Instructional Overload??

Hello Friends,

I wanted to take a moment to share some important training advice with you. You see, back when I started training in BJJ over 16 years ago there were no instructional DVD’s, Youtube, Online training sites, and hardly any books on the subject to learn from. Fast forward to present day and there are an overabundant amount of instructional resources at the hands of the modern day BJJ student. In my opinion this can be both good and bad for the beginner who is looking to improve, yet doesn’t really have that much direction. Here are some tips to get the most out of your extracurricular training:

  1. Focus on the fundamentals! Always strive to build a strong foundation for your techniques to be based upon. Your number 1 priority should be to learn escapes from side control, mount, back mount, etc. From there you can move on to counters to the basic submissions such as the arm bar and triangle choke, as well as how to open and pass the guard.
  2. Drill a single technique for a month or more before moving on to something else! Avoid the urge to jump from one technique to the next. Once you are having a high success rate with a single technique (both in drilling and live sparring) move on to the next.
  3. Avoid trying a new technique during sparring if you are working with someone several belt levels above you. In other words, if you are a white belt, try to develop a high success rate of using the technique on other white belts, or lower ranking white belts then yourself, before trying the technique on blue belts. Too many times have I seen a student get frustrated because they were trying to add a new technique to their game, but were trying to implement in on someone 2-3 belt levels higher then them. This will just lead to frustration and the student will move on to another technique before truly mastering the one at hand.
  4. Lastly, make sure that your extracurricular instruction is coming from the right source. By this I mean, seek out videos/instructional materials that are taught be certified Black or Brown Belt instructors with a good reputation in the sport. Avoid watching technique videos taught by other white, blue, and purple belts early in your BJJ development. As a beginner you will have trouble discerning whether the person is showing the technique correctly or not, which can lead to bad habits!

I hope this helps you in your pursuit of BJJ knowledge. Please don’t hesitate to send me an email if you have any questions regarding what I’ve covered in this message. See you on the mats!

Yours in Jiu-Jitsu,

Coach James Foster

Owner and Head Instructor
Foster Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu



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4 thoughts on “Instructional Overload??”

  1. I train English teachers, and when we have them create a plan for improving their English, one of the common problems they have is they will create a plan where they’re studying 5 chapters of a grammar book per week. So they gain this theoretical knowledge, but still are clueless about use. In a similar vein I tell them they should pick one point per week and focus on using it every day – English is not a race, but they should start to improve methodically. Same thing for jiu jitsu – doesn’t help if your brain knows but your body can’t do!

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