Jiu-Jitsu Letter

Extra Credit

Learning from videos works. You can learn a lot watching instructionals. I’m always impressed when someone wants to show me something they saw on YouTube or Instagram.

I don’t think it’s necessary to do a lot of off-mat study, but it’s certainly helpful. These days, it’s mostly online, but books and DVDs are what I started with. Although the books are full of photos, I’ve actually gotten more from the text in them than the step by step photos.

Whatever extra teaching you find, the important thing is to try the technique. We have to experiment and be willing to look silly. By pushing to our limits of ability, we risk “losing” or getting frustrated, but this is part of the process of mastering something. It’s why I recommend rolling with everyone.

Of course, when you’re just learning, it’s better to try it on a less experienced partner first. Or practice it cooperatively. It’d be too hard to use a new move effectively against a more knowledgable partner, even if they don’t know exactly what you’re doing, because they’ll have the experience and an understanding of the principle behind the move.

Anyway, it’s not such a great mentality, the idea of “catching” someone with a secret technique.1 Share everything and learn together. Always keep in mind the goal of training forever.

  1. “The fact is that when there is intense competition, those who succeed have slightly more honed skills than the rest. It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set.” –Josh Waitzkin in The Art of Learning ↩︎

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