What is the difference between a beginner and advanced technique in BJJ?

skribs

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I come from a TKD background. It was really simple in TKD to see if a technique was basic or advanced. Does the technique come from a white belt class or a higher class? Is the technique in Form 1 or Form 7? How much spinning is involved? The roundhouse kick you learn in white belt is a beginner technique, the tornado kick you learn in green belt is advanced. The side kick you learn in white belt is a beginner technique. Back kick or flying side kick are more advanced, jumping back kick or spinning hook kick are even more advanced, and jump spinning hook kick is even even more more advanced.

But it's hard to tell in BJJ. There isn't a codified curriculum. We do different stuff every day. Some of it is simple, some of it is complicated. Some of it seems complicated but it all clicks when you do it. Some of it is simple for everyone else, but difficult for me (like closed guard with my short legs). It's also possible that there is no such thing as a beginner or advanced technique in BJJ, and it's all just how much you know and how well you do it.

Is there a generally agreed-upon list of techniques, guards, etc. that are "beginner" and ones that are "advanced"? Or is it all just one giant pool of knowledge that some coaches have lanes and others just let the tide take them?
 

wab25

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I'll put this here for other folks.... I am probably still on your ignore list, so you probably won't see it... But here goes anyway...

"Beginner" techniques are "Basic" techniques. "Basic" techniques are the basics or base of the art. Everything else in the art is built on the fundamentals of those basics. It does not matter which art you look at... the stuff they teach you first, is taught to you first not because it is easy, but because everything else is built on top of that.

Some arts are more structured... here is the order of things to learn. Others are not... BJJ being one that is way more open. But, there are still "basics" that need to be learned. These "basics" are the building blocks that make all the fancy stuff work.

So, how do you find the basics? The big clue for the very "basic" / very foundational... are the things that they taught you in your first class. The next clue, is to look at how often you do each technique. The more "basic" it is, the more often you do it. I don't know how your school does things... but when I was taking BJJ, we did the shrimping exercise each and every class. We did closed guard in each and every class. (if we were looking at arm bar from guard, or super fancy guard pass into uma plata... we were still doing closed guard...) The higher the frequency that you repeat something, the more basic it is. If you are doing that same thing, as part of learning a different technique... surprise that same thing is a basic part of the new and different technique.

I suspect, that many of the things they showed you in your first class... you are still doing quite a lot in each and every class.... even if it is part of something else.
 
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I'll put this here for other folks.... I am probably still on your ignore list, so you probably won't see it... But here goes anyway...

"Beginner" techniques are "Basic" techniques. "Basic" techniques are the basics or base of the art. Everything else in the art is built on the fundamentals of those basics. It does not matter which art you look at... the stuff they teach you first, is taught to you first not because it is easy, but because everything else is built on top of that.

Some arts are more structured... here is the order of things to learn. Others are not... BJJ being one that is way more open. But, there are still "basics" that need to be learned. These "basics" are the building blocks that make all the fancy stuff work.

So, how do you find the basics? The big clue for the very "basic" / very foundational... are the things that they taught you in your first class. The next clue, is to look at how often you do each technique. The more "basic" it is, the more often you do it. I don't know how your school does things... but when I was taking BJJ, we did the shrimping exercise each and every class. We did closed guard in each and every class. (if we were looking at arm bar from guard, or super fancy guard pass into uma plata... we were still doing closed guard...) The higher the frequency that you repeat something, the more basic it is. If you are doing that same thing, as part of learning a different technique... surprise that same thing is a basic part of the new and different technique.

I suspect, that many of the things they showed you in your first class... you are still doing quite a lot in each and every class.... even if it is part of something else.
You can still opt in to posts from people you're ignoring (a feature that sometimes is more a curse than a blessing).

We do mostly the warmups every class (shrimp, sprawl, rolls, sit-outs, butt scoots). But what position we're in varies week-to-week and what technique we do varies class-to-class.

My first week or two was all half guard; sweeps and passes from half guard. Then we did a week on submissions from closed guard, and then a week on passes against closed guard. The last two weeks have been on sweeps and passes from De La Riva guard.

It's a complete 180 from what we did in my TKD school, which is a very verbose curriculum for each belt, and 75% of class time was devoted specifically to the rote curriculum. If I were to have gone into my 4th Dan test, I probably would have had around 3-4 hours worth of rote memorized material for my test, and that's not including the 2-3 hours worth I need to know as an instructor for the lower belts. When I was developing my curriculum, I settled on "Here is a codified curriculum for white and yellow belts, and it's much more open after that."

