Who you callin a Creonte?!


When I first heard the term Creonte I figured it was a maybe a term for a position, or a sweep, or some snide term in Portugese.  I’ve been trolling the blogosphere and have found quite a bit on input on the topic at hand.  The best definition I’ve been able to find is from Kid Peligro:

CreonteA “creonte” is generally accepted as the “fighter” that changes schools and ends up competing against his old school. The problem is obvious, the Academy and its instructor invests al the time and efforts to create a good fighter only to have he or she turn around and move to another school and use the knowledge against the master.

Recently we’ve had a few students here and there go and train at rival schools and it’s cause some unrest among many of my teammates.  I know it’s America and everyone has a right to do what they please but it’s hard when you spend day in and day out helping someone, giving them the tools they need to succeed, and at a moment’s notice they chuck the deuces and give the ultimate slap in the face by training with a rival school.

Undoubtedly the level of loyalty and trust varies from student to student.  My bond with my teacher has progressed to the point where I couldn’t even fathom training with a different school, unless extreme circumstances required me to relocate to which I’d train at a school he recommended.  There’s so much drama surrounding the idea of becoming a “creonte”, traitor…I was just curious to see what everyone else thought of the matter or if you had any specific instances occurring at your school.  I can understand money being a deciding factor but there have been a few guys that have chosen to train at a different place for ego rather than skill and I can’t help but think, “WHAT IN THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING??”

I can only wish that other grapplers have the fortune of training under such selfless coaches/teachers as myself.  I have literally witnessed people offering room and board, free classes, even helping teammates find work only to receive the short end of the stick.  It kind of reminds me of my friends that are in the armed services.  Many of them hate “civilian” life because they feel that no one even their closest civilian friends have their back.  That ‘every man for themselves’  mentality is human nature but does not foster great personal relationships.

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26 Responses to “Who you callin a Creonte?!”
  1. Not everyone views their memberships the same way, which is something important to consider. They may not feel they are “building family” and the idea of being loyal to a gym may be absolutely out of their realm of experience. In some ways I completely understand that, but then again, my experiences with martial arts and anything like that were sparse at best. I did TKD where I did because it was convenient, not because I had any loyalty, and if you brought up loyalty I would have looked at you like you were crazy.

    I switched schools because my first instructor was a BAD FIT with me. I liked my teammates but my instructor was a bit, well, mercurial is the kind way to put it. I left because I didn’t want to be treated a certain way.

    If Royce Gracie opened a school next to ours would I join? Would you? On some level I get the loyalty factor, but in other cases, I recognize that people may simply be trying to find a) a teaching style that fits them b) higher level of instruction c) more advanced teammates d) a school that suits their schedule better e) a school that suits their wallets better f) a better “pedigree” g) a school close to them.

    I think ultimately it’s hard to find out real reasons why people switch, but when I switched schools it was definitely not supposed to be a “slap in the face.” It was because I was emotionally hurting. Did I tell people that? Nope.

    I have a difficult time with the friends vs enemies concept that you’re describing. If you like the person why not be happy that they’ve found a school that suits them better? If you like the person, why not be excited when they progress? Why does it have to be an “us vs them” mentality? I wish we could just embrace that we’re all BJJ people, regardless of schools. When I go on vacation in America I plan to visit many schools. To be very honest, I don’t care about affiliations or what not–I want to have the variety of experiences.

    In short, can’t we all just get along? 😉

  2. I was put in a terrible position. I was at school #1, and had two teachers that I really liked. Teacher A left to start another school. I didn’t want to lose either of them, so I started training at both schools. I felt that my loyalty was toward these two teachers, rather than to the school, so it was the best of a bad set of options. Both teachers knew; it was an open secret (several other students were also cross training at both schools). At tournament time, though, I listed both schools on my forms, and a different teacher at school #1 went completely ballistic on me.

  3. Georgette says:

    Julia’s comment and Kitsune’s comment puts this in a great light.

