Are Jiu-Jitsu Private Lessons Worth It?

Private Jiu-Jitsu lessons can be expensive. The main question that we all ask ourselves during our BJJ progression is, are privates worth it? What are the benefits? How much do they cost? What do I need to prepare for a private lesson? I had the same questions so I went out and gathered the information for you!

Private lessons in Jiu-Jitsu are worth it. Private lessons are customized for you and what you want to learn. If you’re finding holes in your game or techniques you want to learn more about (or are lacking at) private lessons will directly help you. Only doing group classes means you’ll have to wait to get additional teachings on a technique. Private lessons are not a requirement and you will still succeed in Jiu-Jitsu without them.

Benefits Of Private Lessons

The benefits of taking private lessons are the student gets exactly what they need to know for a technique, position, or hole in their game. A private lesson is tailored to the needs of the student while providing direct one-on-one help. If you can afford them, they will provide quicker improvements to your game.

Private lessons offer the student flexibility in their scheduling and time to practice. There are times that the typical class schedule is not going to work with you. Getting to class once a week might be all you can do, which can cause progression to be slow.

Scheduling a private lesson can help fill the gaps in training time and speed up progression. A dedicated hour one-on-one is a lot of time, compared to the <10 minutes in class.

It is important to note that taking private lessons periodically is great if you have the resources. But know that there isn’t anything an instructor would teach in a private lesson that they wouldn’t teach in a group class. You are paying for the instructor’s time not necessary for the information.

Should You Do Private Lessons?

There is no wrong time to take a private lesson and doing so periodically can drastically improve your game. Private lessons will help progression and provide valuable information that will directly benefit you. The more experience you get in Jiu-Jitsu, the more beneficial the private lessons become.

Private lessons are not a requirement and you will do great in Jiu-Jitsu even if you never do one. At the white-belt level, training in class with a group will give you the ability to work with a wide variety of people.

The more different types of people you train with the more you’ll learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. I’d suggest waiting at the least 3-6 months before considering private lessons as white-belt. This way you’ll know what techniques or gaps are in your game that can be worked on.

Check out this private lesson that Roy Dean posted!

Progressing through Jiu-Jitsu and getting some experience under the belt (pun intended? Maybe!) will expose what techniques or positions need work. Without a private lesson, you may have to wait an unknown amount of time to get that technique fixed up. Taking a private lesson can target the technique directly and have the instructors undivided attention for the entire time.

Private lessons are tailored to you and what you want to learn. In a group class, your lesson is not tailored and you’re being taught what everybody else is being taught. If you’re finding that there are some techniques or habits you are falling into that’s not being fixed in class, consider taking a private lesson!

Cost Of Private Lessons

Prices of private lessons vary from instructor to instructor. Higher profile instructors can charge upwards of $250 per hour while most privates will be $60-120 per hour. Some places charge based on the belt level of the instructor teaching. Instructors as higher belt levels can charge more per hour, for example, a Black belt: 100/h, Brown: 80/h, and Purple: 60/h.

Why Do Prices Vary So Much With Private Lessons?

There are a few different types of instructors that can cause prices to vary. The three common types of instructors are high profile, steady rate, and the non-business one.

High profile instructors are the people that everyone hears about or is a high-level competitor. Instructors that easily fall into this category are, John Danaher, Marcelo Garcia, Renzo Gracie, and Keenan Cornelius, to name a few. Their more expensive because they have proven themselves in the industry. They’re also well known so many people are going to want to be trained by them.

A steady rate instructor is true in sticking to a business plan. They will have a flat rate per hour that they charge. Some instructors may vary the price depending on the belt level. Teaching a beginner may cost less because of the knowledge a newer or intermediate student has compared to a brown or black belt. In most cases though, these instructors will charge the same rate to anyone that wanted a private lesson.

The last type of instructor is the type that knows your skill level and knows if it is worth it for you to pay for private lessons. The instructor may tell you that going to class will be just as beneficial at your current skill level. If you’re persistent enough these instructors may discount the price knowing that you can get the same information in class.

Choose The Right Instructor To Teach You

Choose the right instructor for what you want to learn. This may sound obvious, but maybe the instructor at your gym doesn’t specialize in the technique you want to get better at. It’s alright right to branch out to find an instructor that specializes in the technique you want to advance at.

Researching the instructor or communicating with the instructor before the lesson can help you get the private lesson you’re expecting.

Researching instructors that specialize in the technique or position you want to learn will make for an amazing lesson. The instructor will have a lot of experience and exposer to many different situations using that technique.