I find myself in the opposite situation here. While I'm certainly not experienced enough in BJJ to think about teaching it, I have heard that there are some schools that have a more codified curriculum for white belts, and it opens up after blue. I like my school and this isn't something I would leave it over (just like the curriculum being too codified wasn't reason to leave my TKD school). I just think it's funny I'd approach the middle from both directions.
 

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I don't have time to write up a full answer at the moment, but I have things to say. So this is just a bookmark to say that if you don't see a reply from me by tonight, feel free to shoot me a reminder.
 

Jimmythebull

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I don't have time to write up a full answer at the moment, but I have things to say. So this is just a bookmark to say that if you don't see a reply from me by tonight, feel free to shoot me a reminder.
can織t wait tony, thanks in advance.
 

drop bear

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Beginner techniques are the ones that give you the most value. Or high percentage.

They will form the foundation of your jujitsu. And they should have transferable concepts.

So a hip escape for example can be used from multiple attacks has some very core principles and works most of the time.

Here is the straight arm bar and its applications.

 
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Tony Dismukes

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Okay, so what you have here is really two questions. One about the classification of techniques and the other about the organization of a curriculum. I'll start with the techniques.

I don't care so much for the label of "beginner" techniques. I would say that BJJ has a set of fundamentals. These are a relatively small number of underlying concepts, principles, and movement patterns and a significantly larger number of techniques which will work all the way from white belt to black belt for a wide variety of people in a large range of contexts. There are a fair number of techniques which would fall into this category, but you should become at least acquainted with most or all of them within your first couple of years of training. After that you can spend a lifetime learning to understand them at a deeper level. I'm a second degree black belt with over 22 years in BJJ and I am constantly discovering improvements and refinements for basic techniques that I learned during my first year of training.

I also don't care for the "advanced" technique label, but I don't have a good alternative readily at hand. The alternative to fundamentals are those techniques which are either useful in a more narrow range of specialized contexts, or which require more developed physical attributes, or which require a really solid handle on the fundamentals before they can be executed successfully.

Of course, this is a continuum. There are techniques which can be used in a reasonably wide range of contexts by a student with a moderate grasp of the basics and other techniques which require a high degree of athleticism and a solid mastery of the fundamentals and are still only useful in a limited number of situations.

This brings us to the question of organizing a curriculum. This can be tricky and not all BJJ schools do a great job of it.

If I were to take a new group of students who trained consistently 2-3 times per week and focused just on getting them to some degree of functional competence in what I consider to be the important fundamentals of the art, I could get them there in about 1-3 years depending on the talent of the individual student. This wouldn't include all the potential variations of each fundamental technique, just at least one variation of each.

Some schools do that. They have a separate beginners class which covers that sort of curriculum and takes the student through a certain number of stripes on their white belt or even all the way to blue belt before they start training the "advanced" techniques.

After that initial set of fundamentals though ... there isn't really an obvious linear progression to follow. Is lasso guard more advanced than De La Riva guard? Is an over-under pass more advanced than x-pass? Beats me. It's more like a spreading bush of possibilities than a straight line.

Another problem is that, either from choice or necessity, many schools don't really separate out students by rank. That has advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages:
  • advanced students still need to practice the fundamentals on a consistent basis
  • there are a lot of important lessons to be learned from rolling with practitioners of different experience levels (both those who are senior to you and those who are junior)
  • if beginner students have been taught to look for the principles being shown and not just the specific technique, they can still benefit from practicing more "advanced" techniques
Disadvantages:
  • It can take longer for new students to be introduced to all the fundamentals they need if they are always drilling "advanced" moves
  • Brand new students can feel completely overwhelmed if you dump them into an advanced topic and they don't even have the conceptual vocabulary yet to understand what's going on.

The last problem in my personal experience is that you don't generally just get a full class of students who start out together, show up consistently every week, and stay for years to learn the curriculum in whatever order you may have designed. People come and go and come and go. They'll be consistent one month and disappear the next. Old students will reappear after being gone for years. One class will be filled with experienced students, then the next will be half full of students who just signed up that week. Then the next class might be a mix of both. I've found it hard to stick to a strict ordered class progression under those circumstances. So I adapt to whoever shows up that day, with a primary focus on the fundamentals.
 
