BJJ Private Lessons: Format & Structure

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by p_ahn, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. p_ahn Purple Belt

    p_ahn
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    The recently formed thread "Once a month privates worth it?" got me to thinking about private lessons for BJJ which I have never participated in before and have decided to do in the near future.

    According to the professor that is offering them, it is better to find a partner for two reasons:

    1. Split the cost
    2. I can actually watch him demonstrate moves as opposed to simply "feeling" them without being able to see them

    I am not terribly concerned with the cost (or splitting it) since I am solely interested/focused on improving my shitty game: I am a low white belt.

    Some questions I have:

    A. Would private lessons be worth it for such a beginner that has EVERYTHING to improve upon? I ask this because I've heard that it's smart to focus on 1 aspect of the game to improve per private lesson. In my case, I wouldn't know what to focus on or where to begin!
    B. Is reason 2, above, universally agreed upon? Would you agree that having a partner during a private lesson is better than a strictly one-on-one session with the instructor? For obvious reasons, I would like the best option to help improve my game.
    C. If having a partner truly is the way to go, would it be best to find a partner that is similar to my level (low white belt)? How about partnering up with a blue belt?
    D. Is it better to schedule the private lesson right before the regular class time? OR, on a completely separate day or time from the regular class?
    E. What kind of format should I expect in a private lesson? I would be really shocked to find that we spend a portion of the hour (or however long the private will be) warming up. Would he roll with me (or watch me roll), first, to look for things to improve?

    I'm sure I can count on the expert advice of you guys for the questions above.
    Thank you very much, in advance, for your time.
     
    #1
  2. RubberRyan Blue Belt

    RubberRyan
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    1. i never took lessons as a beginner just for that reason, because i sucked at everything. But i dont think it could hurt you, since money isnt an issue
    2. Yeah its always better to see a move being demonstrated, 1 on 1 is overrated
    3. Find someone who you train with regularly
    4. I'd say a separate day, maybe an open mat sesssion that way you dont have too many ideas rolling around in your head.
    5. id assume it start straight with the technique
     
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  3. Jdonw Green Belt

    Jdonw
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    To preface, I am a recent blue belt, I have taken several private lessons from various instructors, and have taken away some knowledge from each lesson, some more than others.

     
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  4. Wrestleben Brown Belt

    Wrestleben
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    Private lessons would benefit you a lot more when you have more experience and a basic idea of what to do from each position. It certainly won't hurt, but you just need some more mat time. There are no shortcuts in the sport, my friend.
     
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  5. Wrestleben Brown Belt

    Wrestleben
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    And WOW, that's freaky. Hi Jeff. I was one of his training partners he recently took a private lesson with. I guess great minds think alike and are on sherdog at 2am.
     
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  6. NLBJJ Orange Belt

    NLBJJ
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    Long post, sorry

    I'm a bluebelt and have been in your shoes and I have a bit of hindsight. At the beginning you can be in any position and just be lost. My advice would be to not consider taking a private at all. If you can afford it by all means take whats available to you and shouldn't be an issue. But if paying the monthly fee is enough as is, like me, I wouldn't go the private lessons route.

    Truthfully you can meet up with a buddy or whoever is willing to help your game(at least a blue) and you guys can train for free. If your school has open mats that would be the time. For the super new guy a few one-on-ones would greatly improve your game. You guys can go over do and don'ts, position strategy, basic passes, basic sweeps, etc. At my school, if I ask a question, nobody hesitates to tell/show me. But if a guy wants to be paid you can pay him but obviously a lot less.

    If the cost is not a concern to you, go train one-on-one with instructor. When you bring in another body, you also bring in a guy with a different game and if he's paying as well, I bet you he will want to ask about something you might be very comfortable with already. I personally think having another person there just to see the technique is a bit weird too, the instructor is right there and will tell you exactly what to do and how to do it.

    Also can ask a brown belt or purple belt down the line for privates but don't know how your instructor would react to that, if he knows of it at all. Also, one thing I notice about bjj is the longer I train, you meet people who have their own mini gyms set up in their homes and have awesome sessions with. White all the way to black have "hush" sessions all the time, just got to hang around long enough to find out or get invited to those.

