Tuesday, June 7, 2011


If you're anything like the modern BJJ practitioner, you have access to loads of great information and techniques. Sites like YouTube are famous for creating more rubber guard practitioners than Eddie Bravo could ever account for himself. The other main informational outlet we have is - you guessed it - instructional DVDs. These happen to be a personal favorite of mine.  They can be very effective and useful in developing your game.  At the same time, it’s very easy to get so overwhelmed by all these new and cool techniques that you don't end up learning anything . Being an owner of more than a handful, I want to take you on a journey with me - to master the DVD instructional.

Below are 7 helpful steps to making this happen:

1. Don't watch more than 3 to 4 techniques at a time.  This might seem hard to do. You may say, “Twiggson, its not fair. It’s like you gave me a new Christmas present (e.g., a Transformer and/or HeMan action figure), but you only allow me to play with it for 15 minutes at a time.”  Just remember, I'm the dad, and what I say goes. What happens when you watch more then 3-4 techniques at a time?  You start to jumble a lot of the same concepts together, and will often confuse new aspects of one move with another.  The same rule should apply to the entire instructional - one at a time as well. Simple enough.

2. Look for things that apply to you.  I see that a lot of time people are excited by a new move and will try them regardless of how it suits them.  Most of us are physically capable of doing most or all BJJ moves, but that doesn't always make them right for us. If you'd have a little bit of time to develop in BJJ, you've probably established a typical game you play based on preferences in combination with your body build/type, weight and other natural physical traits. Sure, Marcelo Garcia may be able to play closed guard (probably better than most or all of us).  But, we all know that it's his butterfly guard that fits him the best mostly because of his physical traits and how he's developed his game. That being said, this isn’t an ultimatum requiring you to stay in your comfort zone. Continue to look for new things, but note that you're more likely to be able to use and remember that which fits within your current game/style.

3. Write it downHave a gameplan. Don't go to the gym and blindly try these moves. Write down which moves you want to do before you head out.  As I watch DVDs, I like to pick out a few key points of certain positions and write down what might ring a bell with me when I’m training later on. It’s great to set a goal to try and use the move in rolling that day as well.  Better yet – create a checklist of attempts and successes of each position. Keep tracking your progress.

4. Drill, Drill, Drill. This is one of the most important things to do. There is no doubt, you're more likely to succeed in applying a move if you've drilled it 100+ times as opposed to one. This is also the least glamorous of the steps, but it's worth it.  The more you drill, the better you will get. Use proper form and bang out those reps!

5. Have a scheduleThis coincides with #4 (above). You need a set schedule and timeframe to be drilling moves so you can continue to progress.  Set a time with which you can be consistent to best avoid flaking and letting yourself down.  Have a ballpark idea of home many reps you want to do during your scheduled training and, just like #4 (above), the more time the better.

6. Have a partnerThis might seem like the most obvious because you can't drill without a partner. But, you don’t just need a body for drilling – you need a real partner who can match your dedication to learning. I highly recommend that your partner be familiar with the DVDs as well. Two people can almost always remember more than one alone.

7. Have fun.  Like everything in life, if you don't enjoy it, you're less likely to stick with it. So, have fun with your BJJ and training with DVD instructionals in particular. Everyone loves to roll, but there’s a time and place for this too. Enjoy the company of your training partner and get excited to evolve.

These steps are far from absolute. If you have any ideas you'd like to add that have helped you learn, please comment and share below.  Lets get to it, grappler.