The component principle

The component principle

A very important principle of coaching jiu jitsu (and almost any other skill) is THE COMPONENT PRINCIPLE. The idea is that EVERY SKILL OF JIU JITSU CAN BE BROKEN DOWN INTO COMPONENT SKILLS, WHICH, WHEN BROUGHT TOGETHER INTO A WHOLE, BECOME THAT SKILL. This simple insight has big ramifications for anyone trying to learn and/or coach the sport. It means that whenever we come to learn or teach a new skill our first step should be to break in down into its component parts and then to study each component in detail. In this way we gain a deeper understanding and mastery of the entire skill. Now there is a point of diminishing returns here. If we just keep breaking it down into pointless minutiae we get needless complexity that does not benefit the performance of the original skill - so put a limit on the breaking down element - once you no longer derive performance benefits in the overall skill - stop. Now start working each component skill. You will soon see that THERE ARE SKILLS WITHIN SKILLS and that MUCH OF WHAT WE CALL MASTERY IS THIS ABILITY TO IMPROVE EACH OF THESE COMPONENT SKILLS AND THEM PUT THEM BACK TOGETHER SEAMLESSLY INTO AN OVERALL SKILL. Whenever you find yourself struggling with a new move - go back to this insight. It helps a lot to feel some sense of progress as you train - even if the overall skill eludes you for a while, you can make progress in some of the components and feel validated as you keep working towards getting the overall skill.