Black belts are able TO learn
new techniques QUICKLY.
White belts tend to learn new
techniques much SLOWER.
Progress in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is typically slow. It takes the average person
10+ years to reach black belt. A student will usually spend an average of two years at each of
the four belt levels before black belt.
Progress is NOT slow for everyone. What gives your black belt instructor the ability to apply new techniques almost instantly after learning them, while it may take beginner students weeks, months, or even years? The difference is that experienced practitioners have an instinctive feel that guides their movements and positioning when trying new techniques. Through many years and countless hours of training on the mat, many high level grapplers have developed an innate kinesthetic awareness of correct biomechanics and force application.
BJJ is an art in which one learns, only through experience, what works and what does not. Unfortunately, those that acquire this ability, through mat time or natural talent, are often unable to explain, in a definitive concrete manner, this innate feel they have developed.
THERE IS A FASTER WAY!
I’ve been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 1991. Since the beginning, I’ve always heard instructors talk about “good technique”.
Besides a general feeling of how much strength one was using when applying the techniques, there were no universal, cohesive,
and specific principles that guided my understanding of techniques.
IF YOU LEARN THE PRINCIPLES
BEHIND ALL TECHNIQUES, YOU WILL PROGRESS MUCH FASTER.
When I began learning BJJ, most instructors taught techniques in a random manner. However, I was one of the few instructors who taught techniques in combinations and sequences. Many years later, I was the first to talk about teaching in a matrix of systems. When instructors became aware of systems, their students began progressing at a pace that was once not thought possible. Always a step ahead of the curve, I foresaw the next leap in the teaching of BJJ lay in understanding the scientific principles behind all techniques.
SINGLE TECHNIQUE < SYSTEMS < PRINCIPLES
I was already a BJJ black belt when I began my education in a system of posture exercise therapy to help heal my body from all my injuries. Through this system, I began to learn certain principles of physics, biomechanics, and postural alignment which had AMAZING unintentional benefits to my grappling and teaching. I learned the “why’s” behind what made the body weaker or stronger. I learned why injuries occurred and how to minimize and counteract the damage.
I BEGAN TO SEE GRAPPLING THROUGH COMPLETELY DIFFERENT EYES
For example, I began to see that every technique in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was about forcibly misaligning the posture of an opponent. The more severe the misalignment, the weaker they became and, inversely, the stronger I became.
JIU-JITSU IS INTUITIVE ONCE SOMEONE TEACHES IT TO YOU!!!
Every black belt, who I taught these scientific principles to, felt as if they had the most incredible revelation revealed to them and couldn’t believe they didn’t realize or see something so simple until it was explained it to them. They also instantly saw how the principles applied to everything they knew. Every single one began to apply it into their training and teaching. They all saw incredible progress in not only their own game, but MORE IMPORTANTLY the game of their students! We saw phenomenal progress and realized that…..
STUDENTS COULD BE TAUGHT THE PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICS, BIOMECHANICS, AND POSTURAL ALIGNMENT IN SIMPLE AND EASY MANNER THAT WOULD ALLOW THEM TO SEE TECHNIQUES IN
THE SAME WAY AS THE BLACK BELTS!
I then noticed another extreme benefit to this intense focus and
new understanding of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I saw…
This was due to the fact that I began to understand when and why students got hurt. It had everything to do with biomechanics and postural alignment. When I armed my students with this knowledge, they began to understand when exerting force improperly could potentially cause them to injure themselves.
This complete, yet simple, understanding of physics, biomechanics, and postural alignment led me to refine my system of BJJ into a curriculum that allowed students of all age groups and physical attributes to successfully progress safely and at an accelerated rate!
Students learned faster because they were given a greater ability to problem solve and innovate on their own.
Students were injured less because they were consciously aware of when their bodies were more vulnerable and susceptible.
Students were able to progress regardless of physical talent, attributes, or age.
My name is Michael Jen and I'm a 4th Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a Black Belt in Judo. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and am one of the most knowledgeable and experienced practitioners of the Muscle Balance and Function Development® (MBF®) posture therapy exercise system in the world.
My life's work has been dedicated to the study and teaching of the physics, biomechanics, and techniques of the grappling arts. I've had two jobs in my life, BJJ instructor and MBF® practitioner. I'm very passionate about my work. Through decades of study and by surrounding myself with great instructors and teaching countless students all over the world, I've been able to become an authority in both these fields. My unique experience and education has allowed me to study, understand, and teach the biomechanics of grappling in way that has never been seen. This is my story…
I began training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) back in the summer of 1991. This was right before my freshman year at UCSD. No BJJ schools existed in the area at that time. BJJ was introduced to me within a self-defense class at the university that mixed the techniques of several different martial arts.
Today, BJJ students have access to almost an unlimited amount of information and techniques due to Google and YouTube. This is on top of all the DVD’s, books, and online trainings on the market. Back in the early 1990’s, the internet was in its infancy. None of what we take for granted now existed back then.
The first and only video of BJJ was “Gracie Jiu-jitsu in Action 1” on VHS tape. For those who have not seen this classic video, it is a compilation of no holds barred challenge matches between members of the Gracie family and other martial arts. A while later, “Gracie Jiu-jitsu in Action 2” was released. I was so thirsty for information that I watched the fights in those videos countless times, examining and analyzing every detail, like it was an instructional..
