Over the past 10 years I've had the pleasure to learn under multiple teaching styles and teach full time for the past 7-8ish years. I've seen students who learn straight from concepts, some straight through details and its very interesting to see and hear the thinking processes when it comes to Jiu Jitsu from both sides. I truly believe there is never one way to teach, but I do believe in a process at specific learning stages that should be approached.
I don't necessarily want to use "newer" students as the focus but more learning stages. What I mean by learning stages is this, you could be a very well experienced students but when learning a new technique/concept, you could be a complete white belt. Kind of like the new wave of leg lockers. A lot of us over the past couple years have just been exposed to the systematic way of attacking the legs that we are beginning to notice in competition so therefore we are considered "new". So lets begin. Concepts, details, concepts, it can also be done details, concepts, details depending on whats being taught, what age group and type of class we are learning in. I've noticed most of the time when teaching students who just began training, its best to give them the concept of a move, clean it up later with details, then give more concepts at the advanced level, meanwhile for experienced students, details can be done first as they can understand and view the whole picture easier and make proper assumptions of whats around that move, then concepts to get a creative mindset, then back to details to really tighten the nuts and bolts.
When a new student first comes in, lets take a child for example. The child has no picture of what a fight consists of. Try to think back to when you were 5 years old. I dont know about you, but I truly believed if I focused hard I could become a power ranger or a beetleborg and that I could Hadouken the bully. Giving the students details off the start can be one of the worse things because they do not understand. What I have found that works best is allow them to play with the concept of the move, example is passing guard or establishing under hooks on the feet. Giving them a game or drill to challenge them which teaches the concept and develops the actual combative part of training. Once they grasp the idea, you can point out 1 or 2 details and then let them play again. For adults I short of do the same. Adults are smarter and can take in more, but I've noticed that when you give details first instead of the concept/principles of the position then the student becomes very cookie cut. Later the student may develop the concept of the move naturally through training. Our goal as instructors is to turn every student into DYNAMIC PROBLEM SOLVERS. Once I heard this, it all began to make sense to me. There are so many positions, variables, little scenarios that we encounter in each and every move and trying to cookie cut the move I dont believe is a good idea. Now I do believe in cookie cutting the fundamental technique if framed in the right way for students to understand that creativity is going to always play a large roll and that as long as the principles of each move are still in play to some degree then it will still work and be effective.
When learning, especially complicated moves, I try myself to focus on the idea of the move rather than details. If it is completely new to me, I am looking for the "why". Why am I going this way and what does it do mechanically. Once I understand mechanically and conceptually, then I begin tightening the bolts with details. Put it this way, if you lock one person in one room and another in another. Both same person, but one learns the concepts of each move and one learns technique for technique, the conceptual player will be far more effective in a fight than the detailed player at an earlier level and the detailed player will not shine till far down the road as the conceptual player will stagnant his training if he doesnt get the details involved. One concept teaches 10 techniques, one techniques teaches 1 technique. I listened to a video recently that Ill post below that talks about this idea and he uses America vs Brazilians and how each learn. It was very interesting and I agree with the idea of it all. A lot of Americans are use to a corporate world where everything is 1, 2, 3, 4. All the way from elementary days to the work force. We've simplified the life and education. I dont believe in teaching 1, 2, 3, 4 necessarily, sometimes it can be beneficial, but explaining the idea/concept of the move, the "why" perhaps and then breaking it down in a 1 2 3 4 fashion for drilling purposes.
I've noticed once hitting purple that it's no longer about what I know technique wise, but how I apply each technique, and the psychological way of using the move. Can you disguise your technique as one and expose it as another to trick your opponent. I had to begin learning deeper into the technique. Truly trying to find the "why" and "how" of every move. Focusing on the mechanics of every move. Once I began teaching the mechanics of each move and concepts of the moves I noticed the students begin sky rocketing in performance and even doing other techniques I've never taught but they just figured it out on their own. In other words, they are now beginning to think for themselves. While the students that are focused on 1, 2, 3, 4, have trouble breaking the way of thinking cookie cut and into a dynamic problem solver. They seem to always want the technique for dealing with every little problem they run into, whereas the student who understands the concepts can solve these problems or better yet, wouldnt run into those problems as often. Example when passing the guard, the head is extremely valuable and Danaher just talked about this. It's the furthest lever of the body and a lot lighter than its other parts. When passing guard, lets say a "knee cut pass", a lot of students run into the issue of knee frames. Once you clear the knee frame with a shin cut pass, simply cutting around instead of through, you begin the scrambling process of passing. If you are able to gather the head, then the knee frames are almost nearly impossible to be used and effective because the body cannot extend away from your leverage by controlling the head and keeping it close.
Jiu Jitsu is very simple, yet extremely complex. When learning something so complex, yet so simple we need to focus on the general concept/principles of each position/submission rather than learning thousands of techniques and trying to apply each and every one at every small scenario. Allow the techniques you learn to spark a bit of creativity and play.
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11/1/2022 01:56:15 pm
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Hey! My name is Stephen Miller and I am currently a Brown belt under Relson Gracie, training at Gracie Maryland (www.RealJiuJitsu.com)