3 Positive Training Mindsets

Hey everyone,

Just a few thoughts about our Jiu Jitsu journey and how to look at the learning mindsets from different schools, instructors and practitioners.

Connections, concepts and small details

On the Jiu Jitsu journey, you will hear many people espouse the benefits of a particular learning style or approach.  They will say: less techniques, more overall concepts.  Some will say: I will teach you the small details that will make the moves work.  And yet another will say, it’s all about connecting the moves, drilling multiple techniques, learning to move and move more.  All of these things represent distinctive approaches.  They are all valid, at different points of our progress.

At the same time they potentially represent a significant distraction from daily training.

Here are the different training paradigms that I’ve seen out there.  There may be more, but this is close to what’s out there.

I have listed 3 positive training paradigms or mindsets and for contrast below, I have listed 3 negative training paradigms.


– Small Details Academy: teacher says that sharing the small details that make the move work are the key to progress.  Lots of technical guidance and repetitions.  Things are very specific here and everyone asks, ‘does the knee point up or out at this moment?”  Students learn to appreciate all the details, and become very technical.

-Concepts and Philosophies Academy
Here you learn that moving your hips solves everything, fulcrums and levers are your friend.  You must control the centerline at all costs.  Be like water, my friend.

It’s all about the Flow and Connections Academy- At this school, you learn lots of drills.  You chain movements together and it’s all nice and useful and technical.  Drilling combinations on it’s own is good, once we know the base movements in each component of the drill.

Those are the 3 positive training mindsets and paradigms.  On their own, they represent an edge or an angle of approach to differentiate modalities of instruction.  Together they represent a more complete learning environment.


Now, on to a few of the slightly less efficient training mindsets and modalities.  This list is by no means fully comprehensive, it just represents some of the ways schools and practitioners delay their own progress, promote an environment of anti-Jiu Jitsu (strength and counters), and create the conditions that lead to injury.

The Osmosis Academy– Learn by getting crushed and survival.  Learn moves that work for you, be durable, and intuitive.  You have to be tough when you walk through the door, and need to become even tougher once you begin.  Perseverance and punishment are themes in this environment.

Crossfit with Chokes– Instructor runs a 30 minute warm up, 5-10 minutes of technique, then 45-50 minutes of hard, full blast sparring. Students are found saying things like “I need better cardio”, or “I’ve been cross training a lot and lifting 4x a week”.  You will never be fit enough in your own mind for this style of training, because it tends to stress physical rather than technical solutions

-The Rare KungFu- (my sneaky attack vs your sneaky attack) Academy-  This academy teaches the most sneaky attacks, random surprise techniques in hopes that their students will get good at catching a wrist lock from the bottom of the mount or perfecting that 11 step kiss the dragon combination to leg lock that’s trending on Instagram.  (Lots of body inversions and reliance on flexibility and surprise movements.  Explosiveness can be an issue at this academy for being the number one reason people get injured, is explosive movements).

At the end of the day, we all want to learn.  Let’s not mistake a workout or physical attribute development for a comprehensive environment of learning.