The value of private lessons (and how to get the most out of them)

Kroyler’s Pro-Tip on Private Classes…. Worth it or not?

Well the short and simple answer is really dependent on who is actually teaching the private class…

But the real answer is far more complicated, so I am going to break it down into misconceptions, benefits and detrimentsof private classes, how often we should have them, who should have them, etiquette, and how to make the most out of it. 


Most people see private classes in one of two ways;

1.It’s a money thing or it’s a way for your instructor to make more money out of you. Some people feel private classes are a sham, and it’s just a way for your instructor to make more money off of you.

a.If you feel this way, then your instructor is garbage, or you had a terribleone-offexperience. If after a private class, you felt it was a waste of your time then the instruction was garbage, and/or you are right,and this was just a way for your instructor to squeeze more money off of you.

b.Any instructor worth his weight would ensure this is never the case.

2.It’s a way to get extra content out of your instructor to give you an edge or a boost in ability/knowledge in an area that you feel needs it. Its how to get all the secrets.

a.This is partially true; meaning that you will in a private class be able to ask for very focused attention to the problems you’re encountering  and/or the areas you want to develop. This will usually boost your ability and knowledge in the desired area.

b.However……………………………. IF your instructor will teach “secrets” in private classover a topic that he otherwise wouldn’t share should he teach that topic with the group class…. And he is essentially saving all the secrets and key details for the private classes… then your instructor is douche bag. Here is what I mean, I just taught a private class on closed guard basic concepts to Paul, yes, the nincompoop reading this, and should I teach a group class on closed guard concepts to a group class, the content would be the same. Meaning I am not holding anything back from my students, any instructor that holds back knowledge from his students in hopes of getting an extra buck or two out of it is a detriment to this art. As an instructor it is your job to teach your students to the best of your ability, not just the ones that pay a premium. I don’t tolerate this kind of shady behavior, so I hold no secrets back for the cost of a premium.


1.Because of the sheer focus of attention, you will receive from your instructor, as you likely are the only student in that private class, you will inherently improve on whatever the topic of that private class is. So yes, any instructor worth his weight should be able to help you develop an area over the course of a private class, or a few depending on topic, and you should see almost immediate improvement.

2.Access to material that you may not have access to for a long time. As an example, my color belt curriculum has been ongoing for 7 almost 8 years now and I have never repeated a single technique in any week. Better example may be this, currently my color belt class is learning my lasso guard series, we are 5 months in, roughly 41 different sequential techniques, and we still have several weeks left.  So, if one of my students wants to learn back attacks, he’ll have to come to competition class where I have a different curriculum and the subjects change at a faster pace, or he’ll have to hang in there until we cover back attacks off of the lasso guard series. But if he really wants to learn my back-attack series, then he’ll have to learn from one of the other students that has gone through it and mastered it, or he’ll have to do a private.

a.People don’t always agree with me on this, they think if my series weren’t so dense with material that I would be able to cover more ground faster. My counter argument is mastery, I want to provide as thorough of an education as possible that is my job, skimping on this would create a sloppy education. I can’t accept that.

b.Better yet think of this, if you want to become a doctor you don’t want them to just kinda know something everywhere right? You want them to be an expert or have access to expert knowledge.

c.Others complain that my students will be for a time inept in certain areas, but no one would ever say that after rolling with them. My students are all well rounded, because my technique series are so thorough and so correlated to one another that they can flow from on series of attacks into another. You guys have rolled with Claude, is he not well rounded?

3.Ability to roll with your instructor, your instructor should always roll with you and your teammates. That is if your instructor isn’t injured, sick, or too old to roll (father time will submit us all after all).  However, in a group class there may not be an opportunity for them to roll with every single person.  So, a private class could give you more access to that.

Detriments(usually occur when you do 90%+ of your training in privates and the remained in group classes)

1.Tons of acquired knowledge no experience to go with it. In a private class you may be exposed to a lot of knowledge, however without trying to pull it off in a roll you won’t develop experience with that knowledge. Kind of reading a manual on how to play ping pong, all the strategies, understanding all the tricks to cause different spins on the ball, and playing with a pro that’s setting you up so that you can be successful; and thinking that you can now play ping pong as well as a pro. Youcan’t. You play with a pro or even just someone that plays ping pong all the time and with all that inexperienced knowledge, you have gotten from the private classes, and you will get killed. Without the feel, the flow, the experience, the reaction time, that knowledge means nothing. Meaning that you need to try your knowledge against resisting opponents, this will force you to feel the technique, and give you the needed experience to back up your knowledge. Experience and knowledge are not the same thing, we can discuss this further in person too much for a pro tip.

