YouTube And The Jiu-Jitsu Community

So, jiu-jitsu has changed so much in the last 10 years, it’s unbelievable. The amount of new academies, new moves, tournaments, and instructors has done great things for the art.

However technology has also made a huge impact. The amount of DVDs, promotions, and online videos has done both good and bad things. I wanted to talk specifically about how YouTube has changed certain things within the BJJ community both for better and for worse.

First, the rise of YouTube videos and instructionals has brought so many techniques and instructors to one place. YouTube has become a go-to source for learning quick moves that you may not have seen in your own academy. The availability to learn almost anything any time seems so great to many practitioners that people often overlook the negative side.

Another great benefit YouTube videos have provided the community is a place for lesser known competitors and instructors to get publicity and a place to advertise for the companies in the community.  This benefit is 100% good, however, and has almost no negatives attached to it. That is a great service to the members of our community.

So, now let’s talk about the dark side of YouTube availability.

The first negative comes when beginner students start using it as a go-to source for learning.  I am not saying that newer students can’t use videos to learn, but they should be careful not to impede their own training in the academy.

Another notion attached to this is the fact that YouTube online videos have taken some power away from instructors. Before the rise of online videos, instructors could control the order in which students learned moves and could help build a solid game from the ground up. Instructors could make sure students didn’t try and master advanced techniques before they had a solid base. Currently, its not uncommon to see white belts who have learned how to berimbolo or play spider guard, but have no idea how to utilize the closed guard or escape a basic mount.

The last way online videos have affected the community is by undercutting the value of seminars. Some people have the idea that paying for seminars is pointless now since they can see similar moves on YouTube for free. Obviously this logic is flawed, but it persists nonetheless.

So, what’s your opinion on YouTube and free online content in the BJJ community? Do you think the benefits exceed the potential liabilities? I watch videos online myself, but I’ve been at it for a while and try not to fall into any of the aforementioned negative categories.

Are you an instructor? If so, what are your thoughts on the subject ?


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