How to teach?

I just got Royler Gracie's Submission Wrestling book. I found it interesting to read that Royler believes in teaching one submission, one sweep OR one takedown, and one escape from an inferior position. Those 3 techniques are NOT combination techniques, as they are "far" away from each other. The idea is to gradually give the students more and more options from each general position, instead of giving them an unbalanced game, like would happen if you taught them 4 sweeps during their very first session, f.ex..

That's 3 techniques per session, plus sparring (and probably some drilling, too).

Gradually, Royler gives his students more and more techniques, so that the grappling game becomes like a puzzle, in which the students receive more and more pieces in every session. Then they start to realize that the pieces (i.e. the techniques) combine with each other.

Some people, like f.ex. Joe Moreira, like to teach combinations right away and focus on a single position (like the side mount, f.ex.) in every session. Then, during the next session, Joe teaches a combo from another position. This time it could be a defensive combo.

Then there's the Straight Blast Gym's way, taught by Matt Thornton, in which the students drill moves against semi-resistent partners right very early in the learning process.

I have experimented with all of those teaching methods.

Which way makes the most sense to you?

Personally, I'm leaning towards using them all at one point or another, to have a bit of variety in my classes. But I feel that I haven't experimented enough with those methods to say for sure what would work best. Anyway, this was just a though.




I agree with you. It is SOOOOO important to vary your teaching method. I like Joe's approach best, but I tried to have at least one or two days in which we did something totally different when I was teaching.

I follow the SBG method.

Introduce: Instructional time. Static reps until the student has the mechanics down against a non resisting partner. If the guys already have the feel for the move, I'll have them a few reps and get righ into the next phase.

Isolate: Begin adding resistance. NOT FIGHTING. Just resistance, free movement that forces the student to work with a moving target. Gradually build resistance until focus breaks down. Stop and start again. This is the most important phase IMO.

Integrate: Free sparring. If the students are able to pull off the trained move, great. If not, no big deal. If they forget how to do the move, we can go back to Introduction phase for a minute and then work back into Isolation & Integration.

My guys have seen their best results from the I- Method.

I think that 3 variations of a single move (ie scissor sweep, push sweep, wing sweep) or 3 moves that follow each other are a good idea. Also teaching 3 moves from the same control position (ie 3 moves from the same grips of open guard) is another way to do it. You can also teach a guard pass, followed by a reversal then a sweep.

Otherwise I think a single move then drilling it progressively is good. Teaching an escape and then getting the class to try to hold mount while someone escapes is good.

It all depends on the class makeup too. Before I decided on my current instructor, I went to another class. Whole class of white belts and the instructor was teaching really complicated advanced moves.

It doesn't matter what/how YOU like to teach, as an instructor......

Different people learn best from different methods.  As an instructor, you have to figure out who learns best from what approach, and somehow get it in there somewhere for each student concerned.

Being a teacher isn't always easy, there is a lot more to it than just going out and demonstrating something and then having everyone practice it.

A point often emphasised by John Will in his seminars is not to teach a technique and its counter in the same session.

His philosophy is to make sure the group learns the technique properly, and to apply it in rolling, before he teaches the counter.

Teaching the counter right away does not give the students the opportunity to REALLY get the technique wired, becuase the training partners are always countering it. Conversely, they never really learn the counters because nobody learns to do the technique well enough to make the counter a challenge.

Hardly a full teaching methodology, but not a bad principle IMHO.

There are a few articles on that deal with coaching and delve into some of the issues brought up here.



That is an EXCELLENT example of a good way to teach. The students get enough time to work on everything, it creates a cohesive whole when it's finished, and they have solid basics.

I did a similar thing with double neck tie, sprawl, single & double leg takedowns, mount control, guard control, bridging, and uncrossing the ankles. It served as JUST enough to teach karate students so they didn't get KILLED when grappling.


My first post here after just reading a while... :)

I use the "I" method cause it´s fundamental - just techniques and sparring don´t bring the point over half as fast as the I method.

Secondly I like to teach techniques that work together not separate techs which is basically just confusing to students, especially beginners. Like for instance I have my own beginner program (3months 3 times a week half of the time standup/clinch half of the time no-gi bjj) and I after they complete it they will know a few things to do from each position and of course subs finally in the last month. I teach and let them drill and spar with positions only first cause that way they wont think about subs and will develop good positional fighting first and then it´s easy to integrate the subs to the game.

And I definately do not agree with the John Will method for beginners - I for instance wont let my students drill sweeps in fighting before the other guy has learned how to pass and behave in the guard... cause otherwise the guy in guard will just develop bad habits and try to hug the head of the guy in the guard and such so the guy that has guard can´t practice the sweeps anyway and so this is counterproductive to all. Or for instance if i taught half-guard then at the end when i let them drill the stuff alive the purpose for the guy on top was only to get the guy on bottom flat (with an underhook and hug behind the head) if he could achieve that in sparring they would start again from the knees. After the next lesson when passing was taught then the game was complete.

But then again I shouldn´t know much - I am a blue belt who has learned most of his jits from tapes and continues to do so (latelly have found some teachers in other countries luckily too). And the beginners course I was talking about is my first (before i just taught a little eclectically cause there were only a few guys) but after two months and a week some guys are becoming really good :)


When I have younger kids roll that I do not teach subs to, I have them look to obtain a certain position. One drill I do is have get get a mounted position. Once someone mounts and holds it for a certain length of time, the match is over. Sometimes I will have them start in a guard, pass and get side control, end of match. Another drill that we do which is a lot of fun, I have one kid turtle up over a small ball or boxing glove and have the other kid try to take it away. They can use all the positions to keep the ball in their possesion. The ball stealer must peel the limbs away from the ball instead of just grabbing it and stripping it away. You'll will be a mazed at what comes out of this drill. They a have a clear objective, lots of fun and get a great work out.