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Seminars Versus Instructionals

Seminars Versus Instructionals



It seems like there is two types of people that train Jiu Jitsu, the ones who purchase DVDs and ones who pay for seminars. If you’re just getting started, it can seem a little difficult to figure out just where to spend that extra money you got on Christmas or maybe even tax refund. You know you want to spend it on Jiu Jitsu, but should you get a DVD from a world class instructor or attend a seminar from a world class instructor. The decision is not easy, but I want to pick apart the benefits and consequences of each to help you figure it out.

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Let’s first by explain a little bit of what seminars and instructionals actually are. A seminar is usually a 2-3 hour event where someone like Gordon Ryan, Craig Jones, or Tom Deblass visit an academy and teach techniques for that period of time. Sometimes twenty people attend a seminar and other times it can be one hundred, you can usually predict that by how popular that person is and what kind of area you are in. After the teaching session, there is occasionally a period of time where you can roll with that instructor or at catch a quick picture for your Instagram page.

An instructional can be a physical(DVD) or digital recording of someone teaching techniques. A lot of people that conduct seminars also have DVDs of their content out. These recordings can last anywhere from two to even ten hours, especially if you are watching John Danaher’s Enter the System series. Instructionals can be based on one position or submission but can also be entire systems or two or more totally separate things depending on your purchase.

Seminars are fun and exciting. It’s always great to meet the elite grapplers of the time and learn from them live. During seminars, they can help you more personally with how you are executing a technique, but this can be limited by time. Also, because of the short time frame, instructors spend less time teaching techniques in seminars compared to instructionals where they can spend twenty minutes breaking down a single technique. Seminars are also a great way of meeting new people from other academies, but that can be mitigated by frustration when there are too many students training on top of each other.

With instructionals, you pretty much get no personal attention to how well you are performing. This is balanced, however, by the extensive amount of time instructors can spend breaking down every technique. Instructionals also tend be more structured than seminars because in seminars, the instructor usually wants to teach you a little bit of everything.

At the end of the day, it is your decision to make. You have to decide what is more important to you, that personal attention and meeting the instructors, or expanded bank of techniques with great detail. Personally, I prefer instructionals because seminars can be overwhelming. I can quickly jot down something from a DVD I bought and take it to the gym to try out with my teammates.

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