BJJ Information Overload: How Can We Learn Anything With So Much Information?

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I saw a post on an internet forum devoted to BJJ that rang true for me.

“Does anyone else find it mentally stressful to have TOO much BJJ information nowadays? With all the videos, membership sites available, and the pressure for people to keep “current” with every latest development, I think is can be mentally taxing.”
– “HotSteppa”

Yes! I can relate. I’ve downloaded multiple video instructions by legends of BJJ that I really want to see..but…I just can’t get to it all.

One of the most common complaints of new students of jiu-jitsu is that they feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of techniques there are to learn – even if we confine our discussion to talking about the “basic” techniques.

The feeling of being overwhelmed does not stop when you have a colored belt around your waist. The innovations that are occurring constantly in the sport are creating new positions, individual techniques, and systems that instructors try to keep up with.

New competitive rule sets are a catalyst for technical innovation as well. For example, before the popularity of EBI and submission only tournament formats, leg locks were used by relatively few competitors. The dominance of the Danaher Death Squad’s Garry Tonon, Eddie Cummings, and Gordon Ryan using more complex leg attack strategies spawned a whole new interest in studying the various leg lock positions.

Now add that onto the list of important positions that jiu-jitsu fighters need to know.

The problem here, in addition to feeling overwhelmed, is that we may spread our training efforts too thin and only learn a lot of stuff at the surface level.

As the saying goes: “The best way to learn nothing is to try and learn everything.”

The truth is that one will never be able to learn it all, and certainly not to a deep level where one can use it against black belts.

For newer students, the abundance of information is doubly confusing because it distracts them from learning the solid, and less flashy, fundamentals.

As has been said before: “I think the biggest thing is that they want to learn all of it, and highly technical stuff without a solid grounding in fundamentals.”

One poster shared his philosophy of making sense of the tremendous amount of information:

What i learned was that I needed tunnel version. You’re right, there’s a million techniques and million ways to do them. I tried to learn everything and didn’t get good at anything. So I threw all the sh*t out of the window that would take me working for months to gain dexterity and flexibility and focused on a few simple and effective techniques that I could use in a lot of situations. That made me look at bjj different.

It made me extremely comfortable in all of the “main” positions. And I had a rock solid approach to an “A” game if you will. And once I was comfortable enough with that stuff I just found ways to add to it later. Definitely slowed things down, made me think less, and I didn’t have to drill 8,000 techniques with the hope that one would stick.

– A_Butler

This is perhaps the most sensible approach to being spoiled for choice when it comes to BJJ information overload.

Focus on fundamental techniques. Develop an A Game where you develop a deeper understanding of a smaller subset of techniques that work for you. Then add bits and pieces as you continue to learn jiu-jitsu.


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