Being very new to BJJ, one thing I've learned is that learning bjj is an art in itself. I grew up in sports, (mainly playing hockey) where learning the game meant diagrams, playbooks and practice. In Hockey, we have offence, defence, power play, penatly kill and basic concepts to work on like skating, shooting and passing.
Jiu Jitsu isn't unlike hockey in that sense. We have offence (positional top game, submission attempts, guard passing, mount & side control, takedowns), defense (guard, half-guard, submission defense, takedown defense) and basic concepts to work on such as grips and hip movements.
With that being said, Hockey is a game of speed, strength and accuracy where Jiu Jitsu is a game of inches, a physical chess match dominated by technique over strength. BJJ is really in the details which is why it takes many years to master.
I'm getting slightly off topic here. I wanted to write about instructional dvd's and youtube jiu jitsu vs taking classes in an actual accredited school training with like minded people working towards the same goals.
I'll admit, I'm a youtube junkie. I can sit and watch clips of matches or bjj techniques all night if I could. That goes with the addiction to bjj that develops over time. (it's a good addiction by the way!) One thing that can't be stressed enough is that nothing replaces having your instructor watch you drill the techniques you're learning. As human beings, our eyes are limited to what our peripheral vision will allow. When training in BJJ, it's usually even less because our opponent might obtruct our view to the point where you need to develop "feel". The problem with learning a technique from a youtube or instructional clip is that sometimes your "feel" can deceive you. An good coach (instructor or professor) will spot these small details, point them out to you and offer solutions to improve your technique. That, in my opinion is why learning in class is the only real way to improve.
With that being said, I do think there is a place for dvd instructional videos and the like. BJJ is a young sport and I've had a hard time finding a book or dvd collection that properly categorized the ever evolving system based on skill level and rank. I was looking for some type of blueprint that I could use as a point of reference where I should be with my training at this early point in the game.
I've been training now since August 2009...nearly 10 months. I've barely scratched the surface and have acheived 2 stripes on my white belt for my efforts to date. With that, I've found a DVD set (2 disks) which outline "blue belt requirements" which I've found to be a decent reference point for someone just getting started and wanting to keep things simple.
Here's a clip of the dvd's which can be found on youtube.
At any rate, I like this for a reference point. In my opinion, Roy Dean's teaching style is very precise and detail oriented...not unlike our instructors. There are also other really good dvd's...another to check out is Demian Maia's "The Science of Jiu Jitsu". On these Demian goes into some good detail on body mechanics, strength and leverage while going through the movements and techniques. Here's a quick clip.
Ok...now that you've checked those out, it's time to step away from your computer and head over to Sudbury BJJ and work these ideas out on the mat. See you there!