BJJ: Online Training Programs

I’ve read a lot of commentary recently exploring the merits and potential drawbacks of online training programs. Ever since YouTube became popular, many instructors of all different calibers have uploaded videos of themselves explaining techniques. In some cases the techniques are groundbreaking and remarkable; in others they provide dangerous misinformation. Online training can be a great supplement to a healthy Jiu Jitsu training regimen, but there are a lot of potential pitfalls as well.

Programs like MG In Action (Marcelo Garcia’s online training program) amongst other big names are considered the very forefront of internet training. This method of training can be traced back to the original Gracie’s Combatives programs amongst others. Many people got their start trying out techniques they saw in instructional videos and then decided to take it a step further and try those techniques out on the mat. In fact, these training methods go as far back as magazines and books showing pictorial instructional material.

YouTube is a potential font of knowledge, but that knowledge is not guaranteed to be useful. My best advice is to always check the comments first and research the instructor to make sure they are legit; otherwise you could be missing key details or worse be given bad information.

Perhaps the most valid concern about online training programs is the lack of tactile development from just watching a video. There is no good way to describe certain aspects of BJJ, and if a person doesn’t put in time on the mat with worthy training partners chances are they will not develop. Anytime I learn a new move online, I try to drill it for long enough that it feels natural, I then try to deconstruct the move and figure out where it can fail so that I am ready for possible defenses to it.

It can also be useful to bring technology on the mat with you. Having a cell phone preloaded with a video of a move you’re going to drill for the first time is a prudent choice as chances are you’re going to fail the first couple of tries and having the video there will help you figure out why you failed. It can also help if your instructor is involved in your online training, maybe he or she has some ideas to help you incorporate the move into your game, and maybe they’ve already seen the move and have their own take on it. After all nothing beats hands on instruction.

With an ever growing arsenal of tools available to us, it is smart to take advantage of the hundreds of hour’s worth of material available online. On the flipside, we must be careful to not become reliant upon online training as it is no substitute for live drilling, rolling and instruction



Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III
training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling
Gear. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check
out his athlete pages at and


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