by Prof. Renato Migliaccio & Prof. Martin Guggi
When you google the word “creonte” you’ll find the following definition on Wikipedia: “The term creonte originated within Brazilian Jiu Jitsu organizations in Brazil to refer to a student who either is, or perceived to be, disloyal to a particular school or organization, particularly one with which the student had a long-standing or otherwise well-invested relationship. As such, the expression is used pejoratively, and has drawn comparisons to the English word traitor.”
In Brazil the academy was more than just a team. It was a family. There were not so many places to train at and if somebody changed the team he was treated like a traitor. Today it is different. There are more places to train which is good but on the other side you need some time to find out if your instructor really wants you to improve…. Today the word creonte is often used by instructors with a small personality.
All BJJ practitioners are proud to train in an art which is not full of rituals. We bow to the master, the professor and to our trainings partners but that’s pretty much it. For me BJJ was always one thing – a martial art where you train what is useful. We do not repeat useless forms; we learn techniques and try to apply them on our teammates. If something does not work for me and I have trained this technique for some time I try to find some technique which is more useful for me. We do not waste time to perform traditions only to not forget them. I think BJJ is based on one thing – We use anything to make our partner tap! The applicability is more important than tradition. Forms make sense if you see them as a way to grow as a person. Training them does not make you a better fighter but if you do it right you grow perhaps as a person… this is something we should not forget or love about martial arts who teach forms.
We all are happy to not only learn techniques but to become a good human being. This needs some regulations and discipline. That’s why in a lot of schools you find the school Etiquette with some guidelines of the academy. If we only produce good fighters we miss something! If you are a black belt one day but you are not a good person there is something wrong.
For me there are two sides: There is the academy with the professor and there is the student. As an instructor I want my students to improve. To get in shape, learn techniques for tournaments, for self-defense but I also want to give my students a home. I want them to feel home at the academy. The student gives a lot of trust to the academy when spending so much free time on the mats. This trust should mean a lot to the instructors but to grow as a person you also need to be strict. Sometimes this means that you have to stop some student’s behavior. We all are there to learn at the academy. It is a place for everybody who wants to improve. On the other side there is the student. The students need to trust in their instructors. The instructors should be some role models for them. And one day the students or at least some students should become better than the instructor on a technical level but their instructor should always be someone who they can look up to.
So what is a creonte? For me this word is used a lot of times in the wrong way. Students want to improve and use every possibility to train, to roll and to compare themselves to other people. I support my students to go to other schools for open mats or seminars. But I know that some instructors do not do that. For them somebody who goes to train somewhere else is a creonte. For me this is the wrong term to use for people who want to improve.
But what is a creonte? For me this is someone who does not know his roots. As an instructor I try to do everything for my students. This also means taking them to other places to train, bring them to camps or one day find a teaching position for them in another academy. If the student then switches teams for me he is a traitor. Again – I support everybody to train with high level competitors, to travel to other places to train but remember where you are coming from. Who supported you from the beginning? Who helped you with your first steps? Who is still there if you need him?
There are always exceptions: If you are a beginner and you move and cannot train at your home academy anymore then of course who have to find a new place to train. I also understand that if our homeschool is only there for competitors and not for average people too that you have to find another place where you feel more welcome. Or if the instructor needs to test his ego rolling with you and is hurting his student – than you also need to change the place. In the end these are all personal problems and should be handled with talking. Instructors are also humans and still growing with their students and sometimes it is also hard for the instructor to leave the ego outside the door. If talking is not possible you have to act because you are at the wrong school. If an instructor does not understand that his students want to improve he is not a good instructor.
The student also needs do give the trust back to his instructors and respect the roots where they started their BJJ journey.
Please check out the video of Prof. Renato Migliaccio about changing schools – and creonte in BJJ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0XiWQmrHG8