Have you ever been shown a technique in class, that you drill and try in rolling that does not seem to work. Do you then question why this is happening or give up on the technique? There is an old saying about “there are no such things as stupid questions” and no where is this more true than in jiu jitsu. Asking questions in BJJ is important, part of your training.
There will obviously be times when you don’t understand a technique your coach is showing you in class, and you will need him to explain more. But more importantly, there will be times when after that class, you are trying the technique but the outcome is not what was shown. At this point it is easy to say “this doesn’t work for me” and either forget about it after class or possibly stop playing the technique. In reality you should be asking “why is this not working for me?” Then after you have asked yourself this initial question, look to ask someone else. Many jiu jitsu techniques can be broken down in to a smaller number of parts. If you miss out one or more of these parts it can affect the ability of the technique in working. But this does not mean you should give up on the technique.
So who should you ask? The obvious initial answer is your coach. The person who probably taught you the technique in the first place. If you are going to ask your coach don’t do it during class. If your coach is trying to teach a different technique during class, it could be considered a little insulting asking them about something else. However at the end of class you could legitimatley ask if they have 5 minutes to help you with something that has been causing you problems.
You may struggle to get a chance to ask your coach or you may feel uncomfortable asking them, whatever the reason is the other alternative is obviously one of the other higher grades. What would be useful here is considering who you are going to ask. There may be a guy who is a specialist at the particular technique you have been struggling with. Another alternative would be someone who is near your size and weight. If you are a 5 feet 6 inch Rooster weight, asking the 6 feet 6 inch Heavy Weight may not be the best option. I am not saying you won’t get a good response. But you might end up with is a version of the technique that works for the big guys. The same would apply the other way too. Asking the belt that is near your size, will give you a chance of an answer that is more likely to work for you.
One last thing to consider before you give up on a technique, is who you are trying it on. If you are trying it against a higher grade or someone bigger than you, then you may be setting your expectations a little high. You won’t know the technique well enough to make it effective on these people. So before you convince yourself this technique is going in the trash, try it against someone who is roughly your size but with a lower level of experience. They won’t have a technical or physical answer to it, giving you a better opportunity to measure what you know of the technique and guide the focus of your questioning.
Keep drilling these techniques, they become one of your specialist techniques. If not you will still have a good understanding of it and it will be something in your arsenal to focus on later in your jiu jitsu journey. At the very worst if someone tries playing it on you, it will give you an idea of something to answer then with.