Continuing my So You Want to Start a BJJ Blog series.
As with women BJJ bloggers, the black belt BJJ blogger has the potential for a built in audience. I know I am more likely to want to hear what other women in the sport have to say, seeing as how I am part of that subgroup. We have a shared experience. Similarly, if I’m looking for insights into BJJ, I would generally rather hear them from a black belt than another blue belt. In this case rank would trump.
I do not think black belt blogs are immediately superior. In some cases I would much rather hear what a newbie has to say. Where the black belt blog does trump a white belt’s blog:
- Speaking with authority about jiu jitsu.
- Discussing things from an instructor’s point of view.
- Sharing trends in BJJ – from student behaviors, common problems, etc.
Establish who you are. Actually, this is true for EVERYONE. If I click on your blog, I like to know who I’m listening to! I don’t care if you’re a no name white belt who just discovered BJJ – tell me where you’re from and a little about yourself. Similarly, for black belts, give your credentials – how long you’ve been doing BJJ, when you got your black belt, how long you’ve been teaching, how long you’ve been operating your academy, etc. If you’re writing with authority, people should understand why.
I do this on my blog – if you click my about page, you will see that I train teachers. I speak from this authority/perspective when I write about BJJ. I write about methodology, classroom management, teacher-student interaction, and teaching techniques with confidence, because this is my professional expertise.
Here are things I would write about if I were a black belt, and similarly, things I would be interested in reading from black belts:
- Insights into your BJJ journey: mistakes you’ve made, epiphanies you’ve gotten, and things you’d change if you had to do it again.
- Comparing now and then: Your perspective now compared to when you were a white or purple belt, how you used to learn things vs now, etc.
- Instructor’s insight: Why you do things the way you do, why you structure your classes as such, what you look for when you promote, why you do or don’t promote, how you create curriculum, how students can be better students, behaviors that do or don’t impress you.
- Business advice: Do’s/don’t’s of running a BJJ academy, how to better market yourself, owning your own gym vs being head instructor, what it means to own/run an academy, advice to people thinking of opening an academy.
- BJJ advice: Advice for different belt levels, how to gain more when sparring with someone higher/lower than you, how to take better advantage of your instructor, what to do if you’re having a problem with the instructor/better student, what to do if you are feeling frustrated.
- A black belt’s perspective on topics: For example, there was an article recently called “I’m a BJJ Practitioner and a Girl.” In it, a female jiu jitsu practitioner discussed her brown belt test in which she was seriously injured. Georgette then wrote a response article called “Whose Responsibility is it?” in which she asks “Here’s my comment.. whose responsibility is it to protect training partners in that situation?” In that case, I would be EXTREMELY interested in reading things from a black belt/instructor’s point of view. Similarly, I’d be interested in a black belt’s perspective on articles that so many people write (including me!) like: What makes a Blue Belt.
- Answers to common questions: This could be ones you commonly get, ones you commonly read on Jiu Jitsu Forums, fixing incorrect advice you’ve heard given, etc.
- Free private lessons! Hehehe what I mean is – very specific advice about jiu jitsu – including videos, anecdotal advice, etc.
- Things you want YOUR student to know. Your blog can also be a way for your students to access you. This can be a way for you to put out your thoughts on potentially controversial topics – such as “If you’re thinking of cross training” or “How to decide if our school is right for you” or talk about trends in your school that you’d like to promote or stop.
This is where it gets tricky. How involved are you in the responses to your blog? Do you want this to be a conversation? Will you essentially ignore people’s replies? Respond to everything? I know that if I ask a question on someone’s blog and they interact with me, I’m more likely to come back – because there’s now a dialog opened. Yet at the same time, I understand that that’s a level of blogging commitment that many may not feel comfortable with.
What do you think?
Which black belt blogs do you read? Which do you not read? What topics are you interested in reading about?