How to Become a Jiu Jitsu Instructor

10 minutes • 29 May 2021

Although its origins can be traced to the Buddhist monks of India, Jujitsu as a combat style of martial arts found traction in Japan as the ancient battlefield art of the Samurai.

Modern Jujitsu can be traced to Brazil where it developed in the 1920s as a grappling sport that modifies Japanese Judo and classical Japanese Jujitsu techniques. The emphasis is on leverage, joint locks, and using an opponent’s strength against him.

Jiu Jitsu instructor demonstrating moves during a class

This martial arts discipline has become so popular that MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters incorporate Jujitsu into their skill set. As a result, skilled Jujitsu instructors are in demand not only to teach students interested in fitness and self-defense, but serious athletes whose goal is to compete.

Jujitsu instructors teach their students the moves and techniques, promoting safety and respect for all. Competition and teaching are the next logical steps for the Jiu Jitsu practitioner whose passion for the discipline sparks a desire to help others master this combat sport.

As an instructor, you’ll get to interact with students of all ages, plan class sessions and enjoy the satisfaction of watching students thrive under your tutelage. Most likely, you’ll also be called upon to organize and promote competitions that will give your students an opportunity to demonstrate convincingly how well you have taught them.

Best of all, unlike some martial arts, you don’t have to attain the black belt level to begin your own training as a Jiu Jitsu instructor. Read on to discover how you can build a satisfying career in teaching others this ancient, honorable martial art.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How much money you can make as a jiu jitsu instructor
  • The required training and certifications
  • Professional groups to join
  • Employment opportunities for jiu jitsu instructors
  • Finding clients
  • Plus helpful tips

How much money can you make?

Jujitsu instructors earn $43,716 a year on average, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, annual salaries as high as $60,500 have been reported by respondents to a recent ZipRecruiter survey. This is based on average weekly and monthly wages of Jujitsu instructors. If you open your own training studio, the earnings potential is whatever you want it to be. It all depends on your ability to build your reputation, which will attract and help you retain Jujitsu students.

Jiu Jitsu fighters grappling with each other in front of a crowd

Training and Certification

No government license is required to train students in Jujitsu, however, certification is required by virtually all schools and studios that offer Jiu Jitsu instruction. You can begin training as an instructor once you’ve attained purple-belt status, so long as you continue to work toward a black belt.

There are three main Jiu Jitsu organizations that certify instructors.

The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation allows black belts to teach without extra confirmation or training. In some cases the federation will let purple and brown belts train students if no black belt is available and certified to teach. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu confirmed black belts are approved to train any level below their own. Through the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation programs, you can train students at lower levels while you are advancing in your own Jiu Jitsu belt levels. This allows you to gain teaching experience as you advance.

The Gracie University Jiu Jitsu Academy offers formal training programs at five levels. Be aware that this academy only certifies one training center in each territory, which prevents training centers from having to compete with each other. The impact on your training is this policy can affect where you are able to offer Jiu Jitsu training.

The United States Jujitsu Federation has its own accreditation program offered at centers throughout the country. After finishing this training, you receive an educator stripe on your belt.

There are also affiliate schools offering instructor Jiu Jitsu training that is certified by one of the three main accrediting organizations. Here is a list of training programs.

Jiu Jitsu instructor showcasing moves on a partner

Professional Groups to Join

Getting involved with Jujitsu professional organizations is a potentially huge benefit for your career. First, these affiliations look great on a resume. They are proof of your dedication to Jujitsu. Joining a professional organization also provides other valuable benefits. Make new friends as you network with other members. These contacts can mentor you in your growth as an instructor. They can also help you find jobs with their insider knowledge – sometimes even before an opening is advertised. Through professional memberships you’ll also have resources for continuing training, learning new teaching ideas and enjoying being part of a group whose members share your passion.

Wide shot of a professional Jiu Jitsu competition

The United States Jujitsu Federation is a member of The Association for International Sport for All (TAFISA). TAFISA is an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Partner and Supported Organization. Dues are $50 per year or $400 for a lifetime membership. Benefits include:

  • National & International Programs for Technical, Philosophical and Leadership Development.
  • Jujitsu Rank and Membership Certificates for the USJJF Members.
  • A Non-Political Promotion System for all members
  • Technical, Administrative & Communication Assistance for Students and Instructors in Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Training Books and Videos.
  • A professional website for instructors.
  • Instructor / Examiner Certification.
  • Coaching Training and Certification.

The American Jujitsu Association represents a wide range of different Jujitsu styles. Free membership is offered the first year to new dojos (schools). After that, the annual membership fee is $25. Individual student memberships are $20 per year and include limited insurance coverage.