Communicating with the instructor before the lesson will allow them to tell you what their specialty is and what they enjoy teaching. I’m not saying a black-belt doesn’t know what they’re doing, but having someone that spends a majority of their time in half-guard will know more than someone who doesn’t.

At lower belt levels choosing an instructor that specializes will not be as important. The details and information they have for the level you’ll be able to learn it at is more than enough.

How To Prepare For A Private BJJ Lesson

To prepare for a private lesson be sure that there is a technique you want to learn more about. Write down questions about the technique or holes in your game while using the technique.

Be specific about what you need to learn and ask if you can bring a friend (someone that is of similar skill to you). Also, don’t forget to bring something to take notes and ask if it is alright to video key moments in the lesson.

Have Questions And Something To Work On

The primary reason to consider private lessons is having a specific question about a technique or position. The questions could be about learning a technique, the details, specific aspects, and many more. It’s not advisable to go into a private lesson without having any questions or not knowing what it is you want to improve.

The key is selecting something specific and focusing on that small aspect of the technique. Asking to learn more about armbars is very broad! There are armbars from the guard, flying armbars, armbars from the mount, armbar from the back… the list goes on!

Going into private lessons without any questions can be beneficial too. It will allow the instructor to show their favorite (and most refined) techniques to you. The openness may lead you down a path you haven’t considered. Maybe the Reverse De La Riva Guard was something you never considered and that is the instructor’s specialty! The options are endless.

Bring A BJJ Practice Partner

Bringing a partner with you to a private lesson is beneficial. Learning techniques and observing details can be hard if there getting applied to you. They can be even harder when the person teaching them is the one your applying the technique to.

Ask your instructor if you’re allowed to bring your practice partner, just be sure they are similarly (or more) skilled as you. If you’re not close enough with someone in your class or the school the instructor will usually bring a student in for you.

Take A Notebook and/or Camera

Through the private lesson, there are going to be a lot of details taught. After class, it’ll be hard to remember all the details and there may be key moments you want to be documented.

Jotting notes down will be worthwhile so you do not forget what was taught. After the lesson, your mind will be overloaded with details and it’ll be easy to forget a lot of it. Having notes written down throughout the private lesson will be a tremendous help later. I’d recommend taking notes after every class too, not just private lessons.

Taking video is so readily available now with mobile phones that you should also video parts of the lesson. Ask the instructor if it is okay first, but if it is, video key explanations they give or key details they show.

In some cases, you can just set up your phone and video everything from a distance. If there is something you feel like you need a close up of, just get your phone to get a better video of the explanation. Try not to go crazy and capture every moment as it could be frustrating for your instructor to constantly have a camera stuck in their face!

What To Expect During A Private BJJ Class

Private lessons will generally start by going through your questions and what you want to work on. If the class is 1 hour expect the first 10 minutes to talk about the technique or position you want to go through.

For the next 40-50 minutes will be going through the details of the technique, doing drills, and diving deep into it. The last bit of class could end with some light rolling and going through everything that was taught during the class.

If you didn’t have a particular skill or technique you wanted to work on, the instructor will talk to you about what you want to improve on. It can be general Jiu-Jitsu techniques or positional techniques. They’ll then create a plan for the rest of the private BJJ lesson.


Private lessons are worth the money as they will directly help you. The instructor will give you one-on-one help with a specific technique, position, or skill you want to learn more about.

Without a private lesson, you may have to wait an unknown amount of time to fix or learn a technique. Scheduling a private lesson can help fill the gaps in training time and speed up progression.

The more experienced you are in Jiu-Jitsu, the more beneficial the private lessons become. The lessons become more beneficial because you’ll have a better understanding of Jiu-Jitsu as a whole. More time will be spent going through the details and strategies of the technique. Having less experience means more time will be spent teaching the student the fundamentals of a technique – which might be what you need!

After the private lesson is finished it’s important to reflect on the lesson as a whole. Go over your notes and write down any last thoughts that come to mind. Then, go through the following questions and answer them truthfully. It’ll help with the next time you take a BJJ private lesson so you can make the most out of every lesson!

  • Did the explanations and techniques make sense?
  • Do you think what you learned will work for you?
  • What was the experience like?
  • How was the instructor? Did they listen? Were they open to your questions?
  • Did the lesson help or fix your initial problem?
  • Is another class needed to gather more information?
  • What would you want to have been done differently?
  • Did the private lesson fulfill your needs?