The Difference Between Seeing And Training

Few things will cause a BJJ addict to break out into a huge smile more than seeing a new, cool technique for the first time. For your first years in BJJ, you will see awesome new techniques nearly every class and you won’t be able to wait to see what your instructor has for the next class.

This is an exciting phase of acquiring an arsenal of moves for your game.

Some students become so focused on the acquisition of new moves that they develop a mindset that I call “Blue Beltitis”. They are only interested in seeing new moves of steadily increasing complexity every time on the mat.

“Oh, I’ve seen that before,” they say disappointed in old technique. They want a new move that will surprise their training partners. I understand that enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge.

But there is a big difference between seeing a move and training a move.

Seeing a move means that you can identify the move and have a basic understanding of the mechanics and overall idea of how it works.

Training a move involves repetition to a point where it is in your muscle memory to a degree that you can perform it with speed, precision, and correct timing in live training. This is very different than saying, “This is kind of how it works” and being able to demonstrate it.

When a boxer is taught a jab by the trainer, do they jab the bag 10 times and say, “Okay, got it! Now show me another punch”?

How many repetitions of the double leg takedown have high level wrestlers performed to bring their double leg to a level where they can hit it fast and with precision?

Jiu-jitsu is no different.

During my first training trip to Brazil, I was surprised at how few techniques we learned in a week of classes. It was one main position with a few variations. But you drilled that technique all week nearly to the point of boredom.

Tedious? Yes. But one thing was for sure…by the end of that week you were not going to forget that move!

In contrast, have you ever attended a seminar and saw a ton of slick new moves only to realize a week later that you had difficulty remembering exactly how they worked?

This is the difference between seeing and training a smaller number of moves to a point where you have them. In jiu-jitsu it isn’t how many moves you have seen, it is what you can use!


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