Basic Anatomy of a Jiu Jitsu Class

 

Okay so what makes up a BJJ class? In my opinion there are 3 basic parts to a complete BJJ class. This can be interpreted in a few ways but here is how I break it down. I’ve also included the issues that typically come with each part.

  1. Warm-up/stretch
  2. Drill 
  3. Roll (spar)

The class should start with a light warm-up and stretch. I combine these 2 components together because they should both be light and the stretch should be an active stretch and both the warm-up and stretch should be specific to the class to follow and the fundamental movements of Brazilian jiu jitsu. Far to often I see pre-class warm-up sequences that rival a full blown HIIT work-out and the students are spent before the actual jiu jitsu starts, or the warm up is just skipped all together. 

The second part of the class is where we learn the techniques and drill, drill, drill them. It’s also the part where the students like to talk more than the drill, do the technique 1 time and start looking to debunk its validity by resisting a partner who doesn’t even know the move yet. It’s also the most important part of the class because in addition to learning the technique whether it’s a transition, a sub, or a control technique, etc you should also be learning the theory behind the move, (when and why). 

Finally the rolling portion (sparing) of the class, the part everyone wants to skip straight too. This is the most fun part of the class and the part most people understand least. At the end of class when we roll each student should have a specific goal and that goal should be the same for each student. That goal is to try and apply the technique you just learned in class to a resisting partner who is trying to do the same to you. The thing I hear most when I tell this to students is “Yeah, but we just did this he’s going to be expecting it,” yeah, no shit and what better way to work the technique and develop a better understanding of both sides of that specific technique. 

This is also the part of the class that turns into a world championship fight to the death for some students, this serves no purpose other than the potential of injury and loss of students, it also causes students to not want to train with specific students for the above reason. Everyone should understand that the academy is a team with the end goal of improvement for all in a fun safe team environment. 

This anatomy of a BJJ class can be further broken down to subsections depending on the training atmosphere, for example is it a class or a seminar, length of the class, and if the class is training for a specific goal (upcoming competition). 

Have fun, train hard, train smart, and have fun 🙂

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Fall Camp, Heidelberg Germany

 

Fall Camp Heidelberg Germany

I guess to start by saying the camp was awesome would just be redundant as all the camps are awesome. This was my third BJJ Globetrotters camp and the best to date. As always I met and made friends with great people from all around the world, but this time, for the first time, I taught a class at camp. My fear was an empty mat, the reality was just over eighty participants, how awesome is that. My class was on passing the butterfly guard and I taught with my typical combination of technical instruction and sarcastic wit. I received a lot of positive feedback from many of the students and some great feedback from a couple of the other instructors. I would say my first class teaching (of hopefully many more) for the BJJ Globetrotters was successful.

The second reason this camp was so important to me was because just like the first globetrotters camp I attended it helped my overcome an anxiety trigger. The prospect of sharing a cabin with 9 others and sharing a bathroom was a total nightmare; however, I decided I needed to do this to overcome one aspect of my social anxiety and I did. The trigger to overcome this time was to travel outside the United States; yes, in my 51 years this is the first time I left the US, you would think as close as I live to Canada I would’ve made that trip at least once by now but; I have, well had this thing about leaving the states. Anxiety trigger 2 conquered.

The camp itself is an amazing experience. You get to meet and train with others who share the same passion for Brazilian jiu jitsu that you have. These other campers come from around the globe and bring their style of BJJ with them. Although we all train the same art it is a very personal and unique experience for every participant due to all the variables that come from everyone’s individuality. Seeing other people’s little variances on techniques is a great way to improve your training by opening previously overlooked options.

Heidelberg, Germany was an excellent choice for a camp location. The sports complex was quite large and the mat space easily accommodated 200 plus globetrotters. Classes transitioned smoothly from one instructor to the next and the open mat periods flowed nicely. The sports hall also had clean locker rooms equipped with showers and a great cafeteria that offered inexpensive food options for those who did not participate in the food plan.

I wasn’t sure what it would be like staying in a hostel but even that turned out to be a pleasant experience. We were 4 to a room and we had a private bathroom and it was clean with comfortable bunks.

The city of Heidelberg may be the coolest place I’ve ever visited. The old part of the city with its narrow cobble stone roads and small homes was like traveling back in time. In the city center the streets were lined with small shops, bars, and restaurants were you can get any type of food you could possibly want. Then there’s the castle overlooking the city, a nice climb to go in the back way, or you can drive up to the main entrance, a great experience regardless of your choice with breath-taking views out over the city and the Neckar River.

Speaking of the Neckar River, there’s a really cool park on the riverside that has beach volleyball courts, and outdoor bar, and music playing continuously, a great place to hang out and just relax and soak it all in. There is also a bike/walking path that extends for miles on the riverside.

The other thing that struck me about Heidelberg was that a large percentage of the residents ride bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. They have a rent a bike system in place with pickup/drop off points all over the city and virtually every place you go there are bike racks, also there are bike lanes on almost every road and they even have traffic lights specific to bicycles.

The one negative in the entire trip was the lack of internet access. Heidelberg has free wi-fi in the city which I was able to access however there was no internet access. The only 2 places I was able to get online were the cafeteria in the sports center and the hostel lobby.. Oh, hold on a second, that’s actually a good thing too. Never mind it was 100% positive.

All in all this was an amazing trip with great Brazilian jiu jitsu, great people, great food, and I cant wait to do it all again…

 

Peace