Monday, June 6, 2011

The Pedagogy of a BJJ Instructor

If you go to class and do all these warm ups and drills and your instructor never explains to you why you are doing them and what concepts they are expressing, in an incentive driven world you will never have the incentive to do these things correctly because you don't know why its important or what application they serve. You don't see how this leads to the ultimate end game. So a lot of people want to skip this stuff and go straight to the end game, the rolling.

We call it a class and call the person leading it, our teacher or instructor or professor even. But all these terms are used rather loosely. It is not anyway close to a physics class. It would be closer to a fitness class at a gym, with different exercises and routines we run through mindlessly that is strung together with the incentive to be either more fit, or in BJJ's case more tough.

But in actuality there are also problems with how most things are taught even in the school systems. It's not natural learning. Once you know what the reason behind certain drills are and what your goals are, then you have incentive to get better, you will have a more mindful focused and inspired practice and get better with less effort.


  1. Another great one Sam, you continuously fail to disappoint with your posts. When I'm instructing the kids, I always try to go through a "when, why, and how" method to teaching the moves. My class goes from 8-16 currently and they all learn together. When I use this method I hear "aaaahhhhh" a lot coming from the line of students both from the youngest to the oldest an dall points in between. That's just natural to how we learn in general. I guess to an extent an instructor could just go to a position and start teaching a move without explanantion, and expect that if your taking bjj you could figure out what position they are in and what type of move you are learning (submission, sweep, etc.). This method probably would not work with newer students. As I student I can see your point as how to fit the incentive, although it seems to me that people just want to roll regardless. Great post!

  2. Thanks Rollo. I imagine training kids is another animal all together. I'd love to get the chance to teach young people some day. As it is right now, my BJJ is mostly selfish and for my own inner self journey lol.



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