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John Danaher: PhD in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Danaher Transcends Mere Techniques in Instructional Material
What differentiates John Danaher as an instructor from rest? This question has fascinated me in recent years due to the huge success of his students. Although there are limited videos of Danaher’s unique instructional ability, the few videos and social media posts provide important insight into his massive success as an instructor. Furthermore, Danaher’s academic history and self-diagnosed OCD explain even more obviously his unique approach to instruction. It is common belief that only practitioners with a successful history of competition should be given the title of instructor. No one diverges further from that notion than John Danaher.
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After comparing the instructional capacity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coaches and academic instructors, it can be concluded that experience has limited bearing on an individual’s ability to provide effective coaching. High level black belts with multiple medals can be poor instructors while a blue belt with limited competition experience provide intricate and deep insight into the marvels of our sport. So again, what differentiates John Danaher from rest?
Objectively, it appears that Danaher’s unique approach is rooted in the scientific method more so than the old and limited form of mindlessly commanded movements to your students. At its core, the scientific method is a tool for providing excellent and insightful instruction due to its ultimate foundation: evidence. For example, if an instructor has taught a technique for multiple years without changing any aspect of it and it has failed to be successful, there is very limited evidence that the technique works.
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The scientific method would suggest abandoning the technique and form a new version of it. The new version should be experimented on the mats and in competition until it proves successful, thereby creating supportive evidence that the technique should be in the curriculum. Fortunately, Jiu Jitsu is still in its infancy and this eliminates the potential for a growth ceiling, thereby expanding the potential to create new techniques and systems that are highly successful.
John Danaher is not just a great instructor, but a master researcher. His brilliance can be attributed to the unique tools he employs and also to the excellent group of practitioners willing to be his subjects. We are fortunate that John has been generous enough to create invaluable resources like his Enter the System series available from BJJ Fanatics!
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