Saturday, February 11, 2012

4 Tips for Learning from Match Footage

Thanks to the internet, we now have access to hundreds upon hundreds of jiu-jitsu videos. Some are good, and some are bad, but their is still an enormous amount of footage at our finger tips. To learn from an instructional is not very challenging, but to learn by watching fight footage can be frustrating. No one is pointing out the key details. No one is explaining intentions or theory. It's up to you to reverse engineer the technique and make it work for yourself.

The Jiu Jitsu Lab just did a great match breakdown of Marcelo Garcia vs. Robert Drysdale, and the article demonstrates how to analyze a match, even if you are doing it for your own enrichment and not for a blog post.  I did something similar a few years ago when I was a blue belt, long before I had the chance to work with Marcelo on his latest book.  My notes focused on the guillotine, and many of the videos are no longer available, but feel free to check it out.  If you would like to conduct your own footage analysis, here are four tips for doing so:

1. Describe and then analyze.  In your first few viewings of a match, attempt to be as descriptive as possible.  What are the fighters doing?  Where are they grabbing?  At what angle?  Where are their hips?  How much space is there?  How does that space change?  Where do they go and what movements do they use to get there?  Do your best to explain exactly what's happening, and then use that information to begin answering why the fighters move like they do, guessing at their intentions and their plans.

2. Pick a fighter with a lot of footage.  If you are analyzing an obscure fighter, you could potentially glean some significant insights from his footage, but you are more likely to learn from a fighter that has a lot of footage available.  Being able to watch fight after fight of the same fighter allows you to identify trends in their style and hopefully gives you the chance to see the same technique used multiple times.  Since the opponent will change in each fight, you can see the technique applied in a slightly different situation, which can reveal more nuances and details than just watching one fight.

3. Pick one technique to focus on.  This goes hand-in-hand with tip two.  Rather than analyze an entire 10 minute match, pick one submission or one sweep that you would like to incorporate into your game and focus on watching that footage.  Sometimes, you may need to watch the minute leading up to the technique to learn how a particular fighter sets up the attack, but you are still focusing on a much more manageable sliver of the match.

4. Consult instructional videos.  If you are focusing one particular technique out of an entire match, seek out instructional videos that breakdown the technique.  Even if your chosen fighter is not teaching the technique, another instructor can provide an analysis of the technique that lets you understand what's happening in the fight footage.  Try to stick with reputable instructors for the most part, because there's a lot of nonsense on YouTube, but you may find some gems in some lesser known instructionals.

Train easy, friends.

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