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@Tony Dismukes Your post highlights a couple of advantages for developing a curriculum for TKD compared to BJJ. Which, I am not even going to try to create a curriculum for BJJ right now, but I spent a lot of time on one for TKD. In TKD, you typically do the bulk of the belt's curriculum every class, and the techniques do have a fairly linear progression.

There are a fair number of techniques which would fall into this category, but you should become at least acquainted with most or all of them within your first couple of years of training.
This is where part of the problem comes for me. And I'm not complaining, just venting a bit. We get acquainted with a technique, but it has several steps to get it right. If you miss a step you have the wrong the leverage or you leave open enough space to avoid it. Or you hesitate, or you're rolling with the purple belt who knows what you're doing before you do. Or you're trying to get it in rolling, and you're never in the right position to attempt it. And then...you don't see it again for 3 weeks, and you basically feel like you're starting over on it.

One thing I'm finding is BJJ is sometimes frustrating for the opposite reason than TKD was. Sometimes we felt too locked in to the curriculum in TKD that we could never dig into anything. But at least we came back to those techniques over and over so we could do them immediately on command. In BJJ, we do drill deeper into each and every technique that we do, but for a much shorter period of time.
 

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@Tony Dismukes Your post highlights a couple of advantages for developing a curriculum for TKD compared to BJJ. Which, I am not even going to try to create a curriculum for BJJ right now, but I spent a lot of time on one for TKD. In TKD, you typically do the bulk of the belt's curriculum every class, and the techniques do have a fairly linear progression.


This is where part of the problem comes for me. And I'm not complaining, just venting a bit. We get acquainted with a technique, but it has several steps to get it right. If you miss a step you have the wrong the leverage or you leave open enough space to avoid it. Or you hesitate, or you're rolling with the purple belt who knows what you're doing before you do. Or you're trying to get it in rolling, and you're never in the right position to attempt it. And then...you don't see it again for 3 weeks, and you basically feel like you're starting over on it.

One thing I'm finding is BJJ is sometimes frustrating for the opposite reason than TKD was. Sometimes we felt too locked in to the curriculum in TKD that we could never dig into anything. But at least we came back to those techniques over and over so we could do them immediately on command. In BJJ, we do drill deeper into each and every technique that we do, but for a much shorter period of time.
I'm going to preface this with I'm very much a beginner in bjj (to go back to the other thread, I've been training it for years, but very irregularly-just when I feel like attending an extra class outside of kali occasionally), and I have the same frustration that you mention here. I've also had more time to think on it, so the below is a result of that thinking.

You have to learn to focus on the principles of the techniques. Even if you're learning a different technique, the ideas should transfer over, and eventually you'll be able to match everything up even without being familiar with a certain technique. Kind of similar to how you can do a 2-step sparring combo without having seen it in the past, vs. someone trying them out for the first time. With my school, we also do a lot of rolling, which gives time to practice that technique. So even if you learn something one day and don't drill it again for 3 weeks, you can still try to do the tech whenever you see the option available while rolling, to continue practicing and keep it in your memory.

That said, there are actually BJJ schools where they do have it more of a specific curriculum, and as a newcomer, you'll learn all the transitions, kimura, armbar, triangle choke and their escapes, before moving on to other stuff, as example. Or so I've heard-I haven't seen these schools myself.
 

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This is where part of the problem comes for me. And I'm not complaining, just venting a bit. We get acquainted with a technique, but it has several steps to get it right. If you miss a step you have the wrong the leverage or you leave open enough space to avoid it. Or you hesitate, or you're rolling with the purple belt who knows what you're doing before you do. Or you're trying to get it in rolling, and you're never in the right position to attempt it. And then...you don't see it again for 3 weeks, and

Yeah. Don't do that.

Keep hitting that technique for a few months.
 

Cynik75

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. we do drill deeper into each and every technique that we do, but for a much shorter period of time.
Different school has different approach to this subject, I train with two groups: beginners with quite fast program - a lot of new techniques in a half of a year, and advanced/competitors group - we drill solutions for one tactical problem (for example: half guard pass) for half o a year.
Beginner group for my coach are for learning wide spectrum of basic techniques for the most common situations as fast as it is possible. Medium and advanced groups are for diamond griding - repeat, repeat, repaet till you vomit with this and a lot of task-oriented rolls.
 

dunc

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This is where part of the problem comes for me. And I'm not complaining, just venting a bit. We get acquainted with a technique, but it has several steps to get it right. If you miss a step you have the wrong the leverage or you leave open enough space to avoid it. Or you hesitate, or you're rolling with the purple belt who knows what you're doing before you do. Or you're trying to get it in rolling, and you're never in the right position to attempt it. And then...you don't see it again for 3 weeks, and you basically feel like you're starting over on it.

