Jiu-Jitsu Letter

Start at the End

When someone is having trouble with a technique, I try teaching it backwards.

Consider any submission. My favorite is the arm triangle, or side choke.

I’ll start the student at the finish. Have them try to memorize what a perfect choke feels like. Then start again with the lock a little looser. Learn how to tighten it up. Now add resistance. Learn how to make adjustments. Now, add a counter at half-intensity. Learn how to counter the counter. And so on, until we’re at the beginning, with a mounted position and hands on the mat.

Now we discuss setups.

Teaching this way, the student gets to experience success right away. He learns how the finish should feel.

If we start from the beginning, it’ll take a long time before the student learns how to make adjustments and counters to get to the end.

If you’re having trouble with any technique, try practicing it at the finish and work your way to the start.

(For more on this, check out Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning.)

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