The first instructional videos to come out on the market was by Rorion and Royce Gracie. The techniques were extremely basic by today’s standards, but amazing to an audience who had very little idea what BJJ was about. The instructional videos by Rorion and Royce dominated the market for a while, simply because they were the only ones. As students, we were dying for more. A big change occurred with the release of the instructional series by Renzo Gracie and Craig Kukuk (1st American BJJ black belt). Renzo and Craig taught more information and opened our eyes to the greater possibilities that BJJ had to offer.
As the years passed, with BJJ receiving more exposure due to the UFC and other fight organizations, more and more BJJ black belts began to come to the United States. Though the number of black belts in the US grew, the willingness to share more techniques and the deeper “secrets”, to an audience greater than their owns students, was still fairly slow. I believe that many instructors wanted to share techniques, but the amount they shared was understandably limited by not wanting to divulge their secrets to their opponents during a time where it was still “BJJ vs other styles” and while BJJ instructors and their schools were trying to gain notoriety as the best fighters even between themselves.
Inevitably, the willingness to divulge more secrets in the instructional video market was forced forward not only by business competition, but American BJJ instructors who began to influence the market by not only teaching a large amount of information, but also adding greater organization and structure.
One of my main goals when I entered into BJJ instructional market was to offer a better product than what was already out there by pushing the envelope as far as technique and organization. Those who have followed my work saw this with my instructional videos starting in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Thousands of copies of Jen BJJ DVD's have been sold throughout the years. I put tremendous amount of thought and work into producing those videos. They were very well-received because of the organization and details of the material presented. Even though they were released over 15 years ago, they are still being purchased today. I still get emails and Facebook messages from BJJ Black Belts thanking me for my efforts, saying that was one of the first instructional sets they own. I find that there is nothing like the reward of being simultaneously disruptive and bringing value to the BJJ community.
Now when I look at the instructional market, things have changed so much. We had gone from famine to feast. Students currently have access to more techniques than anyone’s mind can possibly retain. I've been asked for years to release new materials, but I had held off because I wanted to be positive that I would surpass the level of quality that I produced with my first products.
I wanted my efforts to go into something not only truly unique, but something that could change the way practitioners see jiu-jitsu. This has led me to combine my passions into my new book, “The Science of Submission: A Principle-Based Approach to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu”. This unique book breaks down BJJ techniques through principles of physics, biomechanics, and postural alignment. You will learn to look at BJJ from a perspective never seen before in any instructional. The content of this e-book is intellectual and scientific, yet simple enough for everyone to understand.
The Science of Submission
A Principle-Based Approach
To Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
by Michael Jen and Geoffrey M. Gluckman MSc.
Look inside :
Rare it is to find a work that explains a complex, sophisticated art in scientific terms and foundational principles. Such works have the powerful ability to illuminate our understanding of the current practice and to offer a pathway for the art’s advancement. Michael Jen has achieved exactly that for the art of Brazilian JiuJitsu with this book. As a MIT trained mechanical engineer and a blue belt in BJJ, I am attracted to the highly technical nature of BJJ in general, and to Michael Jen’s structured approach in particular. This book bridges the underlying physics and kinematics that explain the nature of human movement with the grappling techniques of Brazilian JiuJitsu. It begins with an examination of these core ideas and proceeds to the analysis of some common BJJ techniques in terms of these principles. For serious students of the art, this book offers a platform to analyze and then perfect techniques, and with that process, become better martial artists.
BS, MS in Mechanical Engineering, MIT
The Science of Submission is a must read for any BJJ practitioner. The techniques demonstrated are basic enough for a beginner to understand, but the real strength of the material is Michael’s breakdown and explanation of the bio-mechanical concepts behind those techniques. Concepts that are universally applicable to a wide range of techniques well beyond those found in the book, and concepts that even experienced grapplers, teachers, and coaches, sometimes have trouble articulating to their students. Many books cover the “how” of BJJ technique, this book covers the “why”. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a thinking man’s game, and The Science of Submission is a thinking man’s manual to that game.
Carlos Machado BJJ black belt
So I got a sneak look at the book and so let me give my own thoughts on the book. For background purposes I will state I am a black belt in judo and a black belt in bjj. Note I don't train w Michael either so I can be unbias.
One of the major things this book does better than others is really break down the actual science of why moves works. The secret is in biomechanics and weight distribution (or manipulation). People love to rant and rave on Rickson's philosophy of bjj or on how Ryan Hall explains the physics behind why moves works and certain strategies (and I am using these two as a example as in general people normally rave about how they scientifically break things apart). The problem is most books are more a formulaic "how to" approach to bjj, with step by step instruction that is laid out without explanation of WHY you position your body in a certain way. This is probably the beauty of this book as it gives you insight as to why the biomechanics works. So its using actual engineering principles and appropriate language to pass these things on. Don't worry, you don't need to an extensive background in physics to understand it. Just have a open mind and absorb to help take your understanding to a higher level. This is they type of book that will remind you of training w that black belt teacher who was a expert at conveying weight distribution and feel to you to get that "ah ha" light bulb moment instead of a book that is more akin to a instructor that shows you how to do a move by the numbers with little to no insight.
So if you want to help gain a better understanding of how to manipulate the body and a better insight on how to pass on that knowledge to others, this is the book for you. I have been training since 2003 and have owned a LOT of bjj books (given the majority away too) but this is one that is a master class textbook of the science behind why this stuff works.
Judo black belt and Alliance BJJ black belt
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