Q & A: Should I tape my matches?

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==> A QUESTION <==

“Do you think there’s much benefit to video taping myself in sparring sessions and then watching them later to try and pin point bad/good techniques, or stuff I need to work on?  One of my sparring partners argued that they are pretty pointless unless you get an instructor (or someone more advanced than myself) to sit through them and make the observations.”

==> MY ANSWER <==

That’s an interesting question, and it demands a two-part response.

First of all, YES, video self analysis is an extremely powerful tool.  In fact, it’s the secret weapon of one of my main training adversaries (I discussed this in some detail a couple of years ago on my blog – click here for the complete article).

And video analysis might be most useful if you have a dominantly visual learning style.  But there’s something else going on here.  Something far more important!!

Here it is:

Take responsibility for your own progress!!

A good coach can help you along the way, but when push comes to shove YOU have to do the training.  YOU have to do the thinking.  YOU have to figure out what to work on.

And take responsibility as soon as possible.  Don’t wait until you’re a BJJ brown belt before you start critically examining your own game.  If you’re a beginner, for example, you might only notice big giant mistakes like having terrible closed guard posture, whereas if you’re advanced you might notice more subtle details. But regardless of what level you’re at, you’ll probably discover something that you can use or improve on right away!

Of course it’s great if other people offer you some help along the way, but don’t become dependent on it. One of my favorite martial arts sayings is “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for his whole life.” We are talking about developing an approach that teaches you ‘how to fish’ when it comes to your martial arts training.

This philosophy goes beyond way video taping – there are tons of different approaches you can use to get better.  It’s the 21st century and information everywhere!  Good instructors are super-useful, but there’s no shortage of grappling books, DVDs, and online information. So get as much help as you can, but ultimately take responsibility for all aspects of your training as soon as possible.  I promise that you’ll thank me later!

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