We are in the digital age of Jiu-Jitsu anyhow, but the Coronavirus lockdowns certainly did elevate that to a whole different level. For some time now, lots of classes have been moved completely online, with people looking to release as much content as possible. A lot of the content becoming available now is done for the needs of specific Academies or entire affiliations. However, there’s also a lot of free general content out there. In fact, there’s so much free BJJ now, that you might just end up stuck from the sheer magnitude. Here’s how to really make the most of all the free content you can find online.
Until just about a decade ago, finding BJJ stuff online was not that easy. During the last few years, though, the world of BJJ DVD instructionals has exploded, re-shaping the entire Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu landscape. It is the same with online content that most professors, top competitors, and or academies put out. However, there’s a catch – you need to buy them in order to get access. While this is completely understandable, it is also impossible to get your hand on everything you’d like. That’s where free BJJ content comes in, as long as you know how to sift through all the nonsense out there.
Learning BJJ Online – What’s Available
So far, there are different avenues of learning online. For the sake of being thorough, I’ll go through all the options that you have, before focusing on where you can find free BJJ. For starters, BJJ DVDs. At the moment, there’s an incredibly big database of Jiu-Jitsu instructionals available both for ordering, or a digital download. They’re all organized acceding to the subject matter and, of course, the person demonstrating. From people you’ve ever heard of to the greatest of your time or all times, nearly everyone has a BJJ DVD available online.
Another thing to really consider is the online curriculum that schools provide. Anyone from Marcelo Garcia to Eddie Bravo has an online library where they have lots of classes available via monthly or yearly memberships. These types of platforms are a great way of learning from the best of the best while being thousands of miles away. Some are quite expensive, though.
In the last few months, planograms like Zoom have also become an interesting option. Some require an entry fee, others might be free. In any case, with Zoom you could use an online class going live, or just join in a BJJ workshop on a certain subject which you can then apply to your game.
For the real Jiu-Jitsu nerd, there’s of course a bunch of written stuff online. You can order books, or simply opt for reading articles, like this one. You could also head to explore all the free BJJ content you can find, which also comes in several different shapes.
How to Make The Most OF Free BJJ Content
Free BJJ is all around us nowadays. It is not hard to find it, but it can be hard to actually learn something useful from all of it. In that sense, once again the forms in which you access material are written or video formats.
Let’s start with the written stuff first. Obviously, BJJ World is your first destination. However you also have a ton of e-books that are free, you just have to do a bit of research. And, If you’re not really big on learning from books, there’s always a ton of podcasts out there that will actually help you figure out things in Jiu-Jitsu just by listening to them.
On the subject of videos, people usually turn to YouTube. Later in this article, I’ll talk about exactly how to filter out things on YouTube to get to the good stuff. For now, it is enough to know that all major video platforms, be it YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, or whatever else host quite the number of free Jiu-Jitsu videos available to anyone.
Another thing to consider here is social media. Whether you’re looking at short clips on Instagram, or are a part of Facebook groups, you can find insane amounts of free BJJ content there. Plus you get a chance to interact with people and learn through chatting as well, sometimes even with the who-is-who of grappling themselves. This, plus other forums or sites like Reddit are goldmines of grappling information that are both invaluable, and free to access.
Before we head off into exploring YouTube, you should also consider free mobile phone apps. Android or IOS you can find lots of cool stuff that are completely free and come across as useful, epically to beginners.
Learn From YouTube Rather Than Just Watching
The biggest mistake people make with online content is that they watch stuff and do not retain much of what they see. There’s a reason why there are so many memes making fun of moves people pick up off of YouTube. Instead of just watching videos, or even worse, parts of videos, and trying to replicate whatever it is they’re doing in them, it would be a much smarter use of your time to actually pick up skills you can use on the mats.
For starters, stop with all the entry to to this or that, or submission finish videos. Most people that create free content, do so in order to lure you in to get their paid stuff. That doesn’t mean what they’re sharing is bad, it is just not complete. And going into a roll trying to attempt a move you only know halfway through is a recipe for failure.
When it comes to learning for the free BJJ stuff on YouTube, it is what you search for that matter the most. Try and look for seminars, entire classes, or at least longer videos that tie everything together, even if they’re split into several parts. The subject matter is not important, you might be looking to improve your ankle lock, or looking for a concept to escape side control. In both situations, you’ll get lots and lots of free videos, but only a few will show complete details on how to do it.
In terms of shorter videos that are still very much in-depth (10-20 min in length), I think nobody can beat Lachlan Giles. His stuff is definitely complete and comes completely free. Similarly, BJJ Globetrotters have an entire YouTube channel filled with a complete recording of classes from their famous camps. Three are hundreds of classes there and everything is free. And the best part is, the above is just an example – there are plenty more channels like that.
On the subject of seminars, while there’s a lot of content on YouTube, you often get bad quality stuff with horrible sound and sketchy video resolutions. Skip over those. Focus on what you can see and hear, and make sure you go for the full length or at least in-depth videos rather than a couple of minutes long free stuff that shows some spinning nonsense that’ll get you in trouble the moment you attempt it.
Free BJJ stuff is all around. Even most academies offer one or two live free classes,. However, the free stuff that’s constantly available, like that on YouTube, does come with a “price” – you can get lost in nonsense. In order to make sure you get the most out of learning BJJ online, or from your phone, just follow the simple advice above.