Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter cascao vital and runs cascao bjj hard knocks out of Las Vegas nv.
Lets start by saying that there is no perfect formula. It becomes trial and error for your particular students and class, but I have seen a pattern of many schools that just over load their students with tons of random techniques in one class so that it resembles more of a seminar. This leaves the students overwhelmed with little to no technique retention. On the other side of that coin I have seen so much detail and time going into just one technique that a lot of students loose interest and do not feel stimulated with enough variety. So what are some good options when choosing the technique number for a class?
Option one, teach three techniques, but have them chained together. For example, show a takedown that brings them to the knee on belly position. Once they have that technique down, teach a knee on belly submission. And for the final move, show them the escape from that submission. Even though you taught three different techniques, they flowed together and gave them a fuller picture of how it would happen in a fight then just three techniques randomly selected. A bonus, with each practice rep, have them start from technique one and work their way through all three and watch the level of efficiency climb.
Option two, teach only one technique. It keeps things simple, but there are a few things that you need to look out for. Most students really do not want to cover a Kimura lecture for 30 min. Unfortunately the attention span of this generation is often times weak. But there are benefits of just one technique per class. You can get a bit more detail in, more practice reps in, as well as leaving more time in class for drills or longer rolling. To get more details in effectively, save some of the details for when you are walking around watching them practice the technique. That’s a perfect opportunity to not only correct their mistakes but also to give them the added detail tips.
Option 3, teach a series. A good example would be a half guard series. The whole objective is to get on your side with a strong under hook. Technique one could be on how to get there from a flat position. Technique two is a main sweep from that position and technique three would be a secondary sweep based off of the opponents reaction. Again, a series is very similar to the flow style in option one, the only difference is that its more offensively focused without the back and forth, but still utilizing the chaining of techniques that makes the learning process a lot smoother.
These three teaching options allow you to go from one technique up to three in a way that does not overload the students retention or attention. This also means that the old school days of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu should really be left behind when it comes to an instructor stepping on the mat without a teaching game plan and just randomly teaching what he thinks of at that moment. There should be room in the curriculum for Q and A classes, but planning out the teaching agenda will help your students reach the next level as well as making your classes more effective and fun. Every major sport out there really plans their attack on skill building and coaching, it’s our job in BJJ to keep raising that standard as well.