Thursday, 15 September 2011

Why structure the class the way I do?

Class structure
1. Warm up
2. Techniques
3. Isolated drills
4. Sparring
5. Cool down

Descriptions and explanations

Warm Up

Sufficient warm up but nothing crazy, you are here to learn and train BJJ not do cardio. If half of the session is a ridiculous warm up you are not doing yourself any favours, sure you will get fitter but will your BJJ be better?

If you are already tired before you start drilling the techniques then you are burning tired application of techniques into your memory. It is ok to spar tired some times but not in the learning phase.

Remember that practice makes permanent, if you practice crap you will be crap.

So a 3 part warm up, general exercises to raise the pulse then into joint rotations for mobility then into sports specific movement drills.

The sports specific drills will vary on the topic for that session. For example, we recently worked a lot of single leg squat progressions (here) because we were covering faking guard pulling to taking a shot (here) so you see how the exercise will help the technique.

Now we are working attacking the turtle we incorporate drills like (this)

Techniques and positions

We will work a few techniques that are based around a particular scenario covering the gross motor skills (the main points) and details of the particular techniques considering set ups, combinations, "what if" scenarios etc

We will usually work something for an extended period of time, maybe a month or so as I believe that this will really help ingrain the things we are training.

I personally hate training something different every session, I have been subject to this and really think it is to the detriment of really learning something. One class it's foot locks, the next class it might be chokes then the next one is triangle escapes etc absolutely no flow so you don't get to learn a 'game' all you get is a bunch of techniques.

I want all Combat Base students to improve their BJJ, I don't have to teach something new all the time to try to keep people interested, if they truly want to improve they will appreciate what we do.

One guy had trained at a different gym before coming to us, he told me that he knew an arm bar and triangle etc but didn't know how to get to a position to apply them.

Do you think his previous "coach" had done a good job?


Probably the most important yet under-trained aspect of BJJ, every one wants to spar but a lot of people aren't ready to spar. You have to put in time on the drills first or you will get lost and frustrated. Sparring is a great evaluation tool but more of that later.

Why do I believe that the drilling is where you really improve?

An example, we have 2 guys, one was used to playing top position and the other less experienced had to play from bottom. If these 2 just spar they will naturally gravitate to what they always do and won't grow.

So I give them a drill. Guy who usually plays top starts on the bottom, guy who usually plays from bottom starts in full mount. Guy underneath has to escape, guy on top has to control and submit.

Make sense? Without this drill neither would have been in this position to practice.

Especially if you are a less experienced guy sparring should not be a priority!!

Sparring or rolling

Is basically putting it all together and if you manage to control your ego (which most people don't even though they think they do) can be good for evaluating your game.

Why don't I think most people control their egos? In one word, Helen.

A significant amount of guys that Helen rolls with use strength on her, why?

I have heard guys say to her 'I had to use strength there otherwise you would have got me' for God's sake she is an excellent black belt she will get you. If you rely on strength you are going to come unstuck, quick.

You might think you are doing well because you don't get tapped by a 50kg woman, ask yourself why you didn't get tapped, was it because of your technical escapes? If not, sort yourself out, you are restricting your progress.

If your ego is under control, you tap, ask her for advice then start again.

Sparring should highlight any weaknesses or holes in your game so you can fix the problems.

How do you fix these weaknesses? See drilling as above!!

Would welcome any feedback but don't ask me if I think you are one of those guys, ask yourself.


1 comment:

slideyfoot said...

Interesting. I've started teaching recently. So far, my structure is to begin with a warm-up of about 15 mins. Most of that is the specific 'Gracie Barra' warm-up my instructor wanted me to include (the only thing he asks me to include, which is cool as that leaves the rest of the lesson up to me). Running round the room, star jumps, squats, sit-ups, shrimping, etc. If the warm-up was entirely down to me, I'd probably just do BJJ specific drills, like standing up in guard, bullfighter passes etc, but no biggy.

After that, two to three techniques. I'll have everyone drill the technique for four minutes each, then drill it again with progressive resistance for another three minutes each. I stick with one position for three weeks (though I'm only teaching once a week), then run through maintaining, escaping and attacking. Still experimenting with the format, as I've only just started.

I also like what Kev does at RGA Bucks, which is to have the attack and defence in one lesson (e.g., armbar from guard and the escape, passing the guard and guard recovery, choke from mount and a mount escape, etc). So, might try that in future.

I finish up with what I call specific sparring, which I think you'd call drilling: start in guard, person on bottom wants to sweep or submit, person on top wants to pass. If either achieves their goal, restart in guard. Same goes for the various other positions.

Then I'll end the class with a stretch to warm-down, which are the same stretches we do at the start.

I've got a 20 lesson outline at the moment, with three weeks on each of what I see as the six major positions (back, mount, side control, closed guard, open guard, half guard). I'm on week 18 at the moment: I think for 19 and 20, I'll just do drilling the whole lesson to recap what I've taught in the previous months, putting mount, back and side control in one lesson and closed/open/half guard in the other. Not sure how that will work, so should be fun to test it out on the students. :)

After that, I'm going to run through another 20 lesson plan, then repeat the previous 20 lessons. I've been taking notes on questions I found hard to answer or things I want to improve, so I'm hoping that in a few years I'll have a solid curriculum that's been carefully refined. Also a massive help to refining my own personal plan for what parts of my game I want to work on in lessons, especially as I've been trying to keep things simple when teaching.