Teaching is different from doing. In the Jiu Jitsu community, there are far more good athletes than there are good teachers, and that’s completely normal— most instructors spend years mastering grappling skills, not teaching skills, and find themselves teaching as a byproduct of that mastery, rather than teaching because of a love of teaching. And that’s perfectly fine! Not everyone is drawn to teaching, and most people certainly don’t find it to be second nature.
The problem arises when instructors don’t treat their teaching skill development the same way they treat their BJJ skill development. We assume— all the time— that things are self-evident or self-explanatory when they need to be practiced, often with thousands of repetitions. But if you’re anything like me (and your students likely are), the idea of practicing the same thing over and over again ad nauseam makes you want to throw things and rage quit Jiu Jitsu forever. This is where the art of disguising repetition comes in.
Watch the video below where Tom and I talk about it:
Repetition is fundamentally necessary for building good habits, but how do we keep students engaged for those thousands of repetitions? We have to hide them inside other drills, techniques, and skills.
There are numerous benefits to using disguised repetition in your classes, but to effectively design BJJ drills that serve your purpose, you need to be able to drill down into your purpose for teaching a specific Jiu Jitsu technique or Jiu Jitsu skill. BJJ techniques are complicated! There are always drills that you can add to focus on different parts of a technique.
I like to pressure test students with the part of a technique most likely to go wrong so that they become comfortable with different outcomes in a low-pressure training scenario. It builds comfort with the technique, but it also keeps them from becoming bored as they work their way through the thousands of repetitions needed for mastery.
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