Enthusiastic amateurs: Much of what I write about is the development of professional athletes in grappling and MMA. The reason for this is because they exemplify the main themes that I push – of PASSION as the bedrock of development, of DISCIPLINE/ PERSEVERANCE as the sustainer of development, of INTELLIGENT PLANNING as the determinant of your speed and amount of development and of the CONFIDENCE and courage to take a risk on stage as the means of showing your development. But let’s get something straight. Professional athletes are very much the minority in any class – including mine. The vast majority of my are ordinary people just like you who have a job, family and many responsibilities and commitments that come before jiu jitsu. Unlike a professional athlete, they cannot invest all their time and into the sport but must instead give it as much time as they can among their other commitments. I have always been very proud of the fact that I have many who fall into this enthusiastic amateur group but whose skill level is shockingly high – to the point where they can absolutely go toe to toe with great professional athletes and give them a very hard workout indeed. My goal as a coach is to make the ENTIRE ROOM strong, as THE STRONGER THE ROOM OVERALL, THE STRONGER THE ELITE ATHLETES COMING OUT OF IT. So often I am asked whether someone training part time can attain a good level of jiu jitsu despite having a busy job, family, perhaps being etc. my answer is always a resounding YES! I know because I it every day. A good example comes from this weekend at the Pan Am Championships. Most people were greatly impressed by the performance of Gordon Ryan in taking double gold – but there were two double golds that day. Forty three year old Ryan Bier, married father of two, working a very demanding job in the medical profession also took first place in both his weight and absolute masters division. I am always hugely impressed by people who get to a very high standard as amateurs working around their main commitments. I JUST AS MUCH PASSION AMONG THEM AS I DO AMONG THE PROFESSIONALS – they are the heart and soul of the sport.