How To Get The Most Out Of BJJ Seminars

BJJ Seminars Learning Tools
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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is very much like a puzzle game. When you start training, you start without knowing where the pieces go. Even when you start working towards putting it all together, you’ll often find yourself attempting to force the wrong piece in the wrong spot. Just like with a jigsaw puzzle, though, things start to make sense after awhile. In terms of a guide for solving the puzzle, think of class like that photo of the complete picture. It has all the edges outlined, but you’re the one that needs to figure out exactly how they merge together. So if a class is that photo guide, then BJJ seminars are like markings on certain parts of the puzzle. They not only tell you where the pieces fit but also how to rotate them. But only if you know how to make the most of them.

BJJ seminars are very entertaining events, to say the least. For one they are very long, usually extending past the 4-hour mark. Second, they are, in most cases, very specific. BJJ seminars tend to focus on one single technique or concept or position and go deep into it. This is a perfect opportunity for a more advanced student to fine-tune crucial details. It is also the best tool, apart from competition, for rapid progress in beginners. All in all BJJ seminars are an awesome tool, particularly when they’re approached correctly.

BJJ Seminars In A Nutshell

To start things off, make sure you get enough sleep the night before.  Drink plenty of water, and have some quality nutrition.  For the seminar itself, show up early, put a Gi or a Rashguard on and warm up.  Typically, seminars get right into the meat of technique drilling.

As grappling martial arts seminars last for hours,  if your brain or body starts shutting down you will miss out on half of the benefits.  Stay loose, active and focused so you get your money’s worth. Don’t get distracted. Always attempt to move around where you can see the technique demonstration clearly.

Furthermore, what you take out of a seminar is depends very much on your choice of a partner. With the right partner, you’ll get the maximum amount of repetitions in. Good partners help you remember and focus on getting all the details right. Between two people paying close attention, there is a good chance that you can assemble somewhat cohesive technique.  The details that you do not really get, your training partner might figure out easily and vice versa.

BJJ Seminars

Collaborate with your partner to make sure that between you, you understand all of the details.  After working through the technique a few times, ask questions if you need. It’s better to ask  “what was the right hand supposed to be doing here again?” than learn incorrect mechanics. While you are the one the technique is being done to, be engaged.  Think about if your partner was trying this same move on you during live rolling what you would do.  There is a decent chance this exact scenario will happen the next time you roll!

Respecting The Seminar

During a seminar, talking and not drilling is perceived as disrespectful.  A top class black belt has traveled all the way to an academy just to share Jiu-Jitsu knowledge. Be mindful.  Don’t blindly knock out repetitions.  This isn’t the time to mechanically run through the monitions to just chase quantity of reps.  Quality is of the utmost importance.

Moreover, if the seminar presenter is demonstrating the move and you get the chance to be the uke,  take it!  I don’t care if it is a choke and it’s going to hurt.  Feel where they shift their weight and pressure, and you’ll know more about the movement than anyone else.

When training BJJ, you should always have a question you are working to answer.  After a seminar, there is typically a Q&A portion.  The early questions in this section typically center around the moves that were taught that day.  Try to ask a question that helps you better understand the techniques.

The Unwritten Rules Of Jiu-Jitsu:

Training Jiu Jitsu full time is a dream come true for many people.  The sacrifice of traveling, staying in hotels, eating out, meeting new people, leaving, and doing it all over again isn’t easy.  It takes a toll being away from their families, friends, and their own Academy. Thank whoever hosted the seminar.  There is a lot of organization involved in getting a seminar off the ground and they typically end up being break-even type event for a school.

Near the end though, things start to open up a little and the topic broadens.  This is a good chance to ask how to pass that annoying variation of guard your main training partner always plays.

Looking For The Bigger Picture

Most seminars show a series of moves based on one particular starting point or position.  If you haven’t figured it out on your own, make sure to ask questions like “Why would you choose to do the first move you showed versus another from that position?” You would be surprised how often it is something subtle like the posture of an opponent. These details are crucial for understanding and having success with the techniques you’re learning!

This is also how you “reverse-engineer” what types of counters will shut down your attempt at successfully hitting the technique live.  The deeper you find that you think through these options, the better you understand the choices the instructor at the seminar has made.  You get a feel as to why they are showing this series.

BJJ Seminars

Try to figure out with your partner, what these types of reactions would mean to the bigger picture.  If you don’t understand how to stop one of these counters make sure to ask! It is very often that the presenter explains some small movement that entirely nullifies a counter we all thought was unstoppable.

If you get the chance to roll with students from other schools or the instructor who presented the seminar afterward, do it.  The more styles you experience the better.

How To Remember All The BJJ Techniques You Learn:

Don’t fall for the trick of thinking that just because the moves were crystal clear in your head when you left the seminar, you will remember them forever.  You won’t.  With each passing day, you will forget more and more of what was taught.

Putting Everything together After A Seminar

Trying to install these new techniques straight into muscle memory before you forget them forever is a fools game.  It is rare that can you accomplish the needed drilling and live repetitions to master every move completely. It is more likely that you’ll start accidentally omitting key details.  If you’re focused on drilling seminar material, give it at least a month. Only then can you see how to truly incorporate the material into your game.

Ideally, right after the seminar, when everything is fresh in your head you should try to get it all down on paper. Now anytime you’re working back through it,  just pull out your notebook and you’ll have all the important components right in front of you.

Knowing the movements of BJJ seminars in your brain are useless.  You have to build these techniques into your muscle memory and subconscious.  Try them live, fail, and make corrections. Sometimes the position demanded by the technique doesn’t come up as often, so Ask your partner if you can start in this position to maximize repetitions. From there build up comfort by practicing.

There are only a few ways to drastically improve your Jiu Jitsu, and BJJ seminars are one of them.  Come ready to do hard work with a good partner.  Ask questions, take notes and drill afterward. It’s the one certain way to solving the BJJ jigsaw puzzle.

John Danaher No Gi half guard
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