Explaining vs. Showing: How Do You Best Learn Jiu Jitsu?

So, anyone who has talked to me for longer than 12 seconds knows that I’m a visual person: I think in very visual terms, when I speak or write I like to build an image for my intended audience, and when I learn something, I need to “see” it with my mind’s eye to understand it. It’s one of the nice things about jiu jitsu class: in addition to explaining the technique, more often than not the instructor will go through the motions of the technique, offering the best of both worlds, showing the technique and then providing additional explanation and focus on certain details.

I’m bringing this up because I know there are some blogs out there that go tremendously in depth in their explanation of a technique, and basically provide a how to: and more often than not it’s all Greek to me. Not that I lack the capacity to eventually imagine what the person is trying to explain, or that the person is somehow failing in their explanation- it’s just I can’t “see” what they are trying to explain very easily.

It’s just a learning preference: I imagine there are people out there who love the step by step, written instruction on how to do something. If so, let me know who you are, and what appeals to you about that method: I’m genuinely curious.

Otherwise, have a great day everyone!


Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu, Training

3 responses to “Explaining vs. Showing: How Do You Best Learn Jiu Jitsu?

  1. Sarah C

    Showing and having it done to me is by far the most effective. However, I’m very verbal – talking is important to processing my experiences. Sometimes the challenge of making metaphors or verbally explaining a movement helps define the movement. “Uuuuup down.” “It should feel fluid.” “Elasticity.” “Match the energy from your partner.” These things can be shown! But verbalizing the concept is really helpful.

    Great post!

  2. Pingback: December 23, 2015 - BJJ News

  3. When I blog the steps of what I learned that day, it forces me to go through the technique(s) from beginning to end and visualize doing it. This process, a few hours after class but before bed, makes it more likely that I will retain the technique. Also, it gives me an opportunity to note spots where I struggled or spots where a lot of people did something wrong- so that next time I do the technique, there is a mind-hook there for me to think, “now remember, be careful to do/not do X here”. Furthermore, I think that practicing breaking the techniques down into words (along with tips and hints) like that makes it easier for me to explain things to lower belts, as well as to catch and troubleshoot their goofs.

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