Here’s Why There’s Nothing Wrong With Being The YouTube Guy Or Gal In Your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class

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A discussion of several topics on the Inside BJJ podcast with instructor Brent Littell who is both a 10th Planet black belt and Gracie Barra black belt who teaches at GB HQ in Irvine, featured some interesting opinions on:

– the objective of rolling
– a student’s responsibility for their own jiu-jitsu
– why being the Youtube guy or gal isn’t necessarily a bad thing

First off, it addressed the focus of rolling. When it comes time for rolling, what is your focus? Are you just rolling to have fun and see what positions happen during the roll?

IBJJ: Are you measuring the success of a roll by whether you tapped it didn’t tap? Did you “win” the roll?

Or, do you have specific techniques that you are trying to work on?

BL: What you are talking about is creating measureable goals for yourself.

If your only goal is ‘who do I tap and who don’t I tap’ you’re going to be very frustrated. But if your measurable goal is ‘can I get stuck in side control, in a really bad position and get out today?

That is something very measurable. Am I going to be able to, if this person puts me in lasso guard, use the technique that I was taught? Even if you only get 1/2 way through the technique, and they are able to do something to negate it, then you go back and you study it again.

Second, it focused on the directed training, the student’s own role in directing their own training. Jiu-jitsu is vast. You must develop one’s own game according to your physical attributes, personality, strengths, and weaknesses.

IBJJ: At a certain point in my development as a student I realized that I had to be responsible for it (learning). I had to have some skin in the game. I couldn’t just show up and expect to be hand fed everything from my instructor. I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to be aware of it.

Finally, they took a look at the resources available for BJJ students and why YouTube is not necessarily a negative thing in keeping students interested in training.

BL: ….Ok, you almost started right in the YouTube era. When I started jiu-jitsu, I had no choice. Whatever your instructor taught you is what your instructor taught you.

Because first of all, instructionals were ridiculously priced, so you were already out of it. If you were like me, a 19, 20, 21-year-old kid, you got priced out of the market immediately. Just paying your jiu-jitsu bill was too much.

There wasn’t YouTube; there weren’t all these avenues to gain insight into jiu-jitsu. When you went to a tournament you might hope that you remembered how somebody did something.

Nowadays, we don’t have that excuse anymore. We can’t just say, ‘Oh, there’s no other way for me to get jiu-jitsu. There is so much out there.’

You know, we make fun of blue belts who are YouTube guys. ‘Oh, here he goes trying some YouTube move’. But first of all, if it keeps him active in jiu-jitsu. If it is what keeps him interested…great! The more people on the mats, the better.

First of all, this is the process. At least he is showing me he is taking an interest in his jiu-jitsu and he is expanding his horizons in terms of knowledge and all of that. Because that is the type of mindset that eventually is going to lead them to become a great jiu-jitsu player. Because they are willing to look at all types if things, try all sorts of things. Even if it’s stupid. ‘Oh look at this guy, he’s trying berimbolo, but he doesn’t know the basic scissors sweep.

Second of all, whenever I hear that I go, ‘That’s because the instructor sucked at teaching the scissors sweep. If he taught the scissors sweep right, the guy wouldn’t be looking to do something other than the scissors sweep.

Here are some takeaways from the discussion:

1) You should have a specific intention for your rolling and break down your progress into smaller, measurable goals.

2) It is your own responsibility to direct your training. Choose positions and techniques that look like a fit for your game and take an active role in your development.

3) YouTube can be a positive factor in learning BJJ by fueling the curiosity and interest of students.


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