I have heard it said that many blue belts are “technique collectors.”
In other words, their focus in jiu-jitsu is learning a huge arsenal of moves that they feel will address every situation on the mat.
Critics of this approach say that it is flawed because it is better to know a smaller number of moves that one is proficient at.
There is validity to BOTH sides of this debate.
I like to think of blue belt as the belt of experimentation.
As a blue belt, you have a firm enough grasp of the basic techniques to roll effectively, and you actually get to try different techniques on your training partners.
This is far different than white belt, where you are simply surviving and defending.
You also have enough mat fitness and body movements to start to attempt more advanced techniques. This is where you need to experiment widely and see which techniques are a fit for your game and which you can discard.
A blue belt must try a vast variety of techniques (for example, different sweeps) and have at least an awareness of them so they can defend them. If you never use a certain position, you must be aware of it so you do not repeatedly get caught in it.
Each student of BJJ must build his or her BJJ lexicon before specializing in any game or set of techniques.
There is no other way to do it than being exposed to and trying the techniques for yourself.
One of my favorite quotes is by Bruce Lee:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Bruce was trying to say that it is not the number of moves we can remember, but the sharpness and expertise that we have trained our favorite moves.
For example: Many black belts KNOW 40+ sweeps. But they actually USE fewer than 10 while rolling.
I have observed some blue belts watch the techniques being demonstrated in class and disappointingly shrug their shoulders because they have seen them before.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the mat are brown belts drilling the same move and experimenting with different grips and weight placement and determining how to counter their opponent’s defense.
As a blue belt, you need to go DEEPER into the technique.
Many black belts find that after learning many advanced positions, their BJJ game eventually comes full circle and they return to the basic techniques, only they apply them in an advanced way.
Technique collectors have given YouTube a negative connotation when it comes to BJJ.
But there is a good reason to learn a large number of techniques. Just remember that there is no unbeatable technique hiding on some World Champion’s YouTube channel that will unlock the doors to your jiu-jitsu.
You should also read on Jiu-jitsu Times : A Smart Student Asks Questions!