Technique, Thoughts

YouTube: Not just a place for cat videos

I started jiu-jitsu in 2004 when the internet was still young.  And I’m not just being facetious when I say that.

  • Instagram, founded 2010.
  • Twitter, founded 2006.
  • YouTube, founded 2005.
  • Facebook, founded 2004.

That third bullet point is the one worth squinting at.  Let me reiterate: when I started jiu-jitsu YouTube did not exist.

So where did we go for mindless entertainment?  How did we learn elaborate moves that are as stylish as they are impractical?

The answer to the former was flash videos and games…the internet wasn’t that young, but the answer to the second question was books.

And this isn’t one of those moments where I assure you how much greater, and more intellectual, and more meaningful our understanding was from reading books.  The reality is most jiu-jitsu books aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.  Trying to understand a complicated series of movements from a 1 square inch photo with a brief description was as much trial and error as it was about drilling the motion.  The best books might include a couple of paragraphs describing the moves and as many as a dozen pictures about a move.  A 1 minute long video contains 1440 pictures, possibly accompanied by sound, onscreen text, images, arrows and more.  Its hard to overstate how much easier it is to learn from a halfway decent video than it is to learn from the very best jiu-jitsu books.

Before I sound like I’m saying all jiu-jitsu books are useless: I have found Jiu-Jitsu University by Saulo Ribeiro to be a beautifully crafted tome of jiu-jitsu goodness.  Neil Melanson’s Mastering Triangle Chokes has reoriented my perspective of triangles, and the closed guard more generally.  But other than that, I find jiu-jitsu books to be better bookshelf fillers than game developers.

So this brings me to my point: I have compiled a list of YouTube videos for my own private consumption…and I am now going to offer them to you, dear reader, for only 9 easy payments of 9.95 out of the goodness of my heart and because I recognize that my jiu-jitsu improves if the jiu-jitsu of those around me improves.

So, without further ado, I present you with the “Master In-Pile.”  The Master In-Pile currently includes 160 videos from a multitude of YouTube sources.  Some of the videos have been formative for me, while others of them I have not had much luck with (but would like to use more).  The average duration of the videos is 5 minutes 11 seconds, and the total playtime is just shy of 14 hours.  As time goes on I’ll release sections of my curated lists (mount, guard, etc) along with some examples of my favorite videos from each series.


None of these videos are my own work, and they vary from easy to implement to borderline arcane.  Attempt any and all jiu-jitsu at your own peril.

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