The academy where I train has fundamental classes. These cover the basic positions, their main attacks and escapes
These classes only do specific sparring from these fundamental positions (closed guard, side control, mount, half guard and back) and free sparring is not done until folks progress to the intermediate classes (3 stripes white)

I've found that specific sparring is absolutely the way to develop your fundamentals without it, as you say, you'll see something you want to incorporate into your game and not get the opportunity to master it before moving on

The problem with focusing too much on free sparring, particularly when you're a beginner, is that either a) you don't have so much control over which situations you'll end up in so can't get the opportunity to work on the foundations that you're focused on, or b) you tend to stick to your A game (ie what you can already do well) as the price of trying out new stuff is quite high (typically getting crushed for 5 mins or tapped out)

I also still find that without specific sparring skills atrophy over time
For the high level competitors that I know specific sparring from those positions forms more than half of their training time

So irrespective of how your academy runs things I'd advise you find some willing training partners and spend at least 10 mins (5 mins each side) sparring your "current foundational position of interest" each class. After class is good of course, but you can also do a specific position during free sparring if you have a mind to (eg I really want to work on my side control escapes so I'll give up side control and focus on that, or agree with your training partner beforehand)

And in terms of the fundamentals: I'd advise focusing on one solid attack from each of the main positions and one solid escape/pass and get these down before trying new things (suggest asking your professor for their "go to" / high percentage recommendations. It'll take a bit of an investment in focus/time, but the folk I know who've done this become awkward surprisingly quickly
 
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The academy where I train has fundamental classes. These cover the basic positions, their main attacks and escapes
These classes only do specific sparring from these fundamental positions (closed guard, side control, mount, half guard and back) and free sparring is not done until folks progress to the intermediate classes (3 stripes white)

I've found that specific sparring is absolutely the way to develop your fundamentals without it, as you say, you'll see something you want to incorporate into your game and not get the opportunity to master it before moving on

The problem with focusing too much on free sparring, particularly when you're a beginner, is that either a) you don't have so much control over which situations you'll end up in so can't get the opportunity to work on the foundations that you're focused on, or b) you tend to stick to your A game (ie what you can already do well) as the price of trying out new stuff is quite high (typically getting crushed for 5 mins or tapped out)

I also still find that without specific sparring skills atrophy over time
For the high level competitors that I know specific sparring from those positions forms more than half of their training time

So irrespective of how your academy runs things I'd advise you find some willing training partners and spend at least 10 mins (5 mins each side) sparring your "current foundational position of interest" each class. After class is good of course, but you can also do a specific position during free sparring if you have a mind to (eg I really want to work on my side control escapes so I'll give up side control and focus on that, or agree with your training partner beforehand)

And in terms of the fundamentals: I'd advise focusing on one solid attack from each of the main positions and one solid escape/pass and get these down before trying new things (suggest asking your professor for their "go to" / high percentage recommendations. It'll take a bit of an investment in focus/time, but the folk I know who've done this become awkward surprisingly quickly
We do probably 80% positional rolling and 20% free rolling. However, even in positional rolling, there's the problem that if they have different leverage or different hand placement, then I can't do the technique. With more experience, I would probably have a better idea how to set it up and/or more techniques in my repertoire, but this was a problem I had Week 1.

For example, a technique that starts by pulling their hand across to the other side of your body, but instead of framing on you, they're posted on the mat. So your body is in the way of pulling across, and their weight is keeping that from happening.
 
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Yeah. Don't do that.

Keep hitting that technique for a few months.
I'm just venting my frustration. I'm allowed to be frustrated. Just not allowed to let that frustration win.
 

Tony Dismukes

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We get acquainted with a technique, but it has several steps to get it right. If you miss a step you have the wrong the leverage or you leave open enough space to avoid it. Or you hesitate, or you're rolling with the purple belt who knows what you're doing before you do. Or you're trying to get it in rolling, and you're never in the right position to attempt it. And then...you don't see it again for 3 weeks, and you basically feel like you're starting over on it.
See my responses below.
You have to learn to focus on the principles of the techniques. Even if you're learning a different technique, the ideas should transfer over, and eventually you'll be able to match everything up even without being familiar with a certain technique.
This is exactly correct.

