The Benefits of Curriculum in BJJ

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The Benefits of Curriculum

Professor Tyson LaRone

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is rooted in Matsuo Maeda’s teachings of Judo, which is why in its early development it ended up borrowing many traditions from the Kodokan, including the implementation of structured curriculum at most of its schools. However, as the style became more widespread in Brazil and especially when it was brought overseas, many schools began to reform the techniques that were taught and some decided to do away with curriculum altogether. Plenty of schools are very successful and produce high quality students with or without it, but I personally believe that curriculum can be useful for several reasons:

  1. Guidance – Having a clear expectation of the techniques and knowledge at each belt level provides direction for students, especially those who want to go above and beyond classes and do extra training on their own. If the instructor isn’t around, the curriculum can provide suggestions for what would be most productive to work on.
  2. Well-Roundedness – Rolling is an important part of training, but sometimes a student can develop a particular game that funnels opponents through a certain range of positions and whether they win or lose they rarely end up in certain situations. As a result they can develop holes that aren’t immediately apparent, sometimes even until higher belt levels. If a student is graded based on well-rounded curriculum, it ensures that they’ll have at least a basic answer for attacks and defenses in all major positions.
  3. Consistency – With the basics of jiu-jitsu being taught similarly, it makes it much easier for instructors and students to cross-train at other schools within their affiliation. It also means that using the same frame of reference, instructors can be creative and work together on complex solutions and competition strategies while keeping their foundation solid.

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