    I started training at School A in my area which was reputed to be one of the two best options in my city. It was very very close to my home and had a decent schedule. I paid 6 months in advance for a discount. During the second month there, the instructor said something highly inappropriate and unprofessional to me, during a private meeting in his office one evening (I wanted to discuss some schedule changes and changes to class structure). I left the 4 months’ of tuition and never looked back.

    Switched to school B (and two friends from A followed me eventually.) School B is much farther from my house but I don’t care, the training partners are better and the instruction is better and I’m happy. School B has drama and issues (as all families do) but I wouldn’t leave because I do consider it a family. HOWEVER, like real life families, if something happened or changed such that my “family” became abusive or otherwise unhealthy for me, I would distance myself and pursue my goals elsewhere. After all, it’s not like I’m learning the secret formula for Coke and then taking it to Pepsi… sure there are some tweaks and finesse details that differ from place to place, but the essentials are pretty much the same everywhere, so you might as well train with a team that fosters your own growth.

    We have had a few people leave our academy and train elsewhere, and I still call them dear friends. I don’t begrudge them the changes they made to maintain a happy forward progress in this art we all love. I sometimes envy them when dramas or personality conflicts pop up, but the grass isn’t greener enough for me to make me switch. It was for them, so I’m happy they found a resolution that enabled them to keep training and be happy.

  4. Just Passing Through says:

    “I have a difficult time with the friends vs enemies concept that you’re describing. If you like the person why not be happy that they’ve found a school that suits them better? If you like the person, why not be excited when they progress? Why does it have to be an “us vs them” mentality? I wish we could just embrace that we’re all BJJ people, regardless of schools. When I go on vacation in America I plan to visit many schools. To be very honest, I don’t care about affiliations or what not–I want to have the variety of experiences.

    In short, can’t we all just get along?”-Julia Johansen

    I took this from Julia’s reply, because it sums up part of what I feel also about this post. I think that a lot of people who train at schools, especially schools that focus on MMA training or are simply in it for the sport aspect of it, end up slightly brainwashed to have that “us vs. them” mentality. Why not be happy for them for finding a different school? It gives them the variety of experience Julia talked about, a larger frame of reference.

    Just because you LOVE your school and feel a closeness to your teacher doesn’t mean that it is the best of the best. There are certain things that have played into you feeling that way about your facility and team members. Others may have entered the training center and felt the complete opposite. So as far as feeling like you, or your coaches and teammates, were stabbed in the back by a former teammate, you should just not dwell on it so much. You’ve talked about drama being a big part of your team’s issues. Focusing on someone else’s choices, and then dwelling on it and discussing it, is a way of starting up drama and continuing it.

  5. shakiaharris says:

    thanks for all the comments, julia I completely understand your response. People come and go within their first few months. I guess I decided to spur this discussion after listening to various extreme instances of departure. You’re absolutely right everyone trains for various reasons whether it’s for the family or solely for the workout, etc. There are a couple interesting articles where I believe it was Carlson Gracie that’s quoted on the matter and once i find them i’ll post them. There are more articles concerning UFC fighters and them switching multiple gyms before a fight and the backlash they receive obviously from the owners and coaches themselves.

    I guess I’m lucky to not go through anything too outrageous with my first school.
    Oh and “just passing through” i discuss everything, even the things that you would consider drama, I’m fairly open-minded and thoroughly enjoy other people’s opinions. Dramatic would be to name names, that’s dramatic, but thanks for your input and I completely agree with your stating, “Others may have entered the training center and felt the complete opposite.”

  6. shakiaharris says:

    savagekitsune– i understand what you mean about cross training, most of the partner gyms are pretty cool about it as long as someone’s made aware and the owner of our gym is usually pretty cool about that, they just don’t like to be left in the dark. How’d you do in that tournament by the way?

  7. CalfOfWar says:

    Lots of thoughts on this one.

    Being a person who has trained with a few different clubs, due to both ideological and geographical reasons. I find the notion of creonte-ism fundamentally flawed and an extension of old school dogmas.

    The individual certainly must have loyalty… To themselves first and foremost… If you are at a club and find that you are in an uncomfortable position for whatever reasons, you have a right and a responsibility to take your business, your skill and experience elsewhere.

