Like most BJJers I like love to watch competition footage.  However it is not what you watch so much as how you watch videos that makes the difference.  Coach Berto broke this science down for me a while back.  Below is a good article from Crazy88 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on watching competition footage. 

How to Watch Competition Footage

Since everyone is snowed in and is supposedly working out at home and watching a lot of film, I thought I could provide some tips on watching competition footage that have helped me out over the years.

In the beginning, I could not watch Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition videos and preferred instructional videos; nowadays, its the other way around.  These old videos were the old Paqueta ones that used to have matches edited to take out the boring parts and I still would have a hard time watching them.  I would only like matches with a lot of drama behind them or matches that were very high-scoring.  Basically, I watched the matches as a fan rather than a student which brings me to tip#1.

1.  Don’t be a fanboy.  If you are caught up in the excitement of the match or can’t get beyond “wow, so-and-so is so good”, watch it again later when you can watch the match more studiously.

2.  Watch the same people over and over.  You need to watch to see what is NOT happening just as much as what is.  If Fighter A hits his Omoplata on everyone but then against Fighter B, he can not – you need to figure out why and what Fighter B is doing.  And the only way for you to know that Fighter A loves Omoplata is to have watched plenty of footage on him before.

3.  Watch everyone.  One thing that always impressed me about Team Lloyd Irvin Black Belt, Brad Court, is how he knew the games of so many different competitors not just the famous ones.  There are techniques that the guy who lost early does better than the guy who took 1st.  At my Columbia MD martial arts school, I have noticed this a lot where students will watch less qualified “internet-famous” guys vs. guys with better credentials.

4.  Always ask yourself what you would do in any particular situation.  I remember when I was a Blue Belt, I was watching some camcorder footage of some other Blue Belts from my team, and I noticed that both of them were doing the exact same thing from the top of butterfly guard – and I was not.  Now I had seen that footage at least 2-3x before that instance but that particular point had never jumped out at me.  So always ask yourself, even when watching mundane positions, what you would do in that position?  If they are doing something different, ask your instructor later.


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