I dont know how to count the techniques in BJJ, because theres no easy way to delineate whats a separate technique vs a variation vs a setup etc, but I can at least say that there are hundreds of techniques with dozens of variations of each and dozens of fiddly details to make each work consistently. That works out to thousands if not tens of thousands of technical details. I cant remember all of those. No one can. Even if you could, next week somebody would invent some new techniques with more variations and new details.

But the good news is that all of those thousands of technical details are just contextual applications of a fairly small number of movement patterns, physical principles, and tactical concepts. When you are introduced to a brand new unfamiliar technique, you should be able to break down each step and recognize some underlying ideas which you also saw in the previous technique and the one before that.

Sometimes it might seem like the technique breaks some rule that you learned in a previous class. (I thought in this position we were supposed to push, but now youre saying to pull.) If you cant figure out why on your own, this might be a good time to ask some questions and maybe youll learn the meta-principle behind the the previous concept you thought you understood.
I've found that specific sparring is absolutely the way to develop your fundamentals without it, as you say, you'll see something you want to incorporate into your game and not get the opportunity to master it before moving on
Yes! I am a huge fan of positional sparring and specific sparring. I want my students to have the opportunity to try out the techniques theyve just been drilling and so I set up the majority of sparring rounds in my classes to meet that objective.

For example this week I was teaching some techniques from kesa gatame, so I had them start rounds in kesa. Top person had the job of maintaining control and hunting submissions. Bottom person had the job of escaping. I taught cross collar chokes from mount, so I had them start in mount, same rules - top person trying to control and submit, bottom person trying to escape. I taught some early escapes to try before the top person has solidified his position. So I had them start from a cooperative takedown with live action beginning as soon as the person being thrown hit the ground. Top persons job was to quickly establish control, bottom persons job was to escape and get back to their feet. The possibilities are endless.
 
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But the good news is that all of those thousands of technical details are just contextual applications of a fairly small number of movement patterns, physical principles, and tactical concepts. When you are introduced to a brand new unfamiliar technique, you should be able to break down each step and recognize some underlying ideas which you also saw in the previous technique and the one before that.
The problem with where I'm at is I'm only 2 months in, so I'm still trying to figure out what a lot of those patterns, principles, and concepts are.
 

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We do probably 80% positional rolling and 20% free rolling. However, even in positional rolling, there's the problem that if they have different leverage or different hand placement, then I can't do the technique. With more experience, I would probably have a better idea how to set it up and/or more techniques in my repertoire, but this was a problem I had Week 1.

For example, a technique that starts by pulling their hand across to the other side of your body, but instead of framing on you, they're posted on the mat. So your body is in the way of pulling across, and their weight is keeping that from happening.
The idea of positional sparring is that you and your opponent start in the position that is appropriate for the technique being studied. So for example if your partner has their hand in a different position then they are kinda doing it wrong

Later on in your training you can change things up, but mostly the idea is to set up the correct conditions then try to get the technique to work against resistance
 

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We get acquainted with a technique, but it has several steps to get it right. If you miss a step you have the wrong the leverage or you leave open enough space to avoid it. Or you hesitate, or you're rolling with the purple belt who knows what you're doing before you do.
I wanted address this part in particular.

When you learn a new technique, it can often take a while before you get it to be functional in sparring. So if you judge yourself by whether you got the technique to work or not, that can be very discouraging. Instead, I would suggest you set up a series of progressively moving goalposts.

First is just recognizing when the opportunity was there for a specific technique. Hey, I could have tried a scissor sweep a moment ago. Too late now. If you realized that, give yourself a point.

Next is recognizing the opportunity and actually trying the move, whether or not it worked. If you saw the chance for the scissor sweep and you went for it, give yourself a point even if your attempt got totally stuffed.

Next is figuring out why the move didnt work. If you went for the scissor sweep and it didnt work, but you can identify at least one detail that you got wrong which contributed to that failure, give yourself a point.

Next is starting to fix the problems. In the previous step, you identified a flaw in your technique. If the next time you try the scissor sweep you manage to fix the detail you noted previously, give yourself a point.

If your sweep still isnt working, go back a couple of steps and identify another detail you got wrong and work on fixing it. Give yourself points for those.

After some times looping through the previous steps, youll probably start to have some occasional success with the technique. Yay!