    If getting better at bjj is a priority for you I'd suggest you try the "unlimited" memberships if you haven't already. Drop in on any class as much as you can.
     
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  7. johnkreese Brown Belt

    johnkreese
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    I've taken a few privates, and I'm a low white belt. It helped me figure, and find tune some stuff I needed to, to get to the next level(next level meaning 2 stripes haha). I worked on a few points of my game, like, shrimping to keep a guy in my guard, not tiring myself out as quickly and submissions.

    I think it's good if you feel like you're making the same mistakes over and over again. In an intimate setting, whoever is instructing you can focus on all the little nuances. For ex: It was easy for people to pass my guard because of my short legs. So, I worked on keeping them in my guard. I worked on getting good angles on my triangles so I can land one without the guy escaping(hasn't worked yet...but I got really close the other day).

    I'm only a little more than 2 months into training -- however, I do want to compete in GI grappling tournaments. So to have someone who's more experienced, and a higher level than I help me refine my game is definitely worth it to me. If you feel you need help, give it a shot and try it out.

    However, I've learned that you can't expect results overnight in this sport. Certain techniques I've had to drill for the last 2-3 weeks to pull off, and there are some I still haven't executed. In other words, it's normal to be frustrated.
     
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  8. roosterweight White Belt

    roosterweight
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    I'm a purple belt who's taken a few privates and found them very helpful. Personally, I would always rather take a private by myself. While it costs less if you split it, your buddy will want to work on a specific technique that will be different from the technique you want to work.

    Last month on my blog, I posted seven tips for getting the most out of a private: The Jiu Jitsu Blues: 7 tips for getting the most out of a private.

    The most pertinent part of the post is below:

    "I haven't taken a ton of privates, but I've found them very helpful when I have. They help me better understand small mistakes I make that thwarted my progress.

    Privates are pretty expensive ($120 for a brown belt private at my school), but I also think that knowing each minute costs $2 also means that I'm much more likely to pay very very close attention.

    It's sort of like drinking a $120 bottle of wine. You're going to choose your wine carefully, clear your pallet, and then really notice all of the subtle details of the wine.

    So, here's my top 7 ideas for getting the most out of a private:
    1. Go in with a plan, such as "I keep getting stuck in ______ and need to develop some skills to deal with it".
    2. Show up refreshed by making sure you've gotten a good night's sleep and have eaten well that day.
    3. Ask as many questions as you want. At $2 a minute, there is no stupid question.
    4. If something doesn't make sense, don't just nod. Ask for it to be explained in a different way.
    5. Take copious notes immediately afteward (some people prefer during, but doing so breaks my concentration)
    6. Go to an open mat to drill and positional train what you learned
    7. Teach it to someone else at the open mat"
     
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  9. yovan Purple Belt

    yovan
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    ^ great post

    thank you...
     
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  10. p_ahn Purple Belt

    p_ahn
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    thank you all for the excellent replies.
    every single one of them helps and I look forward to reading more of them.
     
    #10
  11. gannas Green Belt

    gannas
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    I pretty much go in with a plan. I'm not sure how new you are but there are probably positions you feel you suck at more than others. Or maybe you keep getting caught by certain subs over and over and cant properly apply the escape.

    In my last private I went in to work on a few options from the guard, attack setups and sweeps. Some new and some old that I just couldnt pull off but my instructor provided me with details to help me pull them off. I also needed a way to get out of certain half guard holds which we went over.

    After we went over the techniques we did positional rolling and my instructor put me in those same half guard holds to see if I would and could apply the escapes. I always come away with a few details that help my game a lot.
     
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  12. grapplerblog White Belt

    grapplerblog
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    Privates can vary in cost too though. I think $120 is too much considering you will be broke from like 10 of these. In any case you should definitely select one part of your game that you want to dedicate the lesson to like passing the guard or working from the closed guard.

    I also agree that you need to have at least 6 months of mat time before you go for private lesson. I think at this point you just get more out of a private.
     
    #12

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