. Especially if they were a good one. However, for some, they may prefer the convenience of the location, price, etc. of the academy – or they may not be as attached to the instructor as others are.
For instance, I have a few friends who are in a pretty crappy situation. A new school opened near their homes early this year and at the time, they had a great head instructor. However, not even a month or two into it, as many new students were joining and others switching from other schools/affiliations to train under this person; they abruptly leave the academy due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances. It was a complete shock to many, as they would have never joined had this person not been the head instructor. However, by this time, their memberships were already in full swing and any cancellation would incur fees and headaches.
Luckily for them, that person was replaced by another good black belt who is just as experienced as he is a great teacher. But like all good things, they don’t last forever… and within a few months, this new person would leave to become the head instructor at another academy of the same affiliation over 50 miles away. Although he is currently transitioning out of the academy, there is still some stability there with the same instructor… but not for long.
So, where does this leave my friends? Well, it turns out that their first instructor at that academy is rumored to be opening their own school under his original affiliation. This leaves many of them with the dilemma of whether to leave or stay. Ultimately, the real question they need to ask themselves is what is more important to them – quality or convenience? Perhaps there could be quality with a new and unknown instructor coming in, but also would they rather train under the person that they fit better with?
Albeit there is no right or wrong decision, nor would anyone at this point be questioning loyalty for your affiliation – especially in this kind of situation with the amount of instability given in such a short time. Granted not everyone experiences situations like this often, but there are times when instructors will make that tough decision to leave and teach elsewhere or possibly open their own academy (i.e. Leandro Lo when he left Cicero Costha).
As stated in previous blogs, Jiu-Jitsu is an inherently selfish sport. Granted loyalty plays a large role in our journey, we ultimately need to do what’s best for us. Whether it’s for our best interests in training or out of convenience. Gym owners also realize that it is a business and that students will always come and go…