Should BJJ Blackbelts watch instructional videos?
With the invention of the internet, it seems that anyone anywhere can learn everything about anything. For better and for worse, you can go on YouTube and look up any Jiu Jitsu technique for free, a lot of which come from accomplished competitors (shoutout to BJJ Fanatics). We all know the challenges this wealth of information can pose to lower belts, but can black belts benefit from this? Should black belts be watching instructional videos like an overeager Purple Belt? Yes and no.
In my opinion, if Black Belts are going to claim the title of Professor, they should at least act like one. It would be in their best interests to be keeping up with the current metagame of Jiu Jitsu, similar to how Professors in academia will be keeping up with the most current research and developments in their respective fields. In fact even though academic Professors are masters at their particular ‘game,’ they would at least have some passing familiarity with their own academic peers.
The common excuses against watching instructional videos and keeping up with the Jiu Jitsu metagame are as follows: ‘I have my OWN game to focus on!,’ ‘I’m MMA-focused, not a sport BJJ guy!,’ and ‘I got a school to run!’. Unfortunately, I will say that excuses and complaints aren’t outgrown even at the Black Belt level.
I know when doing Jiu Jitsu, we’re supposed to drop our ego at the door, but why does it seem like a lot of Black Belts don’t? Is your game so perfect and well developed that you have NOTHING to learn by watching another high level Black Belt? Oftentimes an academic Professor will observe their peers’ and their competitors’ work to see if they can learn something from them. What’s stopping you from doing so, Professor?
Even if your focus is on the MMA aspect of Jiu Jitsu, there’s still plenty of high level Jiu Jitsu happening in MMA. Maia, Oliveira, Tonon, Hall, etc. the list goes on, and Hall and Tonon have a lot of great video content out there, so what’s keeping you from researching their game?
As far as running a school goes, your students are your investors. Chances are you will run into a student that won’t be able to make your game work for them. Having a library of games to choose from will allow you to cater to the needs of multiple students that might not be able to adopt your particular system of Jiu Jitsu. Eventually if you can’t get your game to work for your students, they will eventually find another Professor to invest in.
Jiu Jitsu is a vast art with almost unlimited variations and paths in it. To even become familiar with most of it may even be impossible, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying.
Truly Yours, Anonymous White Belt