While everyone that trains Jiu Jitsu is currently going through the worst part of BJJ withdrawal just about now, we’re still not the ones that are the worst-off. BJJ gym owners are stricken by the quarantine and isolation measures more than anyone else.
However, all you BJJ gym owners out there shouldn’t despair. Just because everyone’s at home that doesn’t mean classes can’t go on. Here are a few remote training ideas.
How to create instructions for training at home
First of all, there is the truth that all gym owners need to come to terms with if they haven’t already: this situation could last for months. I know how every gym owner feels, as I am one myself.
However, that just means all the energy we put into planning classes, engaging people, and doing everything we do behind the scenes now has to go in a slightly different direction.
Before we talk about preparing a different kind of class, just remember that BJJ naturally takes care of people’s desire to train. The art is addictive as it is, so you just have to go about designing classes and fun activities as if nothing is different. Yes, there will be no contact, but luckily, BJJ, combined with modern technologies at our disposal, offers creative ways of still holding regular classes.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu works the way it does based on a few fundamental movements.
Note that I wrote movements and not moves.
It is often said that a purple belt knows all the moves a black belt does. It is the quality of movement and timing that makes all the difference. And those qualities are easy to train even without a partner.
As a BJJ gym owner, your task is to keep people in shape. That doesn’t just mean keeping them in good physical condition, but also in shape for grappling. So, make sure your class planning revolves a lot more around movements rather than BJJ techniques.
Online Classes 101 for BJJ gym owners:
To begin with, you need to find an online platform to host your classes on. Depending on where you live, many of your students are probably already set up to use Facebook groups, Google hangouts, Instagram, or a WhatsApp group chat.
Think of whichever platform you choose as an online BJJ refuge for the time being (one that you don’t have to spend time cleaning every night!).
Facebook Groups is by far the best way to present your classes to a large audience but is far from the only option. You most likely have people training in different groups, based on levels (most often a fundamental and an advanced one) in your gym anyway, so, why not try and do a similar thing online?
Have something going on for everyone in the group, but also, do specialized classes. For example, get all the competitors in on a video conference call. The following are great options for video conferencing:
- Google Hangouts
There are endless opportunities out there, and most BJJ owners already have everything they need at their disposal. Some more elaborate streaming options include:
- Electa Virtual Classroom is just that – you get a classroom where you can teach. There are different plans available, and all you have to do is set up your classes. There are different ways classes can be structured beyond just shooting videos. It is definitely worth checking out, plus it features a free two-week trial.
- WizzIQ is another virtual classroom platform that offers a great way to present online classes. It is extremely easy to use, easy to administrate, offers different ways to engage your audience, and even helps you record your classes directly. It is completely browser-based and is very user friendly – you even get a virtual whiteboard to use!
For live classes, the thing to consider first is how big your audience is.
If you’re about to demonstrate some live movement drills, like hip escapes, bridges, breakfalls, animal movements, etc, you could target everyone in the club. If you’re about to go for a more complicated Ginastica Natural routine, or some breaking mechanics for submissions, it’s better that you focus on your more advanced students.
In any case, Facebook’s live option is perfect to address huge audiences, particularly ones organized into groups. If you want to make it public, you can always place it on your gym’s profile. Just make sure everyone knows what’s going on and when it is taking place. All other conference call apps will do the trick for smaller audiences.
Since you’re going live, everything is like in class. Remember to be ready for the subject you’re teaching and expect people to give it a try and ask questions along the way. Ideally, try to schedule these at times when you would have had regular classes.
Facebook watch parties
This turned out to be a real success for me. Watch Parties is a Facebook service which allows you to stream content to a group and chat while the content is streaming. It is a free and easy to set up service. I took a top match from ADCC and a top match from last year’s AJP World Pro and I uploaded them to Facebook (you can only use videos that are already on Facebook for watch parties).
From there on, simply invite everyone and start watching. Some ideas for watch parties include entire events, more matches, or even documentaries. The matches are a bit more fun, though. Newer students find them interesting, while older ones can learn how to “analyze tape.”
Moreover, I had a few tasks ready – in one match they had to count the takedowns both athletes performed. In another, they had to figure out how many different guards one competitor used (bonus points for anyone that named them all).
Drills are by far the best option here. Try and organize everything as workouts, so people can get conditioning as well as technique.
Ideally, you’d be streaming the videos right after uploading them, so that you can take people through the content yourself. However, some platforms also allow you to schedule a pre-recorded video if you know you’ll be unable to go through the upload and posting process at the normal class time.
In terms of the clip itself, always make sure you have interaction with people. Do a workout routine, but give them time in which they need to finish it, for example, 10 minutes. Or, have them tell you how many reps they do in an allotted time to ensure everyone stays engaged.
BJJ Treasure Hunts
The concept is easy – organize an online treasure hunt. Ask people a very specific question that only a certain article or video on a certain site can answer. Then, give them a starting point that will eventually lead them there.
The content on Jiu Jitsu Legacy is perfect for organizing something like this. People will both get to have fun in the period when they’re usually training, and they’ll learn lots about BJJ in the meantime. You can offer rewards for those most successful or fastest to finish the “treasure” hunt.
This is something you can do with competitors. Even though they’re not training, your competition team is going to be thinking about their games, their opponents, and itching to be back on the mats. This is a great time to spend some 1-on-1 time with them or with them all as a group. Any video conferencing platform will do the trick. This is the perfect time to help competitors think about their strategy.
This is also a great time to teach them how to make a game plan. Whether you use diagrams, mind maps, drawings, or whatever else you have in mind, help them all make their own personalized game plan. It’ll help them perform better and it’ll help you guide them from the corner when tournaments restart.
Finally, spend every moment you can talking to the members of your club. As BJJ gym owners, we do this anyway every time people come to train. Remember that people still have questions, and they still like to talk about BJJ. Make sure you keep in touch with everyone, even if it’s just to check-in and see how people are doing.
This is a difficult time for both BJJ gym owners and students, but we don’t have to stop training or learning Jiu Jitsu just because we can’t get to the gym. Let’s simply transfer everything online for the duration of the Covid-19 induced quarantines and be in peak physical and mental shape when we finally get back on the mats.