Cart 0

The science behind learning Jiu Jitsu

blog Guard Passes Jiu Jitsu Kit Dale learning Techniques Training

Getting better in jiu jitsu is really just about absorbing information. The acquisition of knowledge. Knowledge of timing, of technique, leverage, body mechanics, experience and so forth.  


So if you want to get better at jiu jitsu you need to get better at absorbing information. 


To learn how to do this better we must look at how we store information. I'm going to simplify this as much as possible. Your two systems for storing knowledge are located in your hippocampus and your cerebellum. The cerebellum focuses mainly on muscle memory. (Memory of the body) Your hippocampus your declarative memory. (Memory of the mind) 


One will subconsciously control your balance, and motor functions. The other your memory and problem solving capabilities. 


Now declarative memory is described by experts in the field of neuroscience as something like a scaffold system. And the more information you have (the bigger your scaffold) the easier it is to connect new knowledge to it. Reason being is we learn best by association. Hence why analogies are such a good tool for learning. Because we are using something we understand to describe something we don't.


Knowing this we should strive to improve not just our procedural memory (muscle memory through repetition) but more importantly our declarative. And this is achieved through experiential learning (trial and error). 

The reason this is so effective is because we create neurological imprints with every experience weather good or bad. For example we attempt a guard pass and get caught it a triangle. (Error) we look back and learn from it. We try another based on the information just learned through the error and we succeed. Creating more neurological imprints, thus developing a declarative understanding of jiu jitsu. The more you practice through trial and error, the bigger your scaffold grows and the quicker you absorb new information and the better you get at jiu jitsu.


The only flaw to this system of learning is it's difficult as a beginner to know what to do without drilling techniques from the chosen position. Kinda like being thrown in the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. But this is why concepts are so powerful. Concepts guide you directly but also loosely enough to allow for individual innovation. They are a guideline, a tool and a reminder of what our purpose in the situation is. 

For example. When I'm in guard and I'm looking at sweeping my opponent. There are times I'll be in a position I may not have been before. And I don't have a solution at hand. So I run a concept in my mind. A sweeping concept. ( 1 Remove my opponents ability to post- stopping him from basing out. 2 Control his weight- making myself the fulcrum point under his body like the log under a seesaw.  and 3 create my own leverage point- having a point in which to generate leverage from which will intern manipulate my opponents weight) this can be done in a multitude of ways. But as long as followed a sweep will occur. I have concepts for every position. Some big picture ones. Some finer detailed ones. For example, when applying an arm bar. To stop your opponent from stacking you, you put leg pressure on his neck. To stop him from rolling to escape you keep his wrist. They are small concepts that make it much easier to understand the body mechanics and how to get certain reactions, as well as to avoid certain actions. Or like my big concepts on deception and timing as shown in The Art Of Learning Jiu Jitsu. 


Learning how to do something through your own experience is always far greater than being shown how to. That's why there are people who know jiu jitsu. And people who know jiu jitsu moves.


If you enjoyed this please like, comment and share. And if you wanna see all of my concepts and instructional videos go to 


Warm regards 

Kit Dale 

Older Post Newer Post