If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. An easy (and cost-effective!) way to get priceless feedback on your BJJ performance is to simply record yourself during training.
I’ve done this regularly and when most folks ask, they often express hesitation in filming their own self because they feel like there would be no point in studying themselves. In their mind, they already know so little, so how could they help themselves?
This is understandable since for many people, “learning” is an act that requires a teacher. But really, there are two ways to learn:
- Learning through understanding mistakes or through the giving of advice
- Learning through observation of patterns and intention gaps
The first method is what people traditionally think about for “learning” – it’s how our education system is set up, etc. Learning is done via an instructor who imparts their knowledge to you, be it piecemeal advice or a structured curriculum.
The second method, however, is what is typically chalked up to “experience.” Over time, you’ll learn – often the hard way – the proper grips for a toreando pass, or the proper escape from mount, for example. However, studying video footage of yourself allows you to shortcut this process.
One of the biggest values of studying footage of your own self is being able to uncover the intention gap. Only you know what was going on in your head during the roll, which allows you the opportunity to analyze the thought process that led you to making those decisions.
In other words, if you were to give video footage of yourself to your instructor, they would definitely be able to give you valuable feedback and advice – what you should have done in this situation, what other options were possible, etc. However, only you would be able to suss out what were the intentions or assumptions you had at the time that led you into those situations in the first place.
For folks both starting out or more advanced, being able to pinpoint what patterns are leading to your most common mistakes and also how to capitalize on your successes is crucial in naturally developing a game/style that’s unique to you.
Here are some recommendations on how to get started.