I was thinking about this a little bit more and have some things that you've probably already considered but may be worth bringing up nonetheless.
When I teach anything, whether lecturing or on the mats, I try to always think about what has made the topic/technique hard for me to grasp when others taught me.
With jits it also comes down more to what I've done in my training that hasn't helped me versus what I could have done. The number one thing is not drilling enough after learning a new technique. This is something that you can make mandatory and establish a precedent that will be picked up by newer students. There is a tendency amongst instructors (at least my instructors) to show too many techniques for my taste. Regardless of taste, the more techniques shown, the less time available to drill each. Par down each days list to 2-3 things and make sure everyone is drilling appropriately.
One of the best classes I've ever been to was taught where every component of the class was connected. This started from warmups where instead of the normal crap or drills we were doing crunches from butterfly. Then we lifted uke from butterfly. Now warm we worked three butterfly sweeps, each building on the previous. Then we rolled starting from butterfly and working only to sweep or pass and then reseting. It was the most coherent class I've taken. I've thought since then about how to structure similar warmups that flow directly into the techniques being taught, if I ever teach bjj it is how I plan to structure training sessions.
Another more innovative thing you could do is have regular sessions where ample time is dedicated to alternative training approaches. For example, you could have one day a week where some amount of time is dedicated, prior to free rolling, to things like those ball drills that people rave about.
Just some musings.
For the first 6 months or so of my BJJ experinence, the instructor would show some unrelated moves then everyone would roll like it was tournament day...very rough on my learning process. The classes are better now, but I would kill for sessions like you just described.
Yes. It's better than newer people have a few strong fundamental techniques, than a huge bag of tricks that they can't use. You can always have everyone work something basic, but for those that are a bit more advanced you can always let them work on variations of the same techniques. Newbs work basic arm bar while advanced can do that, or work spin to far side arm bar, or other arm bar variations.
Originally Posted by UpaLumpa
Congrats on teaching your own class. My thought, albeit with limited experience, is that it sounds like your answer is you and the owner need to be rolling your asses off all the time w/ your students.
Originally Posted by NSLightsOut
I can always learn something when rolling w/ a white belt, but rolling w/ a good purple belt just makes you think differently. Rolling w/ a good brown or black belt is akin to fighting a superhero, it just makes you think that you don't even understand this damn bjj ****. I can only imagine that's what it would feel like after rolling with Jesus Christ. Like, "I don't know what the **** just happened there...but God damn I want to learn that!"
So yeah...if I was one of your students I'd hope you spent considerable time with me.
Good to shoot for. Tough to pull off when starting out. Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals (aka K.I.S.S.) will make white belts better.
Originally Posted by UpaLumpa
I tried to find the Matt Thornton video where he raps about a good coach just teaching fundamentals--as opposed to, say, the instructor's personal "game" or style of combinations, or even something like "advanced" techniques (which he disputes the existence of)--but YouTube hates my soul. Just trust me that he agrees with me.
When I started teaching (or really, 6 months in, once I felt I wasn't drowning), I tried to teach "magnum opus" classes, teaching whole swaths of techniques, making everything meaningful and related and important. It failed. Most of the time a warm-up is best done as a warm-up. Teach the basics, teach 1 concept or combination or position at a time, add rolling time, and stir. In my oh-so-humble opinion.
I don't think anything I wrote contradicts a need for, nor a stressing of, fundamentals.
Those ball drills are entirely fundamentals (positioning and keeping proper weight distribution during movement). Certainly making a clear connection between warmups and techniques doesn't violate anything.
Originally Posted by UpaLumpa
Just like switching rolling partners, insist that drilling partners also switch in between techniques. Because when you drill with a short guy then all of a sudden try to do something while rolling with a big dude, things aren't so easy to figure out.
This will probably sound obvious, but the classes where I have learned the most take this path...
Start by explaining/reviewing the fundamentals of the position
Learn 2 - 3 attacks from the position - Drill
Learn defense to those same attacks - Drill
Isolated sparring from that position, when swept, subbed, or improved upon, start over. Rotate partners.
Then we would roll regular.
It was simple, drove home the important points, and didn't inundate me with seemingly unconnected techniques. In two different schools, probably only 10% of my classes were laid out this way which makes me think that although it is obvious, it is not being done enough.
One other thing, and this isn't spam or anything, but have you looked at grapplersguide.com? They have over 50 black belts on the site, and tons of school owners there, and an entire section solely for running a school. You might get some more instructor specific feedback (like you originally asked for) there rather than a bunch of students perspectives.
I havent thought a class ever. But im a good observer, and i can relate to you the experiences of a friend of mine.
My friend who has a purple belt thought for a few months to ranked white belts for half a year or so.
He did a quite decent job, since his gig ended and he and his students came to our school. The whitebelts were respectable. Still beginner but having a grasp on the basics. Not far from blue.
In the end, he just about shore his time with each student, morally supporting them when they have a roll, not caring if a whitebelt is teaching another whitebelt, letting them have the last word, and not mauling them. It made for a tightly knit group of whitebelts that cared for each others progress. (and fearcely loyal to their purple belt)
I think the bond that students build in and outside of class can flatten the learning curve.
In the end its more of a person skill that i am talking about than a jiujitsu skill. But thats what teaching is, anyways.