How much can I really learn from a video?

Jiu Jitsu

Quite often I am asked whether someone can learn technique from video instruction. An interesting insight into answering this question comes from my demonstration partner (Uke) in the new version of my leg lock instructional video. Placido Carl Santos was a great partner to film the series in Boston, where he trains with my black belt student, Travis Stevens. This weekend he entered a local grappling tournament and won via...leg lock! A very nicely applied heel hook sequence that he learned by having it demonstrated on him by me during filming! It is a good example of how I believe video instruction can greatly help a student and provide new directions in their mat work. Now, let’s be clear - watching a video and then doing nothing will do little to help you improve performance. What is need is TO GAIN INSIGHT, TECHNIQUES, AND TACTICS THAT IN CONJUNCTION WITH YOUR OWN PRACTICE CAN HAVE A DRAMATIC IMPACT ON YOUR SKILL LEVEL OVER TIME. Think of it as an extra teacher or mentor. Just as even the finest teacher/mentor will be unable to help you if you do not put time and effort into your training, neither will a video instructional. However, if you take that video as a teaching resource and work hard on the material i am extremely confident you will get great results. I base this confidence on my experience as an instructor. I was very fortunate to begin my training in the 1990’s with one of the best senseis in the world, surrounded by world champions, so I never needed outside help, but I knew MANY people who lived in other parts of the country with no teachers. They learned almost entirely from video instructionals and many had excellent results. Nowadays I often see visiting students come by RGA and exhibit skills they tell me they learned from online courses and demonstrate very good skills obviously learned from the various champions whose video courses they follow. Wonderful to see Placido show how he learned from being there at the filming of the video and wishing the best to the all long distance video students who follow their favorite jiu jitsu teachers spreading their message to a wider audience!