What is the 3rd thing a beginner should learn?

skribs

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I start BJJ in a couple of days, so I'm curious to see the answers I get, and compare them to what I hear or remember from class.

Based on my experience in another submission art, I'm guessing "how to tap" and "respect the tap" are tied at #1 for the most important thing a beginner should learn. (This was also what I told new people in that art on their first day, "All you have to remember today is how to tap, and how to respect the tap.") If this is an unfair assumption, please correct me.

With that in mind, what is the 3rd thing you should learn in your first class? The most basic of the basics? The one thing I should remember, once I know how to tap and respect it (which I already do)?
 

drop bear

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Sweeps or escapes.

Basically if you spend your entire time unable to finish a guy. You will have a better time than if you spend your time in kasegetami.
 

dunc

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Keep your elbows in tight and protect your collar with your hands
 

Buka

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With that in mind, what is the 3rd thing you should learn in your first class?
That would depend on what was taught in that first class you attended, I would think.

Unless a Jits school is opening for the first time, and teaching people who have no training whatsoever, you're going to be in a class that could, and probably will be, working on just about anything.

But it doesn't matter, just go with the flow, enjoy the experience, meet anyone there.
 

wab25

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The first thing a person should learn when starting a new art... is how to start at the beginning. Learning how to take everything you know and everything you think you know, and put it aside... is very hard. It is also very necessary, in order to learn the new art. Doing this, is one of the hardest things I have ever done... and I don't think I have it down yet. But I keep trying.

Ideally, a person should approach the new art with zero knowledge. The instructors for the new art can then take their new student as an empty canvas to paint on.... without having to remove stuff from someone else. But this is the ideal, none of us can do this perfectly. But this is something to strive for.

A new student will be taught the basics. The basics are the basics, not because they are easy... but because the rest of the art is built upon these basics... these basics are the foundation. Bringing with you previous experience, and trying to guess where they want you to go now... means that they have to break your old habits first, before they can teach you the new habits.

I would say the first thing to learn, is how to start fresh. How to go with the flow and not jump ahead. How to put down all the stuff you learned before, at the edge of the mat, and trust that it will be there again when you leave. But, when you are on the mat... you have no extra baggage do deal with...

This is easier said than done.... and it is something I struggle with... it is something I see all martial artists struggle with... even if they don't admit it. The closer you can get to the ideal... the quicker you will learn the new stuff.
 

Buka

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To me, at least in striking arts, Martial Arts instructors tend to over complicate the entire fighting process.
 

Rich Parsons

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For me, it would be the ABC's // How to speak // frames of reference.
Meaning, This is a Guard, this is a mount, this is side control, and is ...
Once you know what might be asked or called out it is easier to practice.
Of course as stated safety and everything that goes with it should be covered first.
 

Buka

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First basic - when are all the classes and how many of them can I come to?

Second basic - what are the rules of the dojo?

Third basic - where's the bathroom?
 

Tony Dismukes

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I could cite specific techniques that you need to learn early on (ukemi, shrimping, bridging, technical standup, etc).

Or I could cite specific principles that you should learn early on (maintain good posture, keep your elbows in, isolate an opponent's limb before applying submissions, etc).

But instead, I'll give you a meta-principle which will greatly accelerate your progress in BJJ if you learn and apply it early.

If you try to learn techniques, there is too much to remember. Every technique has at least 5-10 details which are crucial for making it work under stress. There are literally hundreds of techniques, with dozens of variations on each technique. That adds up to tens of thousands of individual technical details. You can't memorize all those. No one can.

But ... all those details of all those variations of all those techniques are just contextual applications of a much, much smaller set of fundamental principles and movement patterns. You will see those same movements and those same principles come up over and over again in different techniques.

So whenever your instructor shows you a new technique, your job should be to identify the underlying movements and principles which make it work. See if you can recognize the same concepts and patterns which formed the basis of whatever techniques you were taught in the previous class and the class before. If your instructor shows you something which seems to contradict a principle you learned in a previous class, try to figure out why. If you can't, ask your instructor to help you understand the apparent contradiction. When your instructor shows you the details and steps for applying the technique, try to figure out the purpose of each step and detail. If you can't, ask your instructor why those details are important. Then see how those details fit in to the fundamental principles you are learning.

If you learn this way, then new techniques will no longer be exercises in arbitrary memorization. They'll just be ideas in how you might apply a small handful of concepts in a given situation at a given moment. You'll understand them faster. You'll remember them better. You'll understand how to create your own variations according to your immediate needs. And you'll apply them more naturally and appropriately, like a native speaker of a language carrying on a conversation rather than a tourist trying to recite a memorized phrase from a guidebook.
 

wab25

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I could cite specific techniques that you need to learn early on (ukemi, shrimping, bridging, technical standup, etc).