But now youre starting to have some confidence in your scissor sweep. You think youve cleaned up most of the technical flaws. You try it again on someone new - and it gets completely stuffed and your sparring partner passes your guard. Whats going on?

Well, this is when you discover that your sparring partner knew a counter to the scissor sweep that youve never seen. Or you discover that theres some aspect of the position you were unaware of that meant you shouldnt have even tried for the scissor sweep at that moment. Or the other person is so skilled that the sweep only works on them if you get 10 out of 10 details exactly correct, and you had been getting away with 7 out of 10 mostly correct on less skilled opponents.

So you continue with the same iterative process, learning the counter to the counter, or learning the indications that you shouldnt try the sweep at a certain moment, or cleaning up the additional details that you thought you had mastered but hadnt really. But give yourself credit for each incremental step of recognizing and improving each tiny detail. Youll probably find that you progress faster and feel less frustration along the way.
 
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I wanted address this part in particular.

When you learn a new technique, it can often take a while before you get it to be functional in sparring. So if you judge yourself by whether you got the technique to work or not, that can be very discouraging. Instead, I would suggest you set up a series of progressively moving goalposts.

First is just recognizing when the opportunity was there for a specific technique. Hey, I could have tried a scissor sweep a moment ago. Too late now. If you realized that, give yourself a point.

Next is recognizing the opportunity and actually trying the move, whether or not it worked. If you saw the chance for the scissor sweep and you went for it, give yourself a point even if your attempt got totally stuffed.

Next is figuring out why the move didnt work. If you went for the scissor sweep and it didnt work, but you can identify at least one detail that you got wrong which contributed to that failure, give yourself a point.

Next is starting to fix the problems. In the previous step, you identified a flaw in your technique. If the next time you try the scissor sweep you manage to fix the detail you noted previously, give yourself a point.

If your sweep still isnt working, go back a couple of steps and identify another detail you got wrong and work on fixing it. Give yourself points for those.

After some times looping through the previous steps, youll probably start to have some occasional success with the technique. Yay!

But now youre starting to have some confidence in your scissor sweep. You think youve cleaned up most of the technical flaws. You try it again on someone new - and it gets completely stuffed and your sparring partner passes your guard. Whats going on?

Well, this is when you discover that your sparring partner knew a counter to the scissor sweep that youve never seen. Or you discover that theres some aspect of the position you were unaware of that meant you shouldnt have even tried for the scissor sweep at that moment. Or the other person is so skilled that the sweep only works on them if you get 10 out of 10 details exactly correct, and you had been getting away with 7 out of 10 mostly correct on less skilled opponents.

So you continue with the same iterative process, learning the counter to the counter, or learning the indications that you shouldnt try the sweep at a certain moment, or cleaning up the additional details that you thought you had mastered but hadnt really. But give yourself credit for each incremental step of recognizing and improving each tiny detail. Youll probably find that you progress faster and feel less frustration along the way.
That's what I'm trying to do. At this point, if I do something good on purpose at any point in the roll, I consider it a win. Like yesterday, I nailed a beautiful hip sweep from half guard on the other white belt that's about my size. I was very soon after swept back, but hey, I got a good hip sweep. I was rolling with a blue belt the day before, and I pulled guard. He passed it soon after, but I at least had one technique go my way. (And considering my problems with guard, that was a huge win for me).
 

Tony Dismukes

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The problem with where I'm at is I'm only 2 months in, so I'm still trying to figure out what a lot of those patterns, principles, and concepts are.
Thats totally understandable, but if youre looking for them then youll discover them much quicker than the students who are just trying to memorize the techniques.

The instructor also carries some responsibility for trying to communicate these ideas. Its not really practical to take the time to explain all the concepts behind each detail of every technique as you teach it, but I make the effort to at least mention the most important principles behind whatever we are working on that day and periodically take a couple of minutes to show how the concepts underlying this weeks techniques relate to the techniques I showed the previous week. I also set aside a little time for Q&A and troubleshooting at the end of class and this often gives me the chance to demonstrate how they can use some principle theyve previously learned to fix a problem they are having with the current material.

If your instructor doesnt do any of that, then you have to do some extra work to figure it out on your own. I can also recommend some good YouTube channels or instructional videos that do an excellent job of explaining concepts. If you watch those, dont worry about trying to learn the specific techniques they are demonstrating. Instead, focus on the ideas and see if you can understand how those ideas relate to the techniques your teacher is showing you.
 
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