As Scott shared in class today, everything in Jiu-Jitsu stems from the basics. As he said, just as you wouldn't wear a tie and cuff-links with a t-shirt, you wouldn't (and shouldn't) be taught how to perform a flying armbar without first learning how to escape mount...it just doesn't add up.
I can speak from my own direct experience with this. At Professor's last seminar, he covered the elbow escape. Now, I've had the move for years, but Professor Sauer spoke of some new details (well, at least new for me) that have made the move so much easier and effective. I may have been taught those details originally, but in the beginning they didn't stick.
Related to this discussion about the basics we had in class today, I found the attached post on the BJJ Forum at www.MMA.tv. It really sums up our conversation:
I feel lucky that I started at a school where the coaches emphasized the fundamental positions, concepts, and most basic techniques in their teaching, and emphasized drilling those things over and over and over. There were no different or “more advanced” techniques taught to the guys who had been training longer—those guys just worked the fundamentals like everyone else. And they had better fundamentals than everyone else because of that.
Since I moved to a different city, I’ve trained at several different schools, and they all have the same teaching methodology: show 3 techniques and then spar. And it seems like the teacher never shows a fundamental technique. It’s always something like x-guard to kneebar to toehold, or a helicopter armbar, or something even more complicated. I find myself constantly telling the guy I am paired up with, “I know it’s your first day and I wanted to let you know that the reverse spinunder delariva sweep is a very complicated technique so don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right away.”
Here are some examples of the things that are almost NEVER taught: base and posture in the closed guard. opening the closed guard from the knees. margarida pass. single or double underpass. how to maintain side control. upa escape from mount. elbow knee escape from mount.
In my first school we constantly reviewed these techniques (and other fundamental techniques) and added details and drilled them to death. In my new schools, I’ve seen maybe one of these things taught in a period of over a YEAR.
I’m not trying to rip on any particular school or instructor. I’m just saying that as a not particularly talented bjj player, there’s no way I could have learned the game enough to want to stick with it had I started at a school where they expected me to do, say, an armbar to omoplata to triangle sequence on my first day of training (without explaining the basic mechanics of any of those individual techniques). Heck, the triangle itself was the first technique I learned and that was hard enough all by itself! And I’m sure that I’m still missing lots of details on the triangle!
It’s all about the basics. Everything else will stem from there…