It’s not what you see, it’s what you feel

Of late, I’ve been working to improve my perception of pressure, angles and timing, not in that order but focused on those elements.

When I embarked on this jiu jitsu adventure my approach to learning like many other beginners were focused primarily on the visual, strength and speed. I saw what my mind wanted me to see, becoming myopic on the cool, spinning, flying moves because at that moment in time, that was how my body worked and how I could understand the movements. As I practiced further, I have changed how I learn through the former as it enables the technique to be executed more efficiently and precisely.

My clients often ask me how I remember all these techniques. My response was not so much trying to recall a technique verbatim, rather remembering the concept. What you are trying to achieve you use what ever is available to achieve that purpose. Of course, some techniques require exact hand, foot and hip placement while others hinge on your agility, mobility, grip strength, endurance, etc. They are all important which is why professional jiu jitsu athletes train relentlessly to eliminate the weakest link in their arsenal of attributes.

Naturally some grips, limbs, hand and foot placement produces the optimal technique while a variation might not work as well but offer opportunity to  follow up techniques. This learning concept has been particularly difficult to get across to the more advanced jiu jitsu practitioner without volumes of reading, watching and analyzing specific movements followed with many practice sessions.


I have discovered that mindless practice, from watching online videos, provided a basic framework but it doesn’t allow you to “feel” the technique. It is impossible to sense the pressure and intention if there isn’t a live person applying the technique on you nor can you get any kind of feedback when you solo practice. Approach your training with the beginner’s mind, open, inquisitive, receptive and try to understand the underlying concept of what you are trying to achieve, how it works best, how you can make it work best with your current abilities and train that.

Very often free online videos are posted to attract potential customers to online sales of DVDs, books or online training programs. That’s fine if you have already “read the book, now you watch the movie” because you know where the movie deviates from the original story line that you can complete for yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before so many of those free online videos serve as click bait and do not tell the complete story.

Train smart and train with a purpose. Happy rolling!

In servitude and openness,
Vince Choo