Instructional Videos won’t help your BJJ

This is a controversial statement considering what a cornerstone of BJJ culture online learning has become. There was a time not that long ago that there were no BJJ Instructional Videos online, the best you could do is a photo based break down via Gracie Mag or an old VHS tape of famous world championship matches.

Access to good info is no longer a problem. If anything there is an absolute tsunami of technique explanation videos drowning your social media feeds but you are still encountering the same problem- your BJJ is improving at a snails pace if at all. How can we change this?

Just one more BJJ Video Instructional will not save you from this learning rut. You need a system and these are the 4 basic steps you need to take to really learn and improve your BJJ skills

  1. Study
  2. Action
  3. Trial & Error
  4. Reflection

If you do not have a system or routine of applying these new techniques you have paid for then you are like someone paying a gym membership and never attending!

Even if you have watched all the content, all the way through you will in time forget it, if you do not put it to work. This is like a University student who attends all the classes but doesn’t complete any assignments, just wasting time!

1. STUDY: I am actually a huge fan of video learning for BJJ but watching endless amounts of footage will not have much of an effect without time scheduled in every week to put your self in those specific positions. Ideally watch one technique or positional video at least 2-3 times through directly prior to your Action session. Write notes on key points and bring both the Video and your notebook to your Action session for reference.

2. ACTION: Hit the mats! You will need a drilling partner not a boxing bag with arms. (Drilling dummies are useless.) With your chosen technique or position set the timer for 5 minutes with a 1minute rest time. Practice your move continuously for the entire 5minute period. Then when the timer sounds, change over with your partner and the next 5minute period is for them to drill their chosen technique. Do this continually for 12 rounds- 6 x 5minute rounds each.You can give each other small bits of feedback but it’s best to let the person to get into a “flow” of skill repetition.

3.TRIAL & ERROR: Once you have honed the mechanics of any given movement it’s now time to put it to the test against resistance. This is where positional or situation specific training is key. This takes the form of rolling from a particular position applying the technique you have practiced against the dynamic resistance of another human. It takes experience and control for training partners to be able to moderate their pace and pressure so you can work at for example 50% of actual full competition rolling pace. If you have teammates who are happy to help, this gradual increase in resistance is the best way to work your technique through the Trial and Error phase. Take notes as you work through multiple rounds of specific training to know what worked or didn’t.

Once you are confident that you understand what makes and breaks the position gradually increase the resistance to 70-80% of actual rolling. Does the sweep, pass or takedown still work? Take more notes and get ready to roll, the real test of how good your technique is. This process will take many sessions over weeks and months.

4.REFLECTION: Humans learn from taking time to reflect on their experiences. Do this within 24 hours of your Trial & Error session. Whether you are reviewing your written notes or watching video of yourself rolling you need some feed back to be able to update the way you approach the technique. You must identify mistakes and successes. For your mistakes research the counters and corrections necessary in your next Study session. Then write down a short checklist (2-3 things) of changes you will make in your next Action session and be sure to focus on those when drilling. Carry this focus into your next Trial &Error session so you do not repeat your mistakes. You will encounter new mistakes but this is key in your process of BJJ development.

Now that you have a method for integrating new techniques into your training week you can use it to approach any new aspect of Jiu-jitsu or other forms of complex skill acquisition and development. Watch the Instructional videos but make sure you couple it with a reliable structure of practice and reflection that will help it stick. Your BJJ game will improve dramatically in much less time.


Community Appreciation post!

Emanuela D'Annibale is a great leader of Jiu-jitsu team Arte Suave. She has been giving great support to her students by being an Academy Subscriber.

All members of her gym have access to the Bulletproof for BJJ program because of her generosity. It started with COVID lock downs and trying to go the extra mile for her team.

She has advocated for us and our program, which she uses regularly. She has been patient when we made mistakes and serves as a real beacon for strong women in our BJJ Community.

We would like to thank Emanuela and the Arte Suave team. We appreciate all the great work you do to run an academy, train, battle injury and show up for your people every day!