Everyone wants to get better at BJJ, right? But how? Enter the BJJ instructional. Whether it’s by DVD or an online course, the thought of getting instruction from a well known instructor is tempting. And while finding the best online jiu jitsu course can sometimes be a challenge in and of itself, what is even more difficult is learning how to best utilize the instruction.

Will a DVD or online course really be the lynchpin that improves your closed guard game? It could be…if done right.

Let’s review the pros and cons of learning BJJ by video and how you can get better at BJJ with instructionals.

Advantages of learning BJJ with video instructional

How many times in class have you said to your instructor: “Can you repeat that technique?” Fortunately, when you are watching a video clip all you need to do is to hit the rewind button to replay the instruction. You no longer have to be that guy (or gal) who always wants to see it just one more time.

Another advantage to online bjj training is that you can really focus on nuance. By this we mean that you can find just about any position or technique and have it explored from many perspectives. You are not just limited to what your instructor says on a particular evening. With the explosion in instructional content, you can find entire encyclopedias of BJJ knowledge, so to speak, that will help you become a better grappler for a particular position.

A third advantage to learning by DVD or online is that you get access to world class instructors for pennies of what a seminar might cost. Seriously, this point cannot be emphasized enough.  How much would it cost to have a private session with Marcelo Garcia? You probably do not want to know…

Last, the production value of instructionals has increased over the years. As Modern BJJ has evolved so has the quality of the BJJ instructional. These courses are not your 1990s martial arts VHS tapes, or heck, even early 2000s DVDs for that matter. These days, you can expect that a course will offer good sound, lighting and editing to enhance the learning experience.

Disadvantages to learning BJJ with video instructionals

There is no substitute for learning in a real life setting. You could watch every BJJ video online and still not improve one iota if you never practice the techniques in real life.

The main disadvantage with learning BJJ by instructional is that you cannot receive live feedback. Yes, a training partner can help, but unless they are a coach or higher level belt, you won’t know if you are doing the techniques properly.

How to best learn with a BJJ instructional

Here are three tips for learning BJJ by DVD or with a subscription online.

First, alway have a training buddy. This will emulate actual training like at your gym.

Learning by yourself is tough. And since BJJ is done against an opponent you are missing half the equation if you are just watching a DVD or course by yourself. Find a training partner and watch the material together. This is the most practical way to get better.

Second, review what you learned on an instructional in your actual class. Find time after a training session to put your new techniques or approach to the test. This should sound simple, but you need to practice these techniques just like everything else you learn from your actual profesor.

Third, take notes! If you take notes during your actual BJJ class this should be a no brainer. Taking notes helps reinforces concepts. Approach the video lessons as you would a normal academic course. Write down what you learn and then try to summarize the principles. Of course, BJJ is not a writing sport, you must eventually practice on the mat!

Conclusion

BJJ is a sport that takes time to learn. Learning online can help speed up this process, but it must be used in conjunction with your real life training, not against it. Stay focused and study with a goal in mind.

 

6 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of BJJ Video Instructionals

  1. I like to view using training videos more of as a supplement towards my training rather than a replacement. There will never be a replacement for real-life training and supervision from an instructor in person. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use these videos to improve your technique or learn a few new moves. They have training dummies nowadays on the market such as those from century that allow you to apply what you’ve watched on videos on these training dummies. This is a great way to practice when you don’t have a training partner around.

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    1. Very applicable in these days as gyms close due to the covid-19. So many martial arts coaches and instructors are giving away free access to their online training materials. Check what’s good for you!

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  2. I tend to only refer to instructionals if I need to fix a specific issue in my game when I don’t have the time to discuss with my coach. This is because I do not have the capacity to sit through several hours of instruction and digest enough of it to be of benefit

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