In the Film Room: How Can You Study Jiu Jitsu?

By Max Pascale

Have you ever thought about studying Jiu Jitsu outside of the gym, outside of your schools regular technique of the week, or maybe wanted more detail or explanation of a certain move being shown at your academy? The biggest and main benefit for studying Jiu Jitsu outside of your academy is to get a better explanation of why a position or move works. Why does one move compliment another? Why might another move work better for a certain position? There are many ways to study Jiu Jitsu with the internet likely being the easiest and most readily available extracurricular tool we can use. The internet can provide hours and hours of instructional demonstration as well as a plethora of competition matches at the highest level of the sport. But let’s focus on the two types of Jiu Jitsu study: one is more passive and the other more analytical.

First, simply observing and enjoying the action of a good Jiu Jitsu match can lead us to understand the way Jiu Jitsu players move and why. This form of study is more entertaining and allows the viewer to relax and just observe. This form of study is more passive and requires less attention to detail, but still lets the viewer see particular strategies unfold, the ups and downs of each competitors struggle and ultimately what seems to work at a high competitive level.

The second, more analytical form of study involves breaking down moves. These could be moves you want to learn, positions and grips you want to adjust and even body weight placement and angles. There are countless videos online breaking down today’s top level Jiu Jitsu player’s games into short sequences which explain why a particular competitor chooses each technique. Using slow motion features will help you see the action more clearly. Sometimes it may take watching a clip or move many many times before you see where the competitor’s hand is or why they shifted their weight to that side.

Studying Jiu Jitsu outside of the gym can be beneficial if you are tying to work on specific positions or are looking to expand your game in new and challenging ways. It’s good to go into a film study beforehand with a technique or style that you would like to emulate. Finding a style to study doesn’t always have to complement your particular game, but you will most likely see more improvement overall if you stick with a style that compliments your own. You will be surprised on how only a small amount of time dedicated to studying Jiu Jitsu will improve your game and your understanding overall. In specific rule sets studying can also be very beneficial because you will inevitably see how the referees score the matches. Here you will learn to understand what warrants points and penalties. Studying Jiu Jitsu in different organizations, for example IBJJF or ADCC, can help you understand that particular tournaments rules and regulations.

We like to watch people win matches and see how moves are implemented successfully but what can be more revealing is seeing people lose. Watch where they went wrong and what mistakes were made. Like playing chess against yourself, watching a match from the winner’s side and the loser’s side can be beneficial and help you uncover the reasoning behind a particular strategy.

How do you like to study Jiu Jitsu? Do you prefer to watch matches, learn from instructionals or read books? Let us know in the comments!