    Obviously, if you have a deep friendship with your instructors, it goes without saying that you will stay there. On the other hand, I know of a few gyms that FORBID their members to train with people from other gyms.

    Is that not incredible? BJJ, from what I see everywhere else, is a community. Yet there are clubs out there that will tell their people what to do. Remarkably, some people will listen.

    What I like, are instances where everyone comes together, to enjoy BJJ as a community, regardless of club/affiliation. It is these entrenched, archaic notions that hold everyone back.

  8. I do appreciate your writing this article, Shakia! It brought up some issues that have been going on in my head for a little while and got us talking. Thanks for shaking things up!

  9. savagekitsune– i understand what you mean about cross training, most of the partner gyms are pretty cool about it as long as someone’s made aware and the owner of our gym is usually pretty cool about that, they just don’t like to be left in the dark.
    —————————
    Like I said, it was an open secret, I knew they knew. I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal, and I was completely blindsided by how upset the one teacher got when the tourney brackets were posted. He really took it personally… as a betrayal of the school, and also he wanted to know how he had failed me as a teacher, that I had to go to someone else to get something that I wasn’t getting from him. The senior prof talked to him, though- I don’t know what he said, but the guy got over it- he really manned up and was there for me 100% at the tournament, which I didn’t expect and really appreciated.
    ————-
    How’d you do in that tournament by the way?
    ————-
    Crash and burn!

    I scratched in gi because after the weigh in, I ran to the bathroom to stick my contacts in, and by the time I got to the mat they’d already called my bracket and DQ’d me. I would’ve gotten third even if I’d lost everything, if only I’d shown up. Lame!

    No-gi: there were 4 of us in the bracket and I came in 4th. I had 2 fights. Lost one by RNC and one on points after we ran the clock out.

    It’s okay, though, I feel like I fought well enough (for the fights I showed up for, that is) that I didn’t embarrass myself , and it was only my 2nd tourney ever (first big one). It was a learning experience.

  10. Josh Johnson says:

    We are not a highly commercialized gym. We are an old school performance oriented team modeled after the many teams I had the honor to train with in my trips to Brasil. My rates are dirt cheap. I always bring in esteemed Professors for seminars. I just brought in one of my young brazilian friends for a month on my buck. I work with people having financial problems. I have even had students down on their luck crash at my house. So if someone sticks around long enough to fight, compete for the team, or change belt colors ( I don’t currently charge for testing and I give the belt) then I expect them to have unwaivered loyalty to their team and instructors. It’s a committment thing. Simple as that. Young Americans especially, don’t really understand what a committment is. Most American adults lack discipline as well. This is easily evidenced by the high rate of divorce, the high turnover rate of jobs, and general lack of with-it-ness. I’m not part of the movement to “Americanize” Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We are keeping it real. I have strong expectations for my students and will strive to make them the absolutely best they can be. Some want to be strong competitors. Some want a well rounded martial education. Some just like the nightly combat. Every successful team has 3 things. Trust, Love, and Committment.

  11. reggie says:

    instructors should prohibit “creontes” from enrolling in their school.if they keep accepting then for thhe sake of business,we’ll all be affected..

  12. Georgette says:

    Reggie, I couldn’t disagree more. Sorry, but it’s not all about money or eternal loyalty. It’s also about learning and enjoying the activity. If you’re unhappy or not learning at your current school, it’s better to switch schools. If your suggestion was the law of the land, people would quit jiu jitsu rather than find a better fit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Horses for courses? If someone invests in you a great deal and you leave to advance yourself, I can understand why there might be bitterness. In Latin honor cultures, there’s all the more of that. If your current club is not a good fit for you for various reasons (too MMA-focused, not MMA-focused enough, cliquish, coach’s personality grates on you, interpersonal alienation or politics weirdness or you can’t learn well there for any reason), then the sooner you recognize that and find a club that’s a better “fit”, the better off everyone is. What is really annoying is that the “rules” aren’t written down anywhere, so if you are transgressing, you will only know if you have already broken a “rule” and it’s too late. I can relate to Julia and her comment about mercurial people! When you hear about training places being “like one big family” and then find you’re the redheaded stepchild…well, BJJ is rough already. To “not feel personally comfortable somewhere” will not help you learn. What are you doing it for, if you can’t learn…just 2 cents.

