In the pre-YouTube days of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (yes, there was such a time!) learning new techniques meant either having access to one of the few black belts teaching outside of Brazil or attending a seminar twice a year.
Then entrepreneurial-minded black belts started producing instructionals of widely varying quality.
Suddenly, students living in small cities or in the frozen north of Canada had access to all the BJJ techniques their hearts desired.
Since those early days of BJJ, most cities have at least one black belt.
But I never stopped watching and enjoying BJJ instructionals. These videos gave me new ideas that stretched my thinking about what was possible in jiu-jitsu.
After learning a position in class, I would often go home and watch several videos on that same position to try to gain a deeper understanding of the details. Sometimes the instructor would use an analogy that would act like a turn of the camera lenses, making a blurry understanding suddenly much clearer.
Want to learn all about the omoplata?
A YouTube search will reveal multiple videos by different World Champions.
How does Xande Ribeiro teach it differently than Andre Galvao?
How does Ryan Hall explain the principles?
What ideas do they have that you can try?
They may have a different way of explaining the move than your instructor that just makes it click for you.
Many of these top-level guys know what works against black-belt level opponents. You can save years of wasted time by having access to their hard-earned technical advice.
I believe that learning solely from videos is not the best route to black belt. The art must be felt. There are so many subtleties in weight distribution, pressure, grips, and fine details that require physical contact in order to be truly understood.
But that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself entirely to in-class instruction.
I have always liked to do extra study in whatever subject I was interested in. When I wanted to get a scuba diving certificate, I was not content with studying only the course materials. I read many different references to gain both an overall picture of the breadth of knowledge, and I enjoyed anecdotes that deepened my enthusiasm.
Today, we have unprecedented access to instructionals. Top-level instructors are releasing position-specific videos on every conceivable aspect of jiu-jitsu.
If you want to get obsessed with adding a new position to your game, check out the instructionals by some of the top instructors. Learn their entire system within the position, not just a handful of random moves.
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