This may be one of my more opinionated posts but I am of the stance that learning from a professor that has a competition background can be more beneficial then learning from a professor who has never competed.
Now lets get it out of the way early, I am not saying that a professor who has never competed will not be able to train great students or great competitors. Nor am I saying that a professor who has never competed is not a great BJJ practitioner. What I am saying is that I believe competitors tend to have techniques that are more refined and polished.
Does this mean that all competitors have better technique? Not necessarily, since some competitors win by purely physical means. But in general, I would argue that individuals who has competed has a higher chance of having techniques that are tested and work well against different opponents. Of course there are always exceptions to this, I don’t disagree that non competing professors can’t develop this as well and that there other factors that contribute to being a great teacher.
I understand that competition is not for everyone. They can be expensive and time consuming. I myself compete mostly to test my techniques and to determine what works and doesn’t against opponents that I don’t normally roll against. But from what I have experienced, competitors move at a different pace during live rolls. The techniques are cleaner and come on faster. And in most cases, they also advance faster.
BJJ is a martial art. Our entire style is based on live combat, testing out the techniques we have learned and making it our own. Rolling against the same people everyday eventually will cause you to evolve slower or even in extreme cases stagnate. Nothing beats facing and testing yourself against opponents who has no immediate care about your welfare.
Remember, I am not not saying competitors are guaranteed to make the best teachers. In fact I know a lot of competitors who are great at competing but terrible instructors. But all else equal, I would probably prefer learning from a professor that has competition experience, with techniques that has been “battle tested” and refined in its effectiveness.