Learning Bjj from Youtube Videos: Good or Bad?

When the topic of training mistakes comes up, immediately “beginners watching too much YouTube” is the first thing mentioned.

This is so common that YouTube bjj has developed a negative connotation in many an instructor’s opinion.
“YouTube is bad for bjj”.

In their enthusiasm to get better faster, many beginners scour YouTube for advanced techniques and then want to try them out at the academy.

Unfortunately, this works against them and they waste their valuable training time on low percentage techniques.

Jiu-jistu legend Roger Gracie stresses that if your basics are not strong and you try fancy Youtube techniques, that you open yourself to being in trouble in the roll.
Roger (who himself uses a basics centred game with great success at the World level) says that it is harmful for beginners to watch too much Youtube at the beginning of their study of jiu-jitsu.

This is a valid point.

On Jiu-jitsu Times: The Most Important 6 Submissions that White Belts Should Learn in Bjj

However, it is a BIG mistake to dismiss YouTube bjj videos as a very valuable training resource.

Those old school pre-YouTube video students of bjj will recall a time when information was VERY difficult to come by and the only way to get information on jiu-jitsu was:
1) To travel to where there was a black belt instructor and learn the techniques in person
2) Trade fuzzy 8th generation VHS video tapes with other desperate enthusiasts on the other side of the country.

If I am thinking that my leg drag guard pass needs a little improvement, a simple (and free!) Youtube search will provide a wealth of leg drag instructional’s by the best instructors in the bjj world.
We are living in an age of unprecedented abundance of information to jiu-jitsu – no matter you are on the planet earth.

This is both a blessing and a curse!

For those with the underlying foundation of the basics of bjj, this allows you to research and study from the best jiu-jitsu instructors on the planet.
For those students who are just starting out, it can be confusing by showing thousands of techniques that the student just isn’t ready for yet.
They start down the wrong road and it is detrimental to their progress.

An important point:
It is not possible to effectively learn bjj JUST from YouTube, as brazilian jiu-jistu is a FEEL based art.
You have heard the term “invisible” jiu-jitsu to explain how weight distribution and pressure are SUPER important parts of why a technique will or will not work.
The feel of a technique is impossible to convey through a YouTube video and this is why having a qualified instructor is essential to you learning bjj.

How do you feel about learning bjj from YouTube?


  1. In my case, I can only travel 240 km once a week to train at the academy with people of good level, other days I train with friends practicing from YouTube and practicing what they learned in class when I travel, YouTube in our case it helps us to continue training techniques but we must go slowly and not seek complex techniques

  2. Blue belt here, I’m one of those people who have negative connatations to youtube training for the exact same points mentioned here. At my local university club, they had a guy who had been in the club for 4 years- but couldn’t do an armbar from guard or any basics really. All he had was size, so rolling with him, I felt bad for him. 4 years of youtube training vs approx 20-22 months of training under an RT associated gym. Took his back in 15-20 seconds. He didn’t try to shrimp or anything, just had the typical “lazy” game. Typically, I’m ok with lower ranks, but this was one of those guys who “claims” he has experience and walks around like “that guy.” Personality bugs me. So internet vs formal; go with formal-they destroy that ego and you’ll actually learn bjj.


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