What's your preferred way to learn techniques?
I just got back from my first BJJ class. Before I get to the point, I'd like to say that I love it and I'm hooked already. The class went half an hour past its official ending time and I still wanted to keep training.
Okay, here's what I wanted to bring up. I learned today that I have the damnedest time absorbing a technique just by watching somebody perform it on someone else. I can't stand there as an observer and then know what to do when I'm in the same situation thirty seconds later. It's like the information just doesn't transfer. For example, the teacher demonstrated a triangle defense against being "cribbed" by a wrestler about five times in a row, and even after seeing it all those times, my mind just went blank when I found myself under side control. I had no idea what to do.
What did work for me was being put under side control and then having a third person stand by and coach me through each step--"push his head away with your left hand, now get your left leg over his head..." And then I repeated the whole sequence again and again until I could do it without thinking about it (or at least without being reminded).
Is there any reason to worry because I can't learn by watching? Anybody else have the same issue? I'm thinking it doesn't matter how you absorb techniques as long as you do. If it takes another guy one time watching a technique and it takes me thirty times doing it, we're in the same boat at the end of the day as long as we both got it somehow, right?
You'll generally find that people are visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. The first learns by seeing (watching demonstration, looking at pictures and movies, reading) second learns best by hearing (listening to speech, music), and the third by doing (moving around, trying it). Ideally you would be able to learn well from any of them.
That said, you don't really need to worry about this after a single class. For the first couple weeks or months, most people can't remember what they were taught just five minutes ago. It takes time and practice.
The visual learning will come over time. I had the same problem when I first started. The ability to translate what you see into what you do will improve. One thing that helps me is to pay a stupid amount of attention to detail. I try to consciously identify what each body part needs to be doing, even if it's not directly called out by the technique. The idea is to shift yourself from just seeing to *observing*.
Make sure you write down all of those details when you get home. You'll thank yourself down the road.
EDIT: Don't worry too much about triangling someone from under sidemount right now. ;)
On your first day, you shouldn't worry too much about techniques. Just relax and try to get a feeling for what position you're in (guard? mount? half-guard?), where all your bodyparts are at, which parts of your body are essential for balance, if you have balance, distance between your own body and your opponent's.. Just developing basic positional awareness.
I feel that I learn techniques better when I go through my notes, pictures or videos right before a traning session and then make sure to drill them a few times once there is time.
I learn the best by doing. I think thats the best way to learn a sport. We drill a technique for maybe 5-10 minutes max and then spar. Our class is very spar heavy because you need to adjust the technique on different people.
I like this best because we learn to apply the technique on people quickly, then we refine the technique as we spar and when we have open matt sessions.
Repetitions over and over again
Don't worry - you can learn BJJ even though you're stupid.
(Just fucking with you)
What everybody else said.
Once you understand the mechanics of the positions, i.e., side control, half guard, full guard, turtle, full mount, it will be a lot easier for you to replicate a technique or submission from simply watching it a few times. Even the simplest of movements or transitioning from one position to the next, you will find, is actually a pretty intricate series of small steps. So don't worry if you feel a bit lost for the first few months. After a while blank spots will fill in like pieces of a puzzle, just keep at it and ask questions.
What the hell is "cribbed"?
I started BJJ about 2 months ago and I still feel like that sometimes. It gets better as you get more experience, though. I can relate this to my experience training in striking. I'm at the point where I can get a hold of the movement of a technique in striking very quickly after observing just because I'm used to how my body should feel which means I don't have to work very hard to remember how my body should move. That means I am more free mentally to focus on the new technique, rather than having to deal with everything completely at once. In grappling, I'm still waiting for that moment, but it will come. Just keep at it! :)
Originally Posted by Glutamine