Most instructors offer private lessons, and we are encouraged through our Jiu Jitsu development to consider private lessons as a way to augment our learning process. Ive been fortunate enough to take a couple of private lessons, and have learned through a bit of trial and error some keys to getting the most out of them.
For starters, know in what area the person you are learning from is an expert. If I am going to do a private lesson with a high level wrestler who has short legs and has never triangled anyone in their life, Im probably going to ask them to help me with my takedown game. If the guy I am training with has won his last 5 big matches by passing his opponents guard and submitting them from the top, it may be prudent to request a lesson on top control. Use the internet, search for the person you are going to be training with and research them, after all you get to choose the subject matter on which the lesson is going to be.
One piece of advice Ive been given by people who know more about Jiu Jitsu than me is to consider limit the time of your private lesson. The idea is that in a private lesson you are getting far more information than you would in a regular class, so a 30 minute session may actually be a better choice than an hour or longer. This way you can cover one specific aspect of Jiu Jitsu and be able to absorb the data which you are being given.
Another key element is using technology to your advantage. Bring a camera to your private lesson and find a way that is acceptable to the instructor to record the new techniques you are learning. This may be as simple as setting up the camera and recording the whole session, but some professors are leery of being recorded and may want you to record yourself doing the techniques to another person. Discuss this in advance before the lesson starts and find a way. You can have the private lesson forever, and not just for that short period of time if you are able to record it.
Along with video recording, it is wise to bring a notebook and jot down any crucial details. Some people learn really well from writing things down, if you are one of those people take advantage of that.
Whatever you do, make sure you find ways to get the most out of your private lessons. These lessons can be very valuable or they can be a complete waste of time and money. A private lesson is only as good as the learning skills of the student who is taking the lesson, so dont assume that just because youre training with a legend you are going to absorb any of that legends skills. We are very fortunate in the sport of BJJ to have access to the very best, it is important to bear that in mind and respect the opportunities we get to have one on one training with such high caliber practitioners.
Emil Fischer an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete page at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj