Thread: Too much focus on techniques?
1/08/2006 1:14pm, #1
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
Too much focus on techniques?
So I was trying to show a friend a little bit about BJJ to get him to start taking classes with me, and it got me back to thinking about when I first started. I feel that most beginner classes focus too much on teaching a bunch of techniques, and not enough on proper positioning within positions.
For example, in my first couple weeks of learning about the guard, I learned a bunch of stuff, armbars, triangles, sweeps, etc. But when it came time to roll, I was never in a position to apply anything, I'd just wait around hoping I'd get an opening for something I'd been taught because I didn't know what else to do.
Then, one day, I was rolling with a blue belt, and he pointed out the basics of maintaining posture when on top, and breaking down posture when on bottom. Looking back on this now, it seems absurd to me that I had heard no mention of this simple, but vital concept, for like the first three weeks of training. Over the course of the next hour of rolling with that blue belt I swear my guard game, both top and bottom, got at least 10x better.
Does anybody else think that an average class spends too much time just drilling techniques, and not enough talking about the nuances of each position?
1/08/2006 1:41pm, #2
I wasn't shown basic posture in guard for a long time so it's the first thing I show new students when they roll with me. Then again, the reason it's so enlightening when someone finally tells you is because you've learned to appreciate how much it sucks to not know it.
1/08/2006 3:22pm, #3
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
I dunno, I've been at 4 different schools around the country now, for at least 3 months each, and in no class has the instructor ever gone over things like that, but rather, as you said, it has always been the blue belts that teach you those kinds of details. I guess your point about the class continuing on whether or not new people come in is true, but many schools have a separate beginner curriculum which involves people in their first couple weeks, and those still don't teach the basics like this, which is quite a concern to me.
I feel like in general, a lot of instructors have in a sense 'too much' experience so that they take details like this for granted and don't realize they have to be expressly told to their students.
1/08/2006 3:50pm, #4
We actually have a beginner's class that anyone can attend as long as they understand that only very basic moves will be taught. I love this class, as it gives me a chance to work my basics. No sloppy armbars here, goddammit. With just adding this basics night, our club seems to get new students "up and running" a lot faster than we used to.
When a brand new new guy comes in on a non-basic night, a purple belt is usually designated to pull him aside and teach him posturing and positioning all class along with a basic move or two.
The other thing to realize is that grappling just takes a lot of time. It seems like the more you roll and go to class, the more you internalize technique and almost do certain things without thinking. It's probably a lot easier for a blue belt to remember the days he had to think "Posture up, keep that base wide" than it is for a black belt.
Osiris has the right attitude about the team mentality, though. It is everyone's responsibility in the club to teach everyone else. If you take this to heart, everyone seems to progress at a MUCH faster rate.
1/08/2006 5:19pm, #5
At my club we have a beginners class where posture both in the guard and when someone is passing is taught as part of the basic guard circuit drill. We also have a rule that whitebelts shouldn't be teaching anything because quite often they're wrong, and there's so many higher level belts around that can help out with any questions.
1/08/2006 6:37pm, #6
Originally Posted by MuKen
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
What you described is exactly how BJJ happens- people often improve by improving the positions they know rather than learning new positions. Sometimes you could argue that one isnt "ready" to learn a new detail yet in a particular technique, because theres another more basic detail they havent yet got. You learn how to do these details by training.
Consider an analogy- if you're teaching someone how to throw a double leg takedown, it wouldnt be very practical to teach them the variations to finish the takedown (driving to the side, outside/inside trips, counters to a sprawl) if that person cant even do a level change correctly. -
Originally Posted by MuKen
Anyone who has gotten particularly efficient at certain positions Im sure can attest to this- you could probably list 30 details off the top of your head for the most basic guard pass- that means that you could spend the entire month just talking about the details of one particular position.
1/08/2006 7:35pm, #7
Gumby is right.
It's like teaching a roundkick. You can tell a person all the details like lifting the rear knee high, opening the hips, turning on the support foot, coming down on an angle etc and the person will be thinking "I've got to hit the kick-pad where?!".
Introducing too many details at first will only confuse the person, and will most likely be forgotten the second after you've said it.
1/08/2006 7:36pm, #8
I think that a lot of these problems could be easily remedied with more directed live drilling sessions instead of the usual "practice 5 techniques and then let's roll" class structure common to most BJJ schools. At the school where I've been training, as well as in wrestling practice, much more time is devoted to positional drilling, which allows for a better exploration of the different aspects of particular positions without the constant ego struggle of who can put whom on their back, etc. Experience is definitely the best teacher for the more detailed aspects of the game, but intelligent structuring of classes can certainly expedite the process."Even if one's head were to be suddenly cut off, he should be able to perform one more action with certainty."
1/09/2006 12:01pm, #9
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
By "nuances of each position" I didn't mean position=technique (as often seems the case in the BJJ world...) , I meant literally each position, as in guard, sidecontrol, etc. I'm not saying that an instructor should cover every detail of each technique he shows, I'm suggesting that maybe every once in awhile he should take a class and teach things like "here's a few ways you can break head control and posture up in guard, and here's what your opponent might do to stop you." A focused set of combinations and strategies detailing the battle for position within the position.
In my experience, these things just come as side comments while the main focus is to teach a technique, drill a technique, teach a technique drill a technique and so on, and then just start rolling. In the better classes, the instructor actually teaches combinations of techniques as responses to your opponent's reactions, and I think that approach should be applied to just general movement within a position too. There are plenty of classes where, for example, we learn guard armbar, then armbar->sweep if your opponent stacks one way, or another sweep if he stacks another way, etc.
IMO some classes should involve drilling simple responses to the little things your opponent might do, like hooking a leg as they stand and so on. Right now, the only time we ever do that is because we are drilling a handstand sweep, we never drill just the positional responses.
For example, when Bravo is teaching his rubber guard game, he drills things like punching the arm through to pin your opponent's hand to the mat. This isn't a submission, it's not a sweep, it's not really a 'technique', but it's a significant nuance of the rubber guard position that is very helpful for people new to the position to keep in mind.
EDIT: Sorry Ender, didn't notice your post, but that's exactly what I'm talking about. Every class I've been in is exactly like you said, drill a bunch of techniques, then roll. The fact that your class also includes just positional drilling is great. Like, I imagine a restricted rolling where you're in halfguard or something, and there are no sweeps or submissions: the only goal for the guy on bottom is to get on his side and get the underhooks, and the only goal for the guy on top is to flatten him out and cross-face him, and so on.
Last edited by MuKen; 1/09/2006 12:07pm at .
1/09/2006 12:49pm, #10
That makes sense to me for advanced guys. From blue belt on up. You could also include whitebelt in BJJ, but advanced in other style grapplers. But newbie white belts would get overwhelmed with that level of detail imo.