BJJ Class: “Less Talking, More Drilling”

I say this now and again when running class. Granted, it’s great to have students who want to help one another but sometimes you need to just let your partner fumble through things a little so they can figure it out.

Think of it this way: there’s a story out there (probably somewhere on the internet) about a man who sees a butterfly hatching, and struggling to get out of his cocoon. The man, feeling sorry for the butterfly, cuts the cocoon open and expects the butterfly to just do his thing and flutter away. But instead the butterfly continues to have shriveled up wings and an underdeveloped body and really never achieves flight. It was the struggle to get out of the cocoon that was supposed to help the butterfly develop and strengthen itself, to help it mature into a strong adult. It’s through our struggles sometimes that we truly learn and develop into what we are supposed to become- in this case, a jiu jitsu player who can perform these particular techniques.

Another way to think about it, not to detract from the help of a partner, but to be honest we tend to feel more accomplished and value certain lessons and facts more when we learn them for ourselves. Admittedly sometimes a partner needs an occasional, subtle hint, but for the most part talking should be kept to a minimum.

So let your drilling partner become a butterfly…or something…

Have a great day everyone!

 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “BJJ Class: “Less Talking, More Drilling”

  1. GQ

    dont you think that not pointing out mistakes your partner is making while drilling will will ultimately hurt him since it will take much longer for him to correct them? maybe i missed the point of your article, but i personally alway correct my partner’s mistakes when I am drilling with a beginner and seeing him doing something completely wrong

  2. Interesting, but I totally disagree. I actively encourage people to talk to each other during drilling and will nudge them to speak if they’re being quiet. It’s an integral part of my class structure: first we drill without resistance, then with progressive resistance (with both people talking all the way through about the technique), next is specific sparring from that position, then finally free sparring beginning from that position but moving on to whatever people want.

    I firmly believe that you learn a huge amount of your jiu jitsu through your training partners. So it’s key that people are talking each other through techniques (e.g., “your weight is a bit off here, so I can get my knee in the way”, or “your base is too far forward, that’s why I keep knocking you over.”)

    But yeah, in sparring, don’t talk. An exception would be if you’re clearly way better than your partner and have something useful to offer, but even then, better to do it when you’ve reached a natural pause (e.g., you just submitted them, you’re near the edge of the mat so you need to reset to the centre, etc).

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