  13. shakiaharris says:

    what about the people that knowingly gym hop to avoid paying for class..or the mma fighters that do it to avoid paying a coach part of their winnings?

  14. Georgette says:

    Good questions. I think (at least in my experience) that it’s a small enough world that eventually you’ll be known for that and you will run out of “credit.” I think it has to be on a case by case basis as opposed to making a rule that, for example, if you started training somewhere else in the same city, you are prohibited from making this school your home. Which is what I interpreted Reggie’s comment (perhaps I was mistaken?) to mean. If you’re gym hopping to avoid paying for class, that will get you 18 free classes here in Austin where we have 18 schools. That means you’ve trained for maybe what, a month? two months tops? That’s nothing. I like to think people are slightly more long term in their perspectives than that! eek!

  15. Anonymous says:

    this is your typical brazilian bullshit. Nobody knows why that “creonte” left. If the instructor doesnt want to teach that student or starts hidiing techniques or small tips to accell their progress, only a FOOL would stick around and pay a monthly membership to some shitty instructor that is only their for a paycheck and doesn’t want to teach anyone anything becuz their too selfish or scared that their student might tap them out one day. Trust me this happens ALOT!!!!! In Brazil it happens even more often than america.

    • Anonymous says:

      Little late on the reply. There is no loyalty when you are paying for a service. The only Loyalty there is,is to the art of jiu jitsu. If you feel school B can progress you better than school A, it is your free will to go where you wish, no one should be oppressed into staying somewhere for a smoke screen that we call “Loyalty”. This terms comes down to a persons/school selfish want to keep and student or paycheck or both. Be your own person and do what you feel is best for you. Do not get sucked into someone else causing problems for their own selfish reasons.

  16. Pissedinparadise says:

    This is really great conversation. My teacher, who is a black belt, and has been my friend for 15 years, threw me out of the school for attending a seminar at a different school with one of my friends, and another student. He kicked me out of the school for attending the seminar, and he did it the lamest way , through a message on FB. Now, a group of my friends who have been wrestling at my house on weekends for some time, to supplement their training, have all been kicked out one at a time. He told them they couldnt train with me on weekends, and they did anyways. My friends feel are grown adults and arent going to be told what to do, by someone younger than them, because the person has a black belt. The teacher is the one who threw all of us out, for now reason, and now that we are choosing to train elsewhere, he has began slandering us on Facebook, calling us creontes, and BJJ orphans. This blows my mind, since he put us out. He has been talking about our character, loyalty, etc. This has sickened me so much, that I am considering just training at home, and not giving my money to anyone with such character flaws ever again.

  17. Oh my gosh! That’s AWFUL! I’m so sorry to hear it! One thing I would recommend – when going to a new place, make sure it’s okay with them that you train/visit other locations. Let them know up front that you have other friends in BJJ and you want to make sure that there aren’t going to be any issues with that. If they say “whoa!” then you know it’s not the right place. If they say “of course not!” then you know you’ve found a better place.

    I’m really sorry to hear that that happened.

  18. You learn the Martial Arts discipline because of training, the better the discipline you have to the Martial Art the better you become.

    This is usually a very subconscious area for a lot of people and
    they are likely to start working harder and concentrating more without realising.

    The respect comes from the sparring, the harder you hit someone the harder they
    are going to hit you back, the more you respect that fighter the more they will respect you.

  19. Anonymous says:

    You pay to be there- don’t talk to me about loyalty.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’ll tell you something I’ve faced this same issue myself … I was loyal to a school for 7 years for the sake of loyalty. Here’s what I can tell you … In modern day America don’t waste time! If there’s somewhere your more comfortable or can progress more go! You only have one life and one chance to be the best, make that chance the best possible. Since I switched schools my technique has increased a lot more and I love my new coach.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Creonte -> For a good definition, read up on Gianni Grippo

  22. My family members always say that I am wasting my time here at
    web, but I know I am getting know-how every day by reading
    such fastidious articles or reviews.

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