I LOVE watching Brazilian jiu-jitsu videos on Youtube. I subscribe to all of my favorite BJJ technique channels and often find myself going down “rabbit holes” late into the night.
I even save the videos to my computer so I can easily reference the video later.
But even though we have unlimited access to multiple-time world BJJ champions at the click of a mouse, Youtube BJJ can have a negative effect on your jiu-jitsu when used incorrectly.
Because ONLY watching Youtube videos is NOT a substitute for training under an experienced instructor.
Here are three reasons why you can’t learn jiu-jitsu ONLY from Youtube
1) It creates confusion
Spoiled by choice, we can focus our training on the wrong techniques for our experience level. This is an especially big problem for beginners.
We have all seen enthusiastic new white belts come into the academy and want to try the Double Reverse, Inverted Spinning Berimbolo Gogoplata, when really they need to be learning how to escape side control and working on getting one solid guard pass.
Multiple-time world champion Hannette Staack, who operates her own academy in Chicago, said “I am not a big video fan for beginners, because they tend to watch a lot of videos and it may confuse them.”
Your instructor can offer the best technique selection and guidance early in your study of BJJ.
Also read on Jiu-jitsu Times: 5 Most Important Escapes For White Belts
2) Invisible jiu-jitsu
Jiu-jitsu must also be FELT to be more completely understood. Pressure, tightness and where your body weight is concentrated are all crucial parts to any position, yet are not easily communicated by watching videos.
I often show side control pressure as an example to illustrate this point.
With my knees and toes on the mat, my weight is much lighter on my opponent’s chest. When I make a subtle adjustment and drive off of the mat on my toes and direct my weight into my opponent, they suddenly experience an exponential increase in the pressure.
People casually watching the two examples will not likely see the HUGE difference because it must be FELT to be fully understood.
Black belt Henry Akins is a big proponent of this “Hidden Jiu-jitsu”.
Also read on Jiu-jitsu Times: Off the Mat with a Bjj Black Belt: Henry Akins – Part 2
3) You don’t know what you are doing wrong
Many times I have been shown a technique by my head instructor. When I attempt the technique, he shakes his head and says “No! You need to move your hip in THIS direction!”
That is what I thought I was doing.
There can be a disconnect between what we THINK we are doing and what we are actually DOING.
We need feedback from an experienced eye to correct such details. When we attempt a sweep, we need our instructors to say, “Your grips are correct, but you are sweeping them in the wrong direction. They feel much heavier that way. Change the angle so the sweep is more efficient!”
Now, I’m going back to YouTube to search for the counter to the Double Reverse, Inverted Spinning Berimbolo Gogoplata!
Learning Bjj from Youtube Videos: Good or Bad?