A few days ago, a BJJ student was asking me for help with a
technique he saw on an instructional DVD. He didn’t do a very
good job of explaining to me, resulting in me not being able to
help him with the move.
He thought if he told me who made the video (Grappler X), that
should jar my memory, but it didn’t.
And after his disappointment in me not being caught up on the
latest DVD learning, he asked if I watched a lot of instructional
I told him that I do have a DVD collection at home, but that I
don’t watch them as much as I used to back in the day. In fact,
I told him that it seemed that the more I progressed in BJJ rank,
the less I watched the DVDs.
Needless to say, my comment provoked a look of disgust on his
face. So, before he stormed out of the school and demanded my
removal from the teaching staff, I thought I’d better explain
why I ended up watching instructional DVDs less and less as I got
promoted in belt rank.
When I was a white/ blue belt, I was more concerned about seeing
lots of techniques and trying to find something that my classmates
didn’t know. It was more about me learning something “new” to
get an edge over them during sparring than it was about me trying
to build a grappling game.
When I got promoted to purple belt, I got a rude awakening because
that was the first rank when I was “expected” to routinely submit
or dominate most (if not all) of the junior belts under me. And
the truth of the matter was that I couldn’t because I could
demonstrate a lot of stuff, but didn’t really know anything
that could be called a mat “A” game. I “knew about” a lot of
techniques, but didn’t really “know” them.
Once that reality hit me, I started watching instructional DVDs
that complemented my core game more and a little less for adding
another new technique that I could demonstrate in class, but not
execute on a partner during live training.
And since I wasn’t watching the DVDs to get a new technique to
beat my classmate every week and focused on my core techniques,
I just started watching the DVDs less.
When I got promoted to brown belt, I started watching the DVDs for
techniques that would ONLY fit into my game, not so much to add new
things that would take away from me being able to perfect what I
Now that I’m a black belt, I watch instructional DVDs to learn the
concepts behind the positions and technique. I don’t have to watch
a DVD so much to learn how to apply a technique (which I still do
because every instructor has their own unique way of teaching),
but to extract what I call the “5W’s” of a technique so discover
the strategy behind a technique and the best time to deploy it.
After that explanation, he said he understood my point and said
that he would take what I said under advisement. I hope for the
sake of his grappling journey he does.