What is Brazilian YouJitsu? It's a term meant to capture those that seek all of their info online and don’t experience the full potential of a good teacher and live training.
When I first started BJJ in 2008, it was difficult to find detailed instructions online. You could find a move or two, but you would have to order the entire DVD to get the specifics. I was more likely to go to Barnes & Noble and purchase a picture book. In the books there were typically 3-5 pictures per move and the writing would fill in the gaps. Now online courses are more common, and they are able fill the voids. But online instructionals still won’t solve all of your BJJ problems.
Books and online content are both great resources and supplementation (especially if you have an injury and can’t train). You can view a plethora of content from many amazing instructors. Yet still, the best way to improve is learning fundamentals through good instruction, feeling the details of the moves through repetition, and live training.
Having good instruction will allow you to try moves that are tested and fundamentally solid. These techniques have been shown to work at a high percentage, and a good coach has a detailed knowledge of how to adjust them to different body types and styles while pairing training partners appropriately. How do you begin the process?
Learning the sequence starts by seeing the move and practicing it on a non-resisting partner. This gives you a chance to learn the mechanics of the move that will work best for you and not get frustrated. The details learned here are often the ones you can’t see or feel from online environments. So, if you are learning and practicing solid fundamentals, what’s next?
Once you’ve had a chance to practice the mechanics, the best type of live sparring is through “positional training.” This is where you are forced to practice the position on a resisting partner. The partner doesn’t need to go balls-to-the-wall at 100%, but they need to start giving common responses so you can practice timing and counters. This process can be repeated until you feel comfortable: review the technique, positional train, troubleshoot problems, etc...
At our gym, newcomers learn techniques on a non-resisting partner for months before they are allowed to positional train or spar. This gives them an opportunity to learn the correct vocabulary and time learn proper movements before any live action. After you’ve learned a solid move and practiced the mechanics, it’s time to ramp it up.
To test your efforts, you start to utilize the position in open live sparring and utilize the entries you’ve learned and honed. The entry is perhaps more important than the move itself, otherwise you’ll never get to use it!
Overall, online instruction is an amazing resource with benefits. However, it needs to be used as a supplement and with a goal in mind. Don’t just watch random video after video and expect to retain any of it. If you don’t have a goal in mind, I would highly recommend watching live matches. That way, you get to see what works in contested situations, and how people react in the moment.
In sum, to improve at a faster rate, jump on the mats and train as much as your body and schedule will allow, keeping on mind this is different for everyone. Moreover, set small achievable goal(s) before class (keep good posture in guard, relax and breathe on bottom) so that you can always come away with something positive. If you are unsure what to do, just ask an upper belt or your coach.
P.S. We KNOW instantly when you are trying a YouTube move.