The answer is on the mat

I feel as though I have wasted entirely too much time watching Jiu-Jitsu videos about techniques that I wasn’t ready to learn yet. This might work for other people, but I don’t think I’ve ever learned one single new thing from any video I’ve ever watched. Unless I repeatedly drill a technique, it quickly gets forgotten. I should be spending my time really trying to understand the things I already think I know. The reason I can now triangle someone from almost anywhere is because I was frustrated over my inability to finish them, and so I studied them in depth. Not on any video either, I studied them on the mat.

The matI have decided to put myself on temporary restriction from watching any Jiu-Jitsu videos that feature techniques I have not already learned. I will also try to not watch any competition videos above blue belt (but that one is probably going to be hard to do). Videos are a great way for me to remember, or pick up on details that I’ve missed, so I will continue to watch the ones that cover things I do know.

Shihan is not a big fan of video training, he says “The answer is on the floor”, and I agree with him. However, sometimes when I’m on the mat there is too much information coming at me at once, and I can’t catch it all. The videos are good for reflection, to quietly focus on what I missed amid the clamor. I probably would not even be able to remember what happened in most of my competition matches if I didn’t have them on video. For now, I am going to try to use videos merely as tools to shore up my existing game, not as places to learn new plays.

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3 comments on “The answer is on the mat

  1. I think video can be useful in learning new things as long as you are rolling on a regular basis and have a chance to try it soon after you see it. Also I don't see any reason why you can't repeatedly drill a technique you picked up from a video during an open mat or after class or what have you. I've hit things rolling I've only ever seen on video on many occasions, although usually I only attempt that with less complex moves.I think the main value in videos (or books for that matter) is in plugging holes in your game. BJJ is often taught in sort of a haphazard way where the instructor just does random techniques each night or a bunch of things from a specific position. While that's good, it can leave you training for a long time without any idea what do in certain positions or situations. Especially if you missed the class some of those things were taught and have to wait for them to come around again. Obviously you can ask your instructor some of the questions, but given they're probably not going to be available all the time video is a good back up.I do agree you should probably not try things that are too advanced, but I often wonder how things are classified as basic or advanced. It seems a lot of things are termed "advanced" because they were discovered later chronologically than "basic" things and not because they're inherently more complicated. For instance, I don't think, say, X-Guard is by it's nature more advanced than closed guard, it's just an accident of history that it came along later and thus sometimes gets thrown in the advanced pile.

  2. i think watching videos is fine because not every instructor could know everything that's out there. it gives you a different perspective from different schools of thought. i guess you don't want to see my new Roy Dean bjj dvd, Gina?

  3. I agree with both of you, the problem for me right now is that I'm not rolling on a regular basis (because I'm still recovering from an injury) and I've been filling my head with a bunch of things that I haven't been able to drill. That's why I have temporarily stopped watching new technique videos. I have a hard time remembering the details of things that I watch on video (even if I watch shortly before I go to class). I think it's because I'm more of a tactile learner than a visual one. But I still like watching them, and think they can be great tools, so give me that dvd right now, Ken! :D

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