Or I could cite specific principles that you should learn early on (maintain good posture, keep your elbows in, isolate an opponent's limb before applying submissions, etc).

But instead, I'll give you a meta-principle which will greatly accelerate your progress in BJJ if you learn and apply it early.

If you try to learn techniques, there is too much to remember. Every technique has at least 5-10 details which are crucial for making it work under stress. There are literally hundreds of techniques, with dozens of variations on each technique. That adds up to tens of thousands of individual technical details. You can't memorize all those. No one can.

But ... all those details of all those variations of all those techniques are just contextual applications of a much, much smaller set of fundamental principles and movement patterns. You will see those same movements and those same principles come up over and over again in different techniques.

So whenever your instructor shows you a new technique, your job should be to identify the underlying movements and principles which make it work. See if you can recognize the same concepts and patterns which formed the basis of whatever techniques you were taught in the previous class and the class before. If your instructor shows you something which seems to contradict a principle you learned in a previous class, try to figure out why. If you can't, ask your instructor to help you understand the apparent contradiction. When your instructor shows you the details and steps for applying the technique, try to figure out the purpose of each step and detail. If you can't, ask your instructor why those details are important. Then see how those details fit in to the fundamental principles you are learning.

If you learn this way, then new techniques will no longer be exercises in arbitrary memorization. They'll just be ideas in how you might apply a small handful of concepts in a given situation at a given moment. You'll understand them faster. You'll remember them better. You'll understand how to create your own variations according to your immediate needs. And you'll apply them more naturally and appropriately, like a native speaker of a language carrying on a conversation rather than a tourist trying to recite a memorized phrase from a guidebook.
This is how I like to look at all martial arts. (I also wish I could express it in writing that well....) Whether the art is grappling based, striking based, solo kata based or paired kata based....
 
OP
skribs

skribs

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I could cite specific techniques that you need to learn early on (ukemi, shrimping, bridging, technical standup, etc).

Or I could cite specific principles that you should learn early on (maintain good posture, keep your elbows in, isolate an opponent's limb before applying submissions, etc).

But instead, I'll give you a meta-principle which will greatly accelerate your progress in BJJ if you learn and apply it early.

If you try to learn techniques, there is too much to remember. Every technique has at least 5-10 details which are crucial for making it work under stress. There are literally hundreds of techniques, with dozens of variations on each technique. That adds up to tens of thousands of individual technical details. You can't memorize all those. No one can.

But ... all those details of all those variations of all those techniques are just contextual applications of a much, much smaller set of fundamental principles and movement patterns. You will see those same movements and those same principles come up over and over again in different techniques.

So whenever your instructor shows you a new technique, your job should be to identify the underlying movements and principles which make it work. See if you can recognize the same concepts and patterns which formed the basis of whatever techniques you were taught in the previous class and the class before. If your instructor shows you something which seems to contradict a principle you learned in a previous class, try to figure out why. If you can't, ask your instructor to help you understand the apparent contradiction. When your instructor shows you the details and steps for applying the technique, try to figure out the purpose of each step and detail. If you can't, ask your instructor why those details are important. Then see how those details fit in to the fundamental principles you are learning.

If you learn this way, then new techniques will no longer be exercises in arbitrary memorization. They'll just be ideas in how you might apply a small handful of concepts in a given situation at a given moment. You'll understand them faster. You'll remember them better. You'll understand how to create your own variations according to your immediate needs. And you'll apply them more naturally and appropriately, like a native speaker of a language carrying on a conversation rather than a tourist trying to recite a memorized phrase from a guidebook.
I take 3 notes after every class. So far, my notes are either general principles like you said, or are advice I was specifically given. One was an odd interpretation I had.

You see, I've often heard BJJ is like chess. But the instructions we got on Tuesday, it reminded me of a Rubik's Cube. In order to take a new grip, the professor shifted his weight to create an opening, got the grip, and then shifted his way back. This reminds me of how in a Rubik's Cube, you will get one side first, and then you will constantly mess it up and fix it again while you get the next side.
 

Ivan

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I start BJJ in a couple of days, so I'm curious to see the answers I get, and compare them to what I hear or remember from class.

Based on my experience in another submission art, I'm guessing "how to tap" and "respect the tap" are tied at #1 for the most important thing a beginner should learn. (This was also what I told new people in that art on their first day, "All you have to remember today is how to tap, and how to respect the tap.") If this is an unfair assumption, please correct me.

With that in mind, what is the 3rd thing you should learn in your first class? The most basic of the basics? The one thing I should remember, once I know how to tap and respect it (which I already do)?
Im still a beginner myself, but from my experience:
1. tap
2. Perfect your frames, they are the foundation for almost all sweeps, escapes and defenses
3. Focus on locking down positions and holding them; dont rush frantically for a submission. If you cant hold a position properly, you certainly wont apply the submission from it properly
 

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