Over the weekend I had the chance to learn some awesome new techniques that I will be adding to my arsenal over the next years. I did not learn them from my instructor. I did not learn them from youtube, I did not learn them from an instructional. I learned them at a seminar. This got me thinking about what a great thing BJJ seminars are and how they are vital in improving your own understanding of the art. In my own opinion these are one of the least used and yet most helpful tools in BJJ.
Do You attend BJJ seminars regularly?
The first thing Seminars bring to the table that is helpful to us as students are the moves that maybe our instructor either hasn’t shown us or maybe simply doesn’t know himself. We are all students and seminars allow us to see techniques from a different instructor and team that maybe we have not been exposed to in the past. Some of my favorite moves I use now have come from seminars.
Seminars also allow us to view moves from a different perspective than our own. Every practitioner has his/her own way of setting moves up. In many ways the set-up is actually more important than the submission its self because without a good set up your are bound to fail. So ,by learning other viewpoints on how to set-up a trap you make yourself a lot more dangerous.
Another great point about seminars is that even when you are shown moves you may not prefer to use or simply don’t think will work for your body type you still need to know these moves for two reasons. The first reason is to widen your general knowledge and teaching ability for your own future and present students. The second reason is that you might not like a move, but your next opponent might love it. I’m a firm believer that in order to shut down and counter a technique you must also understand what your opponent’s goal is. So by learning even the techniques you don’t like, you will still become a better grappler because of it.
Lastly I want to talk about two things that I think make seminars stand out to me as a great experience. The first is the epic training afterword. Seminars bring people from all over and this is a great way to test yourself against some new bodies as well as try your new techniques. It is also worth mentioning that many times the person giving the seminar will roll after as well and sometimes that can be very humbling as well.
To end I’d like to mention something that may or may not apply to everyone, but is something I have experienced in the past. For me a seminar has a special kind of energy to it. The feeling in the room is different and you are surrounded by new faces and new techniques. I think the best way to describe it is the “kid in a candy shop” reference. There is simply so much to be happy and excited about that you are forced to wear your biggest smile.
So next time there is a seminar in your town I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity that is being provided. And remember, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.