There have been a lot of mixed feelings towards this topic and there are several different valid views on how beneficial it can be to teach jiu-jitsu early in one’s career. For example, many small gyms have blue belts teaching curriculum in cities where there are not many alternate options. These blue belts are often the only guys that put effort into collecting techniques from books, videos or the internet, so that they can pass them to others. So the real question is; how beneficial is teaching and when should one really start doing it?
Traditionally in BJJ, you can’t really be an instructor of any type until you have a purple belt. White and blue belts are still considered beginner and intermediate - they do not have the sufficient understanding yet to really teach it to others. Purple belts are considered an advanced level, so they have a much deeper understanding of the basics. But what about those schools where blue belts are teaching anyway, is it really that bad?
The truth is, it should be okay for blue belts to teach if they are the only qualified guys in the region. Many smaller towns across the world don’t have the privilege of an experienced black belt living in the area. As much as BJJ is spreading across the world, not every town has a school there yet. The situation is much better than it was five years ago, but you will still find some small schools where blue belts are instructors because they have been the only ones in that area that have dedicated themselves to traveling and learning more BJJ. In time, these are the guys that are responsible for bringing high-level professors to do seminars and spread their knowledge – so ultimately it’s better to have jiu-jitsu than no jiu-jitsu at all.
It is also very common to see blue belts teaching kid’s classes, which is more understandable since teaching children not only requires a strong base (which most blue belts should have) but also the ability to deal with children. Again, purple belt should be the starting belt to give instruction, but blue works well for kids classes.
The truth is, you just want the most qualified guy to always teach. If it ends up being a blue belt, then so be it. As long as the technique is basic, and it’s being taught properly, then the gym will be successful. The students and their teacher will grow together in time and reach higher belt ranks – they won’t be bothered any more by criticism about their rank. Teaching is one of the best ways to also learn and really dive deep into the technique. It’s a way for the instructor to consolidate the technique he already knows and discover more. You’d be surprised to hear about how countless black belts usually discover new techniques while teaching them. Every time you demonstrate a technique, it can improve a little – one of the great beauties of our gentle art.