Sunday, September 11, 2011


Sorry, grapplers. I'm not here to advise you on how to break in to show business. I'm here to extol the virtues of video recording your rolls to improve your game.

My teammates and I have been recording our training sessions for the past year. The easiest method is to use a small (relatively inexpensive) camera like the Flip Video. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use and make it very easy to post on YouTube for you and your teammates to review.

Why do it? Because seeing is believing and when you see yourself at a distance like this you will gain a lot of perspective on your style, game, technique and even your energy, breathing and demeanor.

Here are some of the benefits of video recording your training sessions:

  • Videos reveal proper and improper technique. The biggest virtue of video recording is the way it reveals your good and bad habits. You just can't hide from it. When you do perform properly (e.g., take a superior position or perform a submission technique properly), you see the effect of your good technique. This reinforces the quality of your work by illustrating to you directly the effectiveness of your techniques, and it does wonders for your confidence as well. Likewise, when you do perform less than properly or poorly (e.g., poor balance/position, incomplete/sloppy technique), you see your mistakes and you can adjust better and correct them. And it's recorded, so you can review multiple times. Over time, it reveals your good and bad patterns and this is invaluable for the development of your game.

  • Videos reveal latent or subtle qualities/issues in your game. Less tangible qualities like your energy levels, breathing and overall demeanor are also revealed. Unless you are getting this feedback from your teammates or coach(es), it's very difficult to monitor these, and a lot of times, when we roll we just don't take note of these things. For example, on some days I can see from the videos that I was more intense or frenetic than others. I can also make note of my facial expressions (e.g., exhaustion, frustration, calmness). I also note how I react/respond differently to different opponents. All of this helps me to better understand the issues I'm having on the mat, and gives me insight as to how I can improve.
  • Videos reveal your teammates' techniques. We learn so much from or teammates and opponents in general. It's just as valuable to monitor the way your teammates respond to you and your game as it is to monitor you responses (see above). Just the same, you learn a tremendous amount reviewing video your teammates rolling with each other.
You epic rolls can live on forever!
One of my favorite things about jiu jitsu and grappling is that it's so honest. When you roll, your quality or lack thereof will always come out. You will always either win, lose or stalemate - there is nothing else (except, maybe getting injured, which, to me, is still losing) . We'll talk about this more another time. But, the point here is that the video is equally honest - it reveals everything. In that respect, it's a perfect tool to help any grappler.
So, there you have it. Hope to see you all real soon ... on YouTube.

On a side note, you can also watch old videos and reminisce on how cool your former beard or mustache was, but I digress.

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