There are also many informal networking groups on social media for you to consider. On these you’ll find freewheeling and lively discussions of teaching techniques, trends in the sport, thoughts on the latest tournament results, and anything else participants want to talk about. These are almost always free groups to join. A list of more than 80 Jujitsu networking groups is available here for your review.

Two jiujitsu wrestlers sparring in combat during the sport training. One fighter lying on the floor mat and second one is standing.Brazilian jiu-jitsu is martial art similar to judo, and mostly is focused on ground fighting.

Employment

You’ll find jobs for Jiu Jitsu instructors at martial arts studios, public recreation centers, the YMCA, larger gyms with fitness programs and fitness centers focused on children. In addition, studios and schools devoted exclusively to the practice of Jujitsu are often located in major urban areas and will have employment opportunities come up as instructors advance and move on.

Before applying for jobs, make copies of your resume. You’ll need printed copies as well as a resume for online distribution. For resumes going out by email, the best way to attach documents to your email is by creating .pdf files with Adobe Acrobat. These types of files are considered safe to send and are much less likely to trigger a spam alert in the recipient’s mailbox. Always send attachments as .pdf files and you improve the odds that your online correspondence reaches a real person, not a spam folder.

Also make photocopies of all your professional certifications and memberships in Jiu Jitsu organizations. These extra credentials set you apart from competitors for the same job, and prospective employers are more likely to put your application on the top of the pile when deciding who to interview for the position. Competition is fierce – on and off the Jiu Jitsu mat – so you may as well take advantage of every professional achievement you can show to an employer.

Jiu Jitsu fighters training in a class with other partners

Finding Clients
Congratulations. You’re opening your own Jujitsu studio. Before you can unlock the front door and welcome students, you’ll need to do some marketing.

Business cards and a website should be the core of your marketing toolkit as a Jiu Jitsu instructor. The website can be as fancy as you like, so long as it is attractively designed, with photos of your Jujitsu studio, students practicing their moves and a few pictures of you in action, training students. Your business location and contact information must be clearly visible at the top of every page on your website. The upper right-hand corner is a good location, but wherever you display the information it should be in the same location on every page. Search engines scan this information to match your website geographically with people searching for a Jiu Jitsu instructor.

Along with a business website, set up an Instagram page to showcase your Jujitsu studio. Instagram is the #1 online venue for professionals to showcase their work. It’s free and a dedicated business page on Instagram is always working on your behalf.

Next, create a Facebook page for your Jujitsu school. This is a great way to attract followers and keep them up-to-date on what’s happening at your Jujitsu studio. You can run promotions and create teaser links to your business website by offering articles and news about Jujitsu. There’s no need to create a separate log-in and password. You can use your current long-in credentials and link your business page to them to keep life simpler.

Jiu Jitsu fighters battling during a competitive match

Now build a Google My Business page. This Google service lets you display your hours of operation, photos and a map of your location. There’s also an area for people to leave reviews of your Jujitsu school, so you can encourage students to post praise on your Google My Business page.

Setting up a business presence on each of these sites should take less than an hour.

Other strategies for attracting new business:

  • Create a referral program with discounts for returning students who bring new people to class.
  • Ask students to review your Jiu Jitsu training online. According to a recent survey, 90% of people say their buying decisions are influenced by positive online reviews.

Good to know

Experienced Jujitsu instructors say the mark of a great teacher is successful communication. Speak clearly and in the context of the techniques you are teaching in every class. Be mindful not only of students’ movements, but their facial expressions as well. This can tell you a lot about whether they understand what you are talking about.

Good time management is another hallmark of an effective Jiu Jitsu instructor. It is neither fair nor fun for students when the instructors devote 45 minutes to talking about a new move, leaving only 15 minutes for students to drill. Planning each class carefully helps instructors avoid this trap. Distributing a course outline to every student at the beginning of training is an even better plan, because it lets everyone see how training will unfold and what can be expected week to week.

Self-reflection is a valuable trait of the dedicated Jujitsu instructor. At the end of each session, take a moment to consider: What worked well today? What could I improve? Did I do my best? As of this moment, no one has completely mastered Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so instructors should avoid the trap of thinking they have reached the top of the mountain by virtue of teaching. There is always room to grow and climb higher.

If you enjoyed this article, check out some more great PocketSuite.io content that can help you grow your career as a jiu jitsu instructor. Here’s a great place to start.PocketSuite has thousands of business owners who all started where you are right now. Our community is always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the PocketSuite app and as part of our exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any professional to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today. Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300.

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