How Does Your Bjj Instructor Teach The Technique Portion of the Class?

Flickr/ Creative Commons: Team Ironside

Most bjj academies that I have been to feature the same basic class structure:

1) a warmup anywhere from 10-30 min
2) a technique instructional portion of the class
3) free sparring / rolling

The technique portion of the class tends to be structured in one of 5 ways that I have observed (and each has their pros and cons)
read also: On Jiu-jitsu Times A Reader Question: A beginner wants to come in late to class and skip the drilling go straight to the rolling

1) Random techniques
This is the least effective method (or lack thereof!).
Maybe a sweep, then jump to a side control submission and end with a leg lock. No connection between the positions.
Whatever positions the instructor happens to feel like teaching that day is the subject.
Maybe something that they saw on Youtube that morning is what is taught in class.
The negative aspect is that there is no progression for the students or cohesion between the individual techniques.
Retention of the material is poorest.


2) The sequence
A sequence of positions that will happen in a match.
ex. Guard pass > side control > kimura attack
A typical succession of events that can be chained together and seen as a sequence.
This provides students a chance to understand a move at each progressive step of the roll and be equipped with a solid technique at each step in the sequence.
I favor this approach for newer students who need to understand improving their position in a roll and how they arrive at a submission position.
This also places submissions in a context.


3) The top and bottom
The instructor shows a technique from the top and then the bottom of that same position.
ex. How to escape from side control and then how to counter that earlier escape.
This helps the student understand what is the “battle” in each of the major ground positions and understand what each side is trying to accomplish.
You under stand how to counter the kimura better if you understand how to attack the kimura!
The students understand the “game” in that ground position.


4) The tree of possibilities
This approach is more beneficial for more advanced students.
In closed guard, you can learn a sweep, choke and arm lock from the same starting grips.
“If your opponent does this: do A. If they stop A, they open themselves up for B. C is another possibility from same guard grips”
There is a deeper understanding of what options are available from a specific position and how you combine techniques to react to your opponent’s defence.
Combinations are developed in this methodology.


5) Deeper into the variations of one position
Let’s say we are learning the leg drag pass.
The “basic” version is shown and we understand what makes a leg drag a leg drag.
Then followed by a number of variations.
ex. “The Mendes brothers prefer to place the knee on the ground. Andre Galvao prefers to do it this way because he can apply more weight…etc.”
Different grips and transitions are explained.
There is “more than 1 way to skin a cat” and multiple effective variations of a technique exist. One variation might fit your game better than another.

Which style of class instructional do you prefer at your academy?


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