Does a Curriculum Matter in BJJ? David Avellan Thinks So…

 Learning new moves and techniques in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be a daunting task on the outside looking in.  With new moves and approaches developing almost weekly, there seems to be a race to catch-up with the latest information.

This can cause issues when it comes to retention of information, and even drilling.

When I sat down to discuss various topics with David Avellan, he discussed a process that will make learning new techniques a much more enjoyable process.  His approach will help you eliminate the un-needed fluff that you may have had in your training regimen before.

The video above was used with permission of David Avellan, see the full Kimura Trap DVD Review here.

Between a structured curriculum and a well thought out four phase training process, learning BJJ has never been easier.

Why It’s Important To Structure Your Curriculum Properly

We have all heard the countless clichéd terms about how you have to crawl before you can walk, know checkers before chess, and how you can’t have a house without a foundation…in sports, cliché’s are rather spot on!

As someone who runs an academy and has seen my fair share of classes and students, I appreciate the importance that someone such as David Avellan has placed upon class structure and teaching techniques so that the students learn in the most efficient manner as possible.

One thing that Avellan likes to implement into his teaching schedule is a “Move of The Month.”  This highlights a specific technique, and it forces the students to latch onto it and learn the move, inside and out.

David also feels that those academies that negate to implement a tangible curriculum that follows a pattern will only hurt their students in the long run, and are doing them a disservice by ignoring proper scheduling techniques.

By simply throwing moves out at your students with no rhyme or reason, you are setting them back greatly.  There is no correlation if you have someone work on their guard pass one day, only to have them go for omoplata’s the next.  Have what you teach make sense and tie into previously instructed moves and techniques.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all about building upon previous lessons and using the brick by brick mentality.  Focusing in on the basics and foundational moves is something that should never leave your game plan.

“I’m still learning,” David admits.  “You can’t be exposed to something for too much.  It’s not possible.”

The Four Phases Of Learning In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

While discussing the importance of not only learning, but continuously learning the basic building blocks of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, David shared with me his theory on learning and the phases that we all go through when learning a new technique or move.

  • Step 1: The Observation Phase:  This is where you are seeing something for the very first time.  There is no physical action in this part of the learning process, you’re simply seeing something and trying to understand it.
  • Step 2: The Practice Phase.  This is where you begin to put what you just observed into motion.  At a very controlled pace, and broken down into chunks, this will help you work through the issues you will inevitably face at first.
  • Step 3: The Drilling Phase.  Now, things get a little more intensified.  You are going at a faster speed, while working at the best of your ability.  This is to work out the issues you experienced in the practice phase, while preparing you for live competition.
  • Step 4: The Live Phase.  Now that you’ve learned everything and feel comfortable enough with your skill set, it’s time to start putting it into action in a live compeititon!

Once you go through all four of these phases, it’s very common—and in fact, encouraged—to go back and to start over again with the first phase.  It’s unavoidable that you will face something once more during the phases that will leave you with questions, so it’s best to go back and observe what you did—or didn’t do—in order to continue your improvement.

You should always be searching for progression, and should always be eager to take that next step forward in your development as a grappler.  Always remind yourself that there is something new for you to learn, and you shouldn’t be content with what you just did.

Always strive for improvement!  And if you stick to a structured plan, and embrace the four phases of learning, you’ll be all set.

Dan Faggella

TechGasp Comments Master

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