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The curse of the blue belt and the pyramid of needs

In past articles, I wrote about the curse of the blue belt and the many reasons why people quit training
after the blue belt.

In this article, I would like to introduce the concept of the pyramid of needs.
Yes, it sounds like an Indiana Jones movie title.
It is about understanding what drives the students and at what stage of the pyramid each individual is at.
Therefore you can understand their needs and help them.
You will be able to retain them by helping them reaching to the different layers of the pyramid.
Instead of expecting them to fit in your "mould".
Everyone is different.
You cannot create a unique mould for all your students.

What is the pyramid of needs?

It is actually called the
"Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review.[2] Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belongingness" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization", and "self-transcendence" to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through."

Level 1 is Physiological.
I do not think we can do much in that part. However, there is couple of cases which come in mind. Jose Also moved to the Favelas of Rio in order to train BJJ at Nova Unio, the instructor realised that he was hungry and fed him. Also, Jacare was rescued from the streets by his BJJ instructor as he ran away from the local mafia from his town. 

Level 2 is Safety
This is where martial arts come to play. The need of the individual to feel safe and therefore seek to protect themselves by learning a martial art. How many BJJ gyms are just interested into sport only and are not interested in self-defence?

Level 3 is love and belonging
This is where BJJ strives the best at. They actually go overboard sometimes. But a strong feeling of friendship, team and family is present to most BJJ gyms. It is a great feeling and intoxicating. The team is stronger than the individuals. Sometimes people do not want to leave their gym in fear to be labelled as a traitor.

Level 4 is Esteem
"All humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. These activities give the person a sense of contribution or value. Low self-esteem or an inferiority complex may result from imbalances during this level in the hierarchy. People with low self-esteem often need respect from others; they may feel the need to seek fame or glory. However, fame or glory will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can hinder the person from obtaining a higher level of self-esteem or self-respect"

Level 4 is Self-Actualisation

Every students has different views on self-actualisation. 
One person will like to be a good parent or a good competitor or an instructor. 
Some students just want to stay fit and do not want to get involved with gym matters.
The instructor need to assess the need of each individuals. 
Not everyone wants to be a full time competitor or earn a black belt in order to open a BJJ gym,

If you like this article, you can read the below links


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