What if we told you that there’s a different way to teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to students… One, that doesn’t necessarily involve teaching them techniques?
Greg Souders, a BJJ black belt and academy owner, has found success in teaching BJJ through this approach; the so-called ecological approach to skill development.
In an interview for the Sonny Brown Breakdown podcast, Souders explained that his approach is based on “constraints-led learning, which focuses on the learner’s environment and how it can facilitate learning”:
There’s usable information and information that’s not usable. And the information we receive is not from our coach; it’s from the environment. So the body tells us how to interact with the body, and we have to experience it in real time.
This sort of an approach is both easier and more natural for students to remember and use:
… So there’s no explanation necessary. You don’t give the student any extra information they can’t utilize.
You hear it all the time. Every student complains: “Oh, my coach talks too much. They give me 37 steps to this move, and I don’t remember any of them… Anyway, it just seems if I sweep out the other leg, they fall easier.”
Well, you’re right. That’s exactly why you should stop listening to your coach and kick out that secondary leg because that’s all that matters.
In other words, the ecological approach to skill development allows students to see what’s “behind the technique”, instead of having them just repeat the pattern:
If you understand the relationship of how things are added and create the specific effect, you can reorient that novelty into your whole game or change something about or even grasp it more deeply.
But if you’re copying the cookbook or the procedure, you never get access to that move. That move and why it works.
You’re just replicating something you don’t understand.