2.The other detriment is learning your instructors game and learning to predict and hinder his movement. Knowing someone’s game will give you an artificial toughness. Meaning if you take a white belt and have him roll day in and day out with the same one purple belt; after a year they know each others game so well that the white belt will be a tougher roll for that purple belt than other purple belts he doesn’t roll with often.


How often should someone do private classes? Well it depends.

Private classes should be used like make-up. Meaning they should enhance the natural beauty that is already there while covering small imperfections. They should never be a way to create a new face, or to create something that isn’t there. Meaning, the most artful make-up is the one that is so well done that it can’t even be noticed as it only enhances the natural beauty. On the otherhand, too much make up and not natural beauty and you end up looking like an OompaLoompa.

So, if you train regularly in group classes I would say 1 or 2 classes per month, to clear up any doubts or questions you may have from the group classes for that month, or to fix a deficiency you have come across your game, or to tighten a new series of attack to get you an edge in training, should suffice.

Doing any more than 1 or 2 classes per month will definitely give you very clear edge on everyone else, as it will give you time to fix any deficiencies and clear up any questions you may have from the group classes, and it will give you sufficient time to roll and to learn a completely separate series of attacks.

That is as long as you are still training regularly in the group classes.

The moment you forego group classes to just train in private classes, your game will be damaged long term. As you’ll acquire high level of technical knowledge and yet not feel or experience to back it up.

The only time private classes can completely replace group classes, is if you’re working through an injury, if you cannot make the group class times due to your personal schedule. But otherwise private classes should only enhance your group class experience not replace it.

Who should take private classes?:

Everyone can benefitifthey are still doing the group classes. But I would consider a very solid foundation before using a private class to learn something more advanced then the classyou arecurrentlyin. Example, if a complete layman white belt comes to me to do a private, I will suggest working on fundamental techniques and concepts as it’ll benefit him most. Now if that white belt wants to learn reverse De La Rivaguard, I will teach it to them, but the material is so far above them that they may not retain, learn or benefit from it.

Etiquette and how to make the most out of it:

1.Ask questions, bring a list of things you want to work on. Your instructor will usually cover as many of those questions as he thinks its appropriate during the private class.

2.Listen to your instructor. If you came to him for advice why are you questioning him? I don’t mean you can’t ask for clarification or justification because you can and should as we want mastery, I mean is don’t question his knowledge. Kip and Paul, I am sure you can clarify this… I mean you guys get it right?

3.Take notes during, or after class, or record the private if your instructor allows that.

4.Ask more questions.

5.Engage in the lesson, don’t just sit there and listen. Try to think of the things he is telling and showing you.

6.Ask more questions


8.After the private class continue to work on it on your own if more questions come up then take another private.

9.Appreciate the knowledge. Knowledge and experience are hard to come by a teacher sharing extra knowledge with you should be appreciated.  Techniques that are taught to you took weeks, months, years, worth of work your instructors life. That time wasspent on developing, sharpening, experimenting with those techniques, with that also comes frustrations and injuries. What you are getting from that private is a quick perfected guide to learn what took him years and years to learn in a few short lessons. All the while allowing you to not have the same pitfalls yet the same successes.  So, whatever you pay for your private class will never be sufficient enough to repay all that. It wont even be close. But appreciation, appreciation and loyalty will take you far further. Appreciate the knowledge.

Now I want to congratulate on Paul for making his way down to HQ for a privateclass...Everyone cheer on...Turns out deer aren’t as scary as I made it sound...Yes,I wanted Paul to read thatout loud…On a serious note I hope you enjoyed it.

Kip… Your journey could be much further along if you visited me... your wife has come down 2-3 times now… and you haven’t... Shame on you…

This was another long one… maybe if you guys did this live it would be easier….

Kip Dice