It is often asked of Rickson Gracie what he thinks a teacher should do to become great. The master can talk about this for days, of course, but the thing that's at the tip of his tongue shouldn't surprise you if you've been following his work. It goes like this:
"In order for you to be a good jiu-jitsu teacher, I think the most important element is the self-defense. Because with self-defense, you can approach anyone and give them ideas of how jiu-jitsu works. If you're just a very efficient ground fighter setting up your jiu-jitsu around the competition rules and the grips, and the lapel holds, and the berimbolo's aspects, you can teach somebody the dynamic of the sport, but you cannot offer them the understanding of being secure from the first eyesight, to the handshake, to the perspective of accepting the possibilities of, even though you're in a conversation with somebody, 'He may attack me with a punch,' so even though you're not expecting that, you have to have this on the back of your mind as a possibility.
"And only the self-defense will give you that kind of certainty of: at any distance, in any occurrence, even as I'm talking with you with a smile, as a practitioner in jiu-jitsu, you can be smiling at me as you're getting to such a close distance, I will be able, naturally, without demonstrating fight or anything, preparing myself for what could be next—you could punch me, you could headbutt me... So the self-defense will give you, in a very acceptable way, the initiation of any good conversation that could lead to a discomfortable fight, an uncomfortable fight. The idea of self-defense is the foundation of jiu-jitsu. And then, as you're comfortable against an attacker, when you start to feel you have options against the punch, against a club, against a headlock, against a grip, against two guys trying to attack one, what you should do, what's your best approach here, against a gun, a knife. So you start to get involved with different elements that are gonna give you an open mind for any situation that can lead to a confrontation. And that is the base, it's the core